“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
God longs to lavish His blessings on us, He desires to give us good things but there are times when He has to withhold His blessing because of our bad attitudes and actions. God doesn’t bless bad behavior, when we are being brats and bruisers, when we are selfish and self-centered, when we are argumentative and arrogant, when we are prideful or pouting, God withholds His blessing from us. But when we live lives of love and operate in obedience God is pleased and pours out His blessing. Do you believe that God wants to bless? If you do then you need to not only study God’s blueprint for blessing but seek to live it out. God’s blueprint for blessed starts with a call to be:
- Separated from the world
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.” Scripture starts with the call for us to separate ourselves from the sinful society in which we live. Now this is not a call to be a hermit, this is a call to be holy. We are to be in the world but not of the world. Many make the mistake of believing that if they hole up and hide away from the world that they will be walking out the Word. Moving to a monastery, becoming a monk, and cutting yourself of from culture is not the cure. Seclusion doesn’t solve the problem of sin and it doesn’t necessarily draw us closer to the Savior. While we may avoid the wickedness of this world we can’t hide from our own heart. Also God’s plan is bigger than just not walking in wickedness it involves walking out our witness, and while we are walled off from the world it’s hard to walk out the Word of God. In truth this is not a call to cut ourselves off, but to be careful not to get carried away by the culture. While Jesus went away into the wilderness away from the world to fast and seek God at the start of His ministry, and although He continued throughout His life to practice seeking the Father through silence and solitude, the vast majority of His time was spent in constant contact with the culture. Jesus was surrounded by society yet did not sin, he touched and taught, he helped and healed, he served and set the example of how to live life. His disciples followed in His footsteps doing the same, and after they returned from a tour of ministry, teaching truth to the masses Jesus called them to come away Mark 6:31, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” The bible tells us that they had been so busy helping and serving others they had not even had time to eat. Because they had been so surrounded and saturated with people that Jesus told them to depart to a deserted place and get their rest. They planned to take a brake but scripture says “many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them.” When they stepped out of the boat they were surrounded by people, so how did Christ handle the crowds, what did He do, did He tell them to leave and insist on being by Himself? No, he didn’t respond by retreating by being a recluse, instead it says He was, “moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” His disciples were also in constant contact with people, preaching, teaching, and like the Savior they they were surrounding by society as they served. Only when the Apostle John was placed in exile at the end of his life was he isolated from others. When Jesus was asked which were the greatest commandments He said, “love your neighbor as yourself.” So here is the question, how can you love your neighbors if you cut yourself off from the culture and hide from humanity? If you are never in the presence of other people how do you put Christ’s teaching into practice? When you consider Christ’s statement that loving your neighbor is one of the two “great commandments,” you realize that hiding away is not the answer. Monastic life may minimize the wickedness of the world and even make parts of life easier but it doesn’t mesh with the whole of God’s plan. We are not called to hide from humanity but to live holy lives that are sold out and separated to the Savior in the midst of the culture. This is not a call to cower and hide from the culture but a command to not conform to the culture. Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” As Christians we are called to confront the culture with compassionate truth not to conform to it and become tangled up. We are called to be transformists, not conformists. So let me ask you are you a thermostats or a thermometer, one reads the temperature the other changes it. It’s here as the Word warns us about our walk that we see the seriousness of where we sit and where we stand. We are called to live lives separated from sin, in 2 Timothy 2:22 Paul wrote “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of pure heart.” When Paul talks about evil desires, he is talking about the worldly wants that entice and entangle. These are the temptations that tie us up and prevent us from living in the light. So let me ask you what is your greatest worldly want? Is it fame, or fortune, fornication, are you that which is pure or putrid? You can’t love and live for the Lord while you are lusting after the things of this world. I John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” Now don’t get me wrong there is anything wrong with having things as long as things don’t have us. For instance there is nothing wrong with money as long as it doesn’t become our master. Cash is not the problem control is, it’s when cash starts to control our lives instead of Christ. Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve both God and Money.” Money can be a wonderful servant but it’s a lousy master and it will be one or the other in your life. This idea of our character being corrupted doesn’t just apply to possessions but also to people, I Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” Some people will build you up while others will tear and take you down. When we choose to walk in wickedness with people of corrupt character they will rub off and ruin you. It becomes a question of influence, are they influencing me to conform to Christ or the culture? If you truly want God’s blessings then you need to seek to separate yourself from the world. What steps do you need to take to separate yourself from the world?