Thursday, December 01, 2011

Path of the Righteous

The Lord has been so good and gracious. I was just meditating just a few of the many blessings that He has poured out on me this evening and once again reminding myself that it everything good comes from the Lord. One of His blessings is the gift of wisdom. In James 1, we read that we are to ask God for wisdom when we lack it... this honors Him, showing our dependence on Him in not leaning on our own understanding. It also is the only true wisdom! Our own wisdom is subject to be influenced by our emotions or the feelings of the moment, but the wisdom from God is unchanging. I was thinking about these things in light of Proverbs 4:10-18.
Hear, my son, and accept my sayings And the years of your life will be many. I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths. When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; And if you run, you will not stumble. Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life. Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on. For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; And they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble. For they eat the bread of wickedness And drink the wine of violence. But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
The reality is that most of us don't like being told to do... but that is because we are surrounded by sinners just like us who are tempted to use authority in a self-seeking manner (just like we are). Do you remember those days when your dad was changing the oil and a smile beamed from you face when he asked you to get that wrench for him? Do you remember when your mom asked you to thread a needle for her and the joy that brought you? Do you remember the first time you got to mow the lawn? Do you remember the first time you got to help your mom cook a meal? Do these memories not bring joy and delight to your soul? Do you know why that is? It is because you know of their love for you and because of that, serving them is a joyful thing. In the same way, our serving of the Lord is meant to be completely joyful.

The God we serve is the perfect Father and cares for us more than the most tender and loving of mothers. It is this God who directs us in the way of wisdom. He tells us to hold onto His instruction and not let go of it because it is our life. Did you get that? Your life depends on the instruction of the Lord. He instructs us in the way of righteousness and tells us specifically how to guard our hearts from evil. We are to not make any kind of provision for the flesh and its lusts... don't even enter the beginning of the path of the wicked. Remember how the priest approached the beaten man in the story of the Good Samaritan? That is the picture here... walking on the other side of the road... not even looking in the direction of sin. Make absolutely no provision for the flesh.

When we are walking in the ways of the Lord, we know it because we are continually more aware of the light of righteousness and the darkness of sin and our hearts are continually turned toward the Lord. It is like we are just discovering the first glimpse of light in the distance showing us a little bit about what it means to live righteously. As we walk in His light and have fellowship with Him, He graciously opens our eyes to see more of what it means to live righteously before Him and we become brighter lights for the Lord. The Holy Spirit is present within us constantly leading and guiding us in His ways... opening our eyes to understand His Word and how it applies to the situations He puts us in. Without the Lord, we are blind! In the words of Christ Himself... "For apart from Me, you can do nothing."

May we have child-like faith to see serving God with incredible joy... just like we did getting that wrench for dad while he was under the car. If we took joy in that small of a thing for our earthly father, how much more joy should we have as we have the privilege of serving the Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, the searcher of our hearts, the great I AM, our Wonderful Counselor, our Rock and Fortress. Would not the smallest thing done for the Lord please our Heavenly Father? O God, teach us to be content in pleasing You!

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