How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! (Psalm 1:1)
It isn’t a coincidence that this is the opening to the entire book of Psalms. These words mark the very beginning to the agony, the treachery, the glimpses of God on His throne, the suffering, and the triumph of the Psalms. Before it gets into any of that it tells us a key to being blessed.
What is real blessing?
That word blessed isn’t just a christian catchphrase or a humble sounding explanation of how the rich got rich. The word actually means happy. All throughout the Old Testament that word means happy. Out of all the definitions we give of the word blessed, the Bible means happy. The Psalmist is saying right there in the beginning of one of the most personal and transparent books of the Bible that joy is a priority in the Kingdom.
You may have a wicked relationship.
It also shows a relationship between our proximity to evil and our own wickedness. It usually starts with a taste of evil and keeps us going down a path that gets darker and darker. That is the nature of sin.
You start by walking in the advice of the wicked, adopting worldly ways of thinking that is always opposite of the way that the kingdom of God thinks. If you take stock of worldly wisdom versus God’s, one always elevates man and the other God. One says you have control over the world, and the other says God is sovereign.
Once you get used to living by that advice, then you find yourself loitering around those that make it a point to break God’s commandments. Now it has you waiting in the same path of those that fight against God and waiting to see what they will break next. You may even feel yourself reveling in your subtle rebellion against God.
Once that is accomplished you might as well sit down and join them. You not only break God’s commands but you scoff at them! Your heart got darker and you have no idea how you got there, but these verses remind you how it happened.
Too Close for Comfort.
The thing is you don’t always have to be hanging around these people to walk, stand, and sit with them. You just have to adopt their way of thinking and the rest of your life will reflect that mentality. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
There are three ways of describing a wicked will in Psalm 1:1, and three ways of describing God’s will in Romans 12:2. They both have the same origin though. They both begin in the mind. You may not be on a dirt road with sinners, but if you allow yourself to think like them, then you will feel like them.
If you carry those thoughts around with you, you are just carrying their ways around with you into every situation you go into. If though, you separate your thinking from the way they do, then you will find happiness. If you don’t fit the pattern of the world, but instead replace joy-sucking thoughts with God’s joy-filled ones then you are blessed.
You Have to Pay the Price of Joy.
It is not always easy though. Joy requires faith. You have to have faith that God is working “all things together for good for those that love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28),”even when every situation in your life seems to be getting worse.
You may think your future looks bleak, but if you have the faith to quit trying to predict the future and appreciate the day you are in, you rejoice, because you know that God has created this day and filled it with purpose. God doesn’t ask you to rejoice over death, suffering, and sin, but acknowledge that He has created this day (Psalm 118:24), and He is the purpose of your day.
If you can refuse to believe the defeatist, the pessimist, or the lies of those that are merely “self-confident,” then you can trust in a God who has all the joy that you can handle. You can find yourself in any situation standing out, like a light, with your joy shining out unto others and giving those in your proximity clarity, direction, and a reason to hope in the God of joy.
A Wicked Relationship. Article by Chase O'Dell - Founder of Bridgeway Ministries