Someone asked me recently a good question: “How is a person’s righteous life is portrayed and or protected with the Word of God?”
For me, there are two cap-stone statements in the Word of God that encapsulate what God sets as the standard of righteousness. Psalm 1 and Mark 12: 29-32 seems to be two of most concise statements in the Bible for understanding for what God sees as being righteous. What men make up as being righteous is just that … what men make up. It has no bearing on the real eternal standard that can only be set by our Creator. Jesus said at one point in His ministry to some religious leaders “You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” [Mark 7:8] How much time we spend reading and studying the Bible, how much we volunteer in the church, whether we lead a home group or not, how much we pray or how much we give; these are all gauges set by people to judge other people and make ourselves feel better or more important or more righteous.
To me the question is never “how much” religious works am I doing but rather “how engaged” am I with Jesus. Is my focus on the expectations of Jesus or religious people?
According to Psalm 1 there are only two ways of living: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. God makes it clear throughout the Scriptures that it is the distinctness of God’s Word is to bring to life in the believer righteous as God expects. Two great principles are revealed: (1) the importance and absolute focus on the Scripture, and (2) the necessity for our character to be changed, our stability to be founded on God’s Word; it is all about who makes the Scriptures the core of our lives.
Our lives reflect either negatively or positively how we respond to God, our spouses, our children, our co-workers and our neighbors. Check out the use of stark contrasts. The writer of this Psalm emphasizes by contrast, what we ought not to be doing to what the godly [righteous] do. There are only two ways of living. We can live stable lives and bless others or we can live unstably and face judgment for our choice. The choices we make each and every day reflect either negatively or positively our character and destiny.
There is lots of wisdom to be gained in listening to what God tells us. Psalm 1 declares in just a few words some of the most basic but profound truths about the standard of righteous as set by God. How do you measure up?