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. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Psalms 1:1-3 NIV)
The book of Psalms is a collection of songs of praise. Originally they came in five different books. Many of them were penned by David. In them we find expressed the heart cry of man in nearly every situation. No matter what you are going through you can find a psalm that relates to your situation. I turn to them when I am discouraged, for they often begin with complaint and end in praise.
The first psalm warns us not to keep company with evil people. We are told not to listen to their counsel, stand in their way or sit in their seats. The word ¡®blessed¡¯ is translated ¡®happy¡¯ in some newer renderings. Blessing implies the goodness of God will be with such a person. I look for these beatitudes throughout Scripture. If the Word gives me instruction as to what to do to find God pouring out His goodness on me, I want to give careful attention to that instruction. You will be blessed if you avoid bad company. Man has a natural tendency to gravitate toward mocking and complaint.
Instead, delight in God¡¯s word. Think on it day and night. If you will take some time each day to be in the company of the Word, and let Him speak to you, you will have a thought to dwell on that will build you up instead of tearing you down. Avoiding the mocking sinner and filling your mind with God¡¯s instruction will cause you to be blessed.
Then in typical Hebrew style, the psalmist expands on what it means to be blessed in a simile. You will be like a tree planted by a stream that bears fruit. You wont dry out. You will prosper in everything you do. What a picture! What a promise! If you believe it, you should act on it. Take time each day to delight in the Word of God. Take a thought with you through the day. Perhaps today you could take this thought with you: ¡°If I meditate on God¡¯s Word, whatever I do will prosper.¡±
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)
Whenever you see the word ¡°therefore¡±, you should read before it to find out what it is there for. In the case of our passage for this evening, Paul has been expressing the wonder of God¡¯s grace in the world drawing both Jews and Gentiles to Himself. Because God is so very gracious and merciful, the only appropriate response from man is to present ourselves like the Jews presented a sacrificial animal. We give our physical bodies to be laid upon the altar of God for Him to do with as He pleases. This means we are no longer claim the right to do as we please.
Unlike the animal sacrifices, we remain living and functioning at God¡¯s direction. It is wonderful to become God¡¯s tool for His use, but the problem with being a living sacrifice is that we can climb off the altar.
The sacrifice is holy. In the Old Testament, the altar was most holy and sanctified the gift. We cannot pollute God when we are surrendered; He sanctifies us. That means He makes us completely His and only for His use. This process is pleasing to God.
Since we are to be for His use alone, we should not conform to the ungodly pattern of the world. The process of being sanctified begins with the transformation of our minds. As our way of thinking is renewed, we begin to see life in a different light. We see ourselves as servants and not masters. We see fulfillment in serving God and not in serving self. Only when our minds are renewed are we then able to test and approve of God¡¯s will. Before that we think our own will must be God¡¯s will. Once our minds are transformed by His Spirit and Word, we can discern His good, pleasing and perfect will. Then we truly begin to live life as He meant us to live it.
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