Living in relative freedom has brought about an attitude of carelessness in the Christian community that has allowed wickedness to easily integrate itself into the congregation of believers. Christians in general are not careful to avoid evil. It is taken as 'just a part of everyday life', and treated as though it were of no consequence. This is the first step on the path to becoming part of an ungodly society.
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5:11, 'have no fellowship with the works of darkness, but rather reprove them'.
I Kings 11:2 warns us, 'Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods;'.
The teaching of the Lord our God is very clear that we are to not mingle with non-believers. You can classify anyone who does not follow the teachings of the Bible as 'non-believers'. My dear friend, Evangelist Evan New, (who is now with the Lord) likened determining right from wrong like picking a clean shirt from among the dirty shirts. He said, 'Smell the shirts. Some are obviously dirty; some are obviously clean. But, some are a little more difficult to decide. They don't smell clean, but they really don't' smell dirty. If it is doubtful that the shirt is clean, it is dirty. End of story.' (As long as I knew Evan, Judy provided him with very clean shirts, so I suppose he came up with that analogy when he was in college.)
The truth is that in today's world of 'everything is gray', and 'nothing is black and white', it is becoming increasingly difficult to clearly see what is right and what is wrong. Yet, rightly dividing the word of truth, and living your life accordingly, has never been more important than it is today. Your future depends on it, as well as the future of your family, your church, and your country.
Psalm 1 gives us a contrast between the way of the blessed man and the ungodly. It says;
(1) Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
(2) But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
(3) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
(4) The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
(5) Therefore the ungldly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
(6) For the LORD knoweth of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Today is a good day to choose if you are willing to walk the path of the believer who is blessed to the Lord, of if you will walk the path of the ungodly.
The first step onto the path of the godly is through salvation by grace. You must believe on Jesus Christ to be saved. (Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved. Acts 16:31)
The next step is to decide if you will live a life that ends like Lot's or like the blessed man in Psalm chapter 1.
Verse one tells us that the blessed man separates himself from evil. He is like the man in Psalm 119:115 who says, 'Depart from me, ye evil doers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.'
The entire congregation of believers should separate themselves from evil according to the example of Nehemiah 9:2 which says, 'And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.' But, for an entire Christian congregation to separate themselves, the individual believer must first be willing to separate his or her self from evil.
The man who is blessed delights in the law of the Lord. Jeremiah 15:6 says, 'Thy words were found, and I did eat them: and thy word was unto me the joy and the rejoicing of mine heart:'.
Every true believer wants to blessed of the Lord. The problem preventing blessings comes by at least two avenues.
First, the believer may have some serious problems in his own life. He may not want to be 'blessed of the Lord' enough to surrender sins in his own life. He may find it easier (at least for the moment) to fight his own battles than to surrender to the Lord.
The second avenue is more subtle. It is given to us in detail in verse one. The blessed man:
DOES NOT - walk in the counsel of the ungodly, The blessed man doesn't even walk near the counsel of the ungodly.
DOES NOT - walk in the way of sinners, The blessed man doesn't stand still long enough to listen to what the ungodly have to say. He doesn't go down the road them 'just a little way' in order to be sociable. He cannot be beguiled with their fancy words if he refuses to listen to them in the first place. (Think Eve here.)
DOES NOT - sit in the seat of the scornful. The blessed man does not join in with the ungodly for any reason.
ON the other hand, the ungodly:
DOES -listen to the counsel of the ungodly. He is willing to listen to whatever is 'new' or 'exciting'. Honestly, there is nothing new in the realm of religion, or anywhere else for that matter. Everyone faces the same lie today that Eve faced in the garden. You will either listen to the liars who say things like, 'you can be a god,' or this path other than the Jesus Christ leads to heaven', or you will just keep on walking like the blessed man.
DOES - quit walking and stop to listen to what the ungodly have to say. This man walks with the world a ways down the road. He sees the success of the worldly. He notices that he might apply their methods of success to his own life, to his church, to his business, to his family.
DOES - sit down and join the ungodly. Pretty soon, the ungodly have joined in with the world. If they were Christians to begin with, you can not tell them from those who belong to the god of this world. An example is of course Lot. He looked at the prosperity of Sodom. He walked down and considered their way of life and 'principles' of prosperity. He joined them. He became just like them.
This is how weak and ineffective preachers of the gospel come about.
They pay attention to what the world says about how to build a successful business and manage that business profitably.
They apply worldly tactics to the church.
They join in with the world, putting money and numbers above the grace and humility of Christ. They measure success by the measuring stick of the world which tells them they are successful if they bring in enough money.
This could not happen unless the leaders and members of the church were ALSO walking with the ungodly, standing still to listen to their 'siren song', and some have even joined the ungodly.
The blessed man: (v2)
Enjoys studying and learning the word of God.
He considers God's law day and night in every thing he does.
