1 Blessed are those who do not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but who delight in the law of the LORD and meditate on his law day and night. 3 They are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will be destroyed. (Psalms 1:1–6 TNIV)
This, the first of the psalms, has played the role of “first” in several ways in my life. This is the first passage of scripture I preached from in Africa. This is the first psalm I translated from Hebrew into English. In any case, I love this psalm.
I particularly enjoy the first verse. Notice how the psalmist uses three verbs that move from active to passive in nature (though not grammatically) – walk, stand, sit. Have you ever noticed that sin has a way of enticing us into getting comfortable? At first we walk about in our sin acting as if no one can see. Pretty soon we find that we’re not that concerned with whether or not we get caught so we stand around. Then, without warning, our hearts become hard and we make ourselves comfortable and sit down with our sin. At that point we are rooted in sin.
This rooting is in contrast to the life of those who delight in the law of the LORD. Such people are like trees planted by streams of water. How delightfully refreshing. Imagine that, being rooted next to living water rather than in seat of mockers.
So, how does one get up of that couch of sin? I think it begins with belonging. In our church we bring in some very broken people; people who do not belong anywhere. They don’t always behave or think as people who belong should but they belong none the less. As those who belong to the body of Christ it is our responsibility to teach others how to behave and how to think as members of the body of Christ.
For example, a young man joined our fellowship and we have treated him as if he belongs. He is more broken than most who join us and he sincerely wanted to know what was wrong with fornication. The topic of fornication came up while we were talking about being made for kingdom stuff. He didn’t understand the reasoning behind our exhortation to abstain from fornication but he could understand that people who belong here (that is the body of Christ) don’t behave in such a way. I’m confident that his thinking will catch up. In fact, as we study God’s word it transforms us from the inside out.
Belonging leads to behavior. Behavior leads to thinking. Thinking transforms our minds, which in turn transforms our behavior, which in turn indicates that we truly belong. So, if your stuck on that couch there is something you can do about it. You can find a local church (or get involved in the one you are attending). Allow them to speak into your life, especially your behavior. Allow the Holy Spirit to begin transforming you from the inside out.
Discipleship is about allowing people to belong before they believe. Belonging though has its requirements.