Saturday, June 25, 2016

"the Lord knows the way of the righteous"

All Christians struggle with sin.  When we have faith in Jesus as our Savior and Lord we are saved from the eternal consequences of our sin but we still live in this world, and so we live with the effects that our sin brings to our day-to-day lives.  We are saved by Jesus but we live in the world, and so we live surrounded by the desires of this world, the desires lurking in our hearts.  Desires that are ungodly and to which we often give in to, all too easily. 

This came to mind when I had a visitor stop by the parsonage.  As we talked he wanted me to read Psalm 1.  In my Bible this psalm is titled "The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked."  Psalm 1 paints a beautiful picture of the blessings of following God, and contrasts those blessings with the consequences of going in the opposite direction from God.  Verses 1-3 say:

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers."

My visitor struggles with a very visible behavior, to the detriment of his own life and many people around him.  In contrast to the righteous, the psalm says this about the wicked in v.4-5:

"The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;"

So is being cast out from God's presence in eternity, and all that that means, what my visitor has to look forward to when he casts His eyes toward God?  Verse 6, the end of the psalm, points to the answer to that question, saying:

"for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish."

I have known my visitor for most of the time I have lived in Dulce.  I know his particular struggle, and I also know his love for Jesus.  Great comfort and encouragement is found in the words "the Lord knows the way of the righteous."  My visitor isn't righteous because he always walks in the ways that God calls him to.  He is righteous because God has called him to Himself and given him a love for Jesus, who is his faithful Savior and Lord, no matter how my visitor may be behaving towards Him at any particular moment. 

All Christians struggle with sin at different times and in different ways.  We stumble into it.  We wrestle with it and give up.  We run directly towards it.  However it may be happening, we need not lose heart.  By faith we belong to God.  He knows our way, and He never lets go of His own, even when we are going in the opposite direction.   

When it seems to you as if the struggle is being lost take comfort and know hope in the fact that in the cross of Jesus victory has already been won.  Your struggle is real, you struggle with a defeated enemy who is desperately trying to drag you down with him.  By faith your place, now and forever, is with Jesus.

 Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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