My heart is devastated by this broken and hurt-filled world. Things seem to be spinning more and more out of control. And watching people willfully choose the road that leads away from our Lord and Saviour…inconceivable.
I read Psalm 36 the other morning, and David described how such choices can occur. I had written in the margins of my Bible “Seven Downward Steps”.
*Note: the parenthetical numbers are mine.
“Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; (1) There is no fear of God before his eyes. (2) For it flatters him in his own eyes, concerning the discovery of his iniquity and the hatred of it. (3) The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; (4) He has ceased to be wise and to do good. (5) He plans wickedness upon his bed; (6) He sets himself on a path that is not good; (7) He does not despise evil.” ~ Psalm 36:1-4
(1) When you stop reverencing, honoring and respecting God; (2) you notice that you have done wrong and kind of enjoyed “being bad”; (3) your words become dishonorable and untruthful; (4) you are no longer making wise choices or wanting to do good; (5) you plan evil deliberately; (6) you choose the wrong path, knowing full well it is not good; (7) you no longer despise evil but instead embrace it as your truth.
Oh, dear ones, beware! It is a gradual process, this walking away from God.
But what an amazing God we love, Who loved us first! For, at the beginning of Psalm 37, David told us how to prevent this falling away.
*Again, the numbers are mine.
“Do not fret because of evildoers, (1) Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass, and fade like the green herb. (2) Trust in the LORD, and do good; (3) Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. (4) Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. (5) Commit your way to the LORD, (6) Trust also in Him, and He will do it. And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday.” ~ Psalm 37:1-6
How do we guard ourselves?(1) Don’t envy those doing evil and “getting away with it”- they will eventually fail. (2) Put your trust in God and choose to do good. (3) Be content where God has put you and “cultivate faithfulness”- live by faith, and be a faithful servant. (4) “Delight yourself in the LORD”- He is the source of everything good and joyful and true! (5) “Commit your way to the LORD”- He will lead you and take care of you, when you choose His plan for your life. (6) Trust God, “and He will do it”- every promise, everything He has ever said He would do, He will do, for those who love Him and have called Him their Saviour. We can believe Him. He is worthy of our trust!
When we choose God’s path, to walk in His wisdom and truth, He will work His righteousness in us and the fruit of the Holy Spirit will be produced through us. Good, discerning judgment will be ours, through faith in Jesus. The more we get to know the Source of all wisdom and truth, the closer to His heart we will draw, and the more like Him we will become.
Let’s choose today to keep walking the good, right, and narrow path with God. And let’s share His grace ~ unearned, undeserved mercy, love and forgiveness ~ with this hurting and broken world!