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The Blessed Life (Psalm 1)

In our day, when religious apostasy has attempted to redefine terms, to speak of "the blessed life" might conjure in our minds images of luxury and materialistic abundance. Of course, this is not the blessed life God reveals to us in scripture, and many of Jesus’ teachings suggest that greater godliness involves intentionally shunning material extravagance.

But what does “the blessed life” look like in God’s kingdom? In Psalm 1, the blessed person "does not walk in the counsel of the wicked" (Psalm 1:1). This is remarkable behavior in our day. We have a tendency to take any useful tidbit we can find, as long as it seems in our best interest, without much regard to the quality of the source. God's Word in Psalm 1 says we must consider the source. There is a sense in which even potentially harmless advice for life, if given by an unconverted person, should be dissected, taken to prayer, and compared with God's Word. Certainly, even a nonbeliever can repeat to us a biblical principle and it may prove helpful. But more often than not, God's perfect direction for our choices, big and small, will differ from the counsel of those who do not live for the glory of Jesus. Consider the deeds and lifestyle of the individual giving you counsel, and compare it to the will of God in scripture. Whether it sounds nice to our ears or not, the counsel of the godly will prove to be worth taking in light of eternity.

"His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night" (1:2). As followers of Jesus Christ, our righteousness is not on the basis of legal requirements but on the basis of putting our full trust in the Son of God. We do not gain acceptance or access to God through the law. However, once we are received as a child of God by grace through faith, the Spirit will then send us back into the treasures of God's law to search out what pleases our awesome King. In fact, the whole heart of living in devotion to Jesus means standing by His grace, yet earnestly seeking to know what pleases Him and be conformed to that good way.

The first Christians, as the book of Acts tells us, were called followers of the Way. Having lost that title in practical use, we should remind ourselves of it and meditate on it. To be a follower of Jesus Christ necessarily means a way of life. There is no way around it. The truly regenerated heart does not desire a way around it, but has an inner cry which says, “Lord, let me be conformed to Your image, so that I can please You more!”

By digging in deep to know the things of God and live in the way of Christ, we become “like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,” and the promise is that, “in whatever he does, he prospers” (1:3). Notice something crucial here: it is not every single thing this person does that prospers or works out perfectly. This is not a promise that the sincere follower of Christ will never experience failure or loss. What prospers? He, the child of God, prospers. In anything we do, if the Lord is our God through and through, if Christ is our life, then He will prosper us spiritually, no matter whether we face loss or success. In all things, He will work for your good and confirm you to His image (Romans 8:28). That is good news to receive today.

Alex Mack

Teaching Pastor

The Rock Church

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