Nathan Leal's Devotional #002
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
The Bible tells us that we are not to love this world. Romans Chapter 12 tells us not to be conformed to it.
As Christians, this is our challenge. But here is the question: How do we live in this world while remaining unattached to it? After all, all of our belongings are here, right?
When we are told not to conform to this world, what are the limitations? Where do we draw the line? How far are we permitted to go?
Some people may ask, "What's the big deal anyway?”
Others may say in confidence, "The world's ways do not affect me. Besides, I'm strong enough to resist the temptation that is out there. So it does not hurt me to go into the world's trenches every now and then."
The trenches of the world: what are they? Where are they? Is it okay to have a sip of the worlds offerings every now and then?
In our last devotional, we visited the first part of Psalms 1:1 which mentioned, "The counsel of the ungodly.”
Today, we are going to talk about the next portion of the verse, "…nor stands in the path of sinners."
At first glance, these words may seem trivial. To some Christians, these words are examined no further than surface poetry. Some readers might say, "Standing in the path of the sinner, I do not do that!"
Others might even confess, "Stand in the path? What does that even mean?"
There is a spiritual promise awaiting the individual who obeys these words. To receive them, a child of God should not stand in the path that belongs to sinners.
So what does this path look like? How is this path defined?
One of the themes of Scripture is that during our time on earth, every one of us is on a journey. It is the journey that we call life. This journey is measured by time and someday, it will have an end.
My friends, someday the journey of life will end as we arrive at the final destination. This destination is called death! Pending the arrival of Jesus, it is assured for all of us!
Aging and death: as westerners, many people have a hard time facing these intangibles. Many individuals would rather not think about it.
But in spite of denial, aging is a fact of life. Every one of us is going to get old and no amount of steroid cream or pills is going to stop it!
This is the predicament for all of us. We are pilgrims. While we are traveling on this road called, “life,” we also have a choice of several routes that we can take. These routes are likened to roads or pathways.
Today's verse speaks about this. It mentions a path. By its wording, we are told that one path has sinners on it.
We are admonished not to stand in this path. My friends, this is the Word of God. Therefore, this verse is for our instruction. There is a blessing for us if we stay away from the path of sinners.
While on earth, Jesus talked about several paths, but He used a different term for them.
In Matthew 7:13, 14 Jesus mentioned two routes to choose in this journey of life:
When making reference to these routes or paths, Jesus called them, the way. The Greek word for, the way is also the same word for: route or road.
So according to Jesus, there is one of two roads in which to choose. One of the roads is very narrow. The other road is wide and is populated by many people.
Our verse in Psalms 1:1 mentions, “the path of sinners.” This is the same path that Jesus was talking about.
Jesus spoke about this path as a warning. He said that it was a crowded path. This means that even though it may be popular, it is not the, "Yellow Brick Road."
My friends, it is the road to perdition! Perdition means destruction or damnation.
Standing in the Wrong Path
This is the reason that Psalms 1:1 tells us that a man will be blessed if he does not stand in this path.
The original Hebrew word for, stand has several meanings. It means to stand or anchor one's feet to the ground and spend much time there.
This verse serves as a warning! There are dangers from spending too much time in this path.
Too much time on this path will eventually make a person grow weaker in their faith. My friends, how many people have backslid because they stayed a little too long on or in the wrong path?
As disciples of Jesus, we need to be very careful and vigilant so that the residue of the world does not dim our lamps. Hanging out on the wrong path can be dangerous for a number of reasons. In the original text, the Hebrew word for stand means several things:
As you can see from the list above, the verse goes deeper than just being located in the path of sinners.
We can do nothing about our earthly location. So this verse is not talking about the neighborhood that we live in. Nor is it talking about ministering to the unredeemed of this world. The unsaved reside on the wide path of destruction. Sharing the gospel with them does require that we go into the enemy's camp from time to time.
When Psalms 1:1 refers to standing in the path of sinners, there is a deeper meaning. According to our list above, the word stand speaks about a resolution in attitude, or in other words, the inner intentions of the heart, meaning what began as a sip of the world will become something that is defended and justified!
Today's verse talks about standing in the path of sinners. In other words, to stand in the path means we are also standing with sinners. Is doing this benign? Is it safe to the one who wants to maintain his vigilance and work out his salvation with "fear" and "trembling?"
If doing this is "no big deal," God would not have warned us about it.
Here is short list of dangers that can result from this practice. (Please note that this is talking about what can happen if it occurs over a long period of time.):
1. Standing in the path of sinners will lower one’s biblical standards of virtue.
3. Standing in the path of sinners will develop into associations with those who do not
4. Standing in the path of sinners can cause spiritual stagnation. A little leaven, leavens
5. Standing in the path of sinners may function to anchor a person into a relationship that
6. Standing in the path of sinners creates an attachment that becomes hard to break!
7. Standing in the path of sinners may start out with good intentions, but eventually will
8. Standing in the path of sinners will weaken one’s faith and confidence to the point
9. Standing in the path of sinners may at first appear pleasant because the people may
10. Standing in the path of sinners will result in our "confrontation radar" growing weaker.
11. Standing in the path of sinners can result in the emulation of the bad habits and
12. Standing in the path of sinners may be something that is justified by saying that it is
Again folks, Jesus called, “The wrong path, the way of destruction.”
There is a reason that He warned us about this. It will be difficult to grow fruit if we are too emersed in the world. The Spring of Living Water is not located in the dark alley of Babylon. Nor is it available in the counsel of Egypt.
In the dark season that is approaching, we cannot afford to have weak faith. The way to strengthen our faith is through the Word. The Bible is our Truth. It is our yardstick. It contains the remedies for life. We must partake of the Bible along with a relationship with Jesus Christ our Savior.
We need to be nourishing our spirit with the things of God. If some that are reading these words are out of fellowship with Jesus.
Good news! He is only a prayer session of repentance away.So please take these matters to heart and to prayer.
My friends, please be aware that our natural mind has a tendency to want to be defiant against the things of God. Our inner pride is one of our greatest enemies. It will seek to rationalize and justify our disobedience. This is why we need the Holy Scriptures to illuminate the Truth.
Jesus said that the path that leads to life is less populated. Interesting, huh folks? The path which offers a blessing to the participants is also the path that is less traveled. Why is this? It is because this path is more difficult. It takes more dedication and bravery than the other path.
It takes faith to believe even though we cannot see.
It takes answering the call and a willingness to be loyal to the commitment!
The good path must be held dear and held precious. It is our journey my friends!
...And it is our vocation!
So instead of standing in the sinner’s path, let us stand on the narrow path that leads to peace, hope, and life!
May the Lord bless you on your journey.
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