Psalm 1:1-2 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. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Continuing from last time, pay close attention to the progression of verse one. The second clause, or ingredient in this recipe for happiness, is not to stand in the way of sinners.
When you stop to parse the words of this phrase, it gets fairly interesting. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words that word 'way', in the original Hebrew, carries the idea of a figurative path; in other words, a lifestyle. Vine's also lists the word 'standeth' as 'amad', which means: 'to stand in or to abide'.
So what does this phrase, 'standeth in the way of sinners' mean? It means that it's not enough for the blessed man to avoid the advice of the world, but he must also beware of living like the world says that he should. He should realize that the world's lifestyle is often at odds with God's plan and will hinder his spiritual life.
A wise man once said that: “You'll never change what you can tolerate.” This is very true and an important lesson for Christians to keep in mind. The world constantly tells us that certain sins or vices aren't really that big of a deal and aren't worth our attention. Television constantly glamorizes the wickedness of our culture. When we accept these premises and allow the world to determine our morality, we undercut our own spiritual growth and lose our ability to become more like Christ. Our efforts to better ourselves will be stunted.
“But you'll be missing out on all the fun!” The world cries. The world cannot understand the quiet life of a dedicated, godly Christian. They tell us that we'll never be happy without the carousing, alcohol and debauchery. This makes perfect sense. After all, the only thing that the world has to console itself with is the extremely temporary pleasures of this life. However, these pleasures swiftly turn to sorrow, heartache and destruction.
Christians must remember that as limited finite beings, we can only see the outside indicators of a person's life. A person of the world might seem like they're happy and carefree for a few moments, but we rarely see the hangover the next morning. We don't see the spiritual and emotional turmoil that follows a tryst or affair. Nor can we fully understand the empty guilt of substance abuse.
Sins establish a bitter cycle where they allow a person to escape their empty life for a few short moments, but then leave them feeling more miserable and guilty afterward. They must then go farther and longer into sin in order to escape from this newfound guilt. This puts more frustration into their life, which causes the cycle to begin anew.
Why don't you take a few moments today and spend some time searching your heart in prayer. Have you become desensitized to the world's wickedness? Have you started allowing the lifestyle of the world to influence your life? If so, confess that influence to God and take steps to remove that which runs contrary to God's word. Soon the obstacles will be removed so that blessings can flow, and you'll be glad that you did.