Then, the blessed man is blessed even more.
His roots have grown deep into the world of God. He knows right behavior from wrong behavior. He is prosperous and fruitful.
On the other hand - The ungodly do not receive these blessing, but instead are failures;
They are like wheat chaff blown away in the wind. This is a terrible way to live. They have no foundation on which they are able to stand. Political, social, and religious ideologies and changes keep them anxious about everything. They do that which is right in their own eyes.
They do not stand in the judgment, or in the congregation of the righteous. They have not submitted to God, but instead of established their own righteousness.
The LORD knows their ways, and they shall perish. Their end is destruction. If the ungodly are such as Abraham's nephew Lot, they are saved, but without any good works.
The ungodly face judgment day with fear.
The saved who have lived an ungodly life are spoken of in I Corinthians chapter 3. Verse 13 says, 'Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire: and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. (v14) If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (v15) If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.'
Those whom God never knew are those spoken of in Matthew Chapter 25. Verse 46 says, 'And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into eternal life. Matthew 7:23, also speaking of the judgment, says, 'And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from, ye that work iniquity.'
What an unspeakably horrible way for a soul to end up. It becomes even worse when you know such an end could have been avoided.
If you think that your life is your business, think again. What you do does matter. How you live your life does count. Again, consider Lot. Just suppose that Lot had gone down to Sodom with a heart set on the Lord like Abraham's heart. Lot would not have conformed to the behavior in Sodom. He might have been able to change the mind set of some of the people of the city. Perhaps Lot's influence could have influenced at least ten people in Sodom to turn from their wickedness and turn to the Lord God Almighty. Lot would have been instrumental in saving the city.
So, is this a good time to consider how your life is going at the moment? You are saved or lost. If you are lost - then it is time to get saved. If you are saved, you are either living a life is clearly following the pattern of the blessed man spoken of in Psalm 1:1; or, you are not. If you aren't sure, here is a good way to decide.
Isaiah 58:1 says, 'Cry aloud, spare not, lift up they voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.'
The way you live your life is supposed to be so different from the life of the world that you stand out like a clear blast on a loud trumpet.
Unfortunately, many Christians are living such a half-hearted Christian life that the 'trumpet sound' of their lives tells the world nothing. I Corinthians 14:8 says, 'For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?"
That is what happened to Lot. He spent his life joined to the people and ways of Sodom. Many Christians today are doing the same thing on different scales. Some live just as worldly as Lot lived. Others are much less openly sold out to the world, but never the less, the sound of the trumpet 'heralding their Christianity' is so off key it only causes the people around them to hiss or ridicule Christianity. It does not prepare them to understand that must decide for Christ, or they have decided against Him.
If you put a bunch of Christians living the life of the ungodly together, and they all blew a trumpet with the skill equal to the way they live their Christian life, you would get the whole bunch of trumpets blowing loudly, but without a single pure note in the bunch. Can you imagine what an awful sound that would be?
Is it any wonder that Christians are not transforming the world when our own lives have not been first transformed? Christians should live their lives in a way that stands out like a loud and true trumpet. A figurative question for many Christians is, 'Is it time for you to learn to play the trumpet?'
The Judge of your heart is God. It is not me, or any other human being. But when I look in my own heart, or the lives of many so called Christians, I see two things wrong.
First, Christianity as a whole is lacking in humility and meekness. Moses was a mighty man of God. At some point Moses became humble enough to understand that he could not do anything through his own power. Then he became meek enough to understand that God could do all things through him. Moses still accomplished great things, but he knew by whose power his deeds were really accomplished. By the way, have you noticed that all the great men of the Bible made it clear that it was God who was doing great things through them?
Second, the saving message of the Gospel of Christ is not presented with humility and grace. Our hearts are supposed to be broken over the lost. We are supposed to love them as Christ loved them. The Gospel message should not be presented in a manner that says, 'Well, you can just get saved, or you can go to hell.'
The blessed man should never forget Romans 5:8 which says, 'But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while were yet sinners, Christ died for us.'
The song for this article is 'Just a Closer Walk With Thee'.
A closer walk with Jesus is what is necessary to transform the ungodly man into the blessed man. If you doubt it can be, remember the transformation of Saul, persecutor of Christians, to Paul, the greatest mortal to the Gentiles. The first step that Paul took was to be saved. Then Paul followed the teachings of Christ. His eternal destination was settled when he became a believer in Jesus Christ. His earthly destination was set as a 'blessed man' when he chose to become both a hearer and a doer of the word.
What kind of man or woman are you? Are you blessed or ungodly? Today is a good day to chart a new or clearer course as one who is determined be like the blessed man of the first chapter of the book of Psalms.
Thank you for reading my article. God bless you.
'Just a Closer Walk With Thee'
I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I'll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
When my feeble life is o'er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o'er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.