Written by: Jody Mugford
“Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor stands in the path of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
planted by the rivers of water,
that brings forth its fruit in its season,
whose leaf also shall not wither;
and whatever he does shall prosper.”
Last time we looked at verses 2-3 of the beautiful passage. We discovered how, when we spend time in God’s Word, it gives us renewal and refreshing. We grow strong like a tree near water and we are able to withstand the storms of life, even bringing forth fruit and prospering during the hard times.
I don’t feel we can move on without spending some time focusing on the first verse of this scripture. It’s important to note that, even though its emphasis is correction and guidance, it is also part of the promise of being nourished and steadfast. We are to avoid ungodly counsel, refrain from sinful activities and not to join in with the scornful. Essentially, this is saying that not only are we to spend time meditating on God’s Word but we are also to put it into practice. This process is called sanctification and it means that, over time, the Holy Spirit helps us to become more like Christ and His character. Let’s look at these three pieces of guidance from the Holy Spirit.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…”
Ungodly counsel can be from anyone, even a fellow Christian. Advice can sound appropriate, seem logical, and come with good intentions but that doesn’t mean it lines up with God’s Word. If it goes against God’s will for you, either through His Word or specific leading of the Holy Spirit, don’t follow it, even if that appears odd to others. Look for His guidance and obey it over everything else. He will honour and bless you for it.
“nor stands in the path of sinners…”
Let’s be honest, sin can often look like harmless fun. We wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t some pleasure gained! But sin is a slippery slope. It often costs us more than we ever expected to pay…potentially leading to broken relationships, financial crisis, sickness and more. Even if it is an isolated event that doesn’t appear to have serious consequences, it is still displeasing to God. It may not harm us in the physical sense but it will harm us spiritually by pulling us farther from our loving Father. God’s grace is so astounding that, if we truly think about it, should take our breath away. But it is not a license to sin freely and we are to not take lightly the great debt Jesus paid on the cross for our salvation. Stay away from sin and things that are against God’s Word. Listen to the Holy Spirit’s convictions and direction. God will honour and bless you for it.
“nor sits in the seat of the scornful…”
The scornful will often mock and scoff, condemn others and make themselves out to be superior. This is such an easy state to fall into, even as Christians! We often feel it is appropriate conversation to criticize our leaders or the decisions of fellow brothers or sisters in Christ. I’m heartbroken to admit that I’ve spoken those words myself. Oh Lord, forgive us! Let these comments never cross our lips again! We are to guard our tongue and not join in with those that criticize or tear others down, even casually or light-heartedly. We must speak encouragement and love into others. We are to deal with conflict under guidance of the Holy Spirit and scripture. We need to radiate the character of Jesus to all we come in contact with. Guard your tongue and use it to speak life. God will honour and bless you for it.
“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Proverbs 18:21
To summarize, this verse reminds me that Jesus is our standard, nobody else. We are to compare our attitude, our goals, our daily life to what He would do and say. Would He follow that piece of advice? Does it line up with the will of The Father? Would He make that “harmless” sinful choice? Would He say those words about another individual?
Please hear my heart, friends. You may be feeling a tugging in your heart to reevaluate your perspectives. Even as I write this, so am I. It is the Holy Spirit speaking to us and we should listen. We must remember that He does not condemn us when we fall short but He does convict and guide to bring us back to the path God has for us. I have found in my life that when I’ve been courageous enough to deal with sin the Holy Spirit has brought to my mind, it has left me feeling so free! The process can be difficult but the rewards are incredible. When we are living our lives in obedience to His Word, we wake each day as clean vessels. We hear God more easily, we see His Hand more clearly, and we worship without restraint! There is an overflowing peace as the Holy Spirit is able to work unhindered in our hearts and lives. God gives us direction in scripture to bring us closer to Him. He knows that as we lay down selfish tendencies, He can come in and fill us with more of His amazing presence.
God’s plans are so good and He has great things purposed for us. He values our obedience and wants us to obey out of love. A true love for God will cultivate a desire to read His Word, pray and follow Him. This leads to a life of blessing and close relationship with God Almighty, the Creator of all, and the Lover of our souls. What an awesome gift!
“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.” 2 John 1:6
“But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:25
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:9
Love and blessings,