Recently I shared breakfast with a group of men. As we attacked a pan of eggs and downed cups of coffee, we flipped open our Bibles to Psalm 1:1-2
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night." (ESV)
One of the guys at breakfast mentioned a progression that he saw in the passage. First the man walks where he shouldn’t. Then he chooses to linger and stands. Finally, he chooses to sit and make himself at home among others who have given themselves to their wrong decisions.
Now, I hardly suspect that the man in Psalm 1 set out that day to pull up his chair alongside the wrong crowd. Perhaps he had even given himself a pep talk that morning that he was going to stay focused and make the right decisions. However, he allowed his feet to take him dangerously close to a place he knew he shouldn’t be and before long he was stuck there.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we recognize that we can see the same pattern in our lives too. We commit ourselves to making wise, life-giving, and God-honoring choices, but then we foolishly allow our literal and figurative walk to get us too close to the danger. If we’ve committed to a diet, we drive down the street of that tempting fast food restaurant when we are tired, hungry, or stressed. We wake up on a free day intending to cross of a list of chores, but somehow the TV gets turned on or our phones steal our attention for hours. Unfortunately, many of us have experienced firsthand the incredible destruction that can follow a little bit of wandering with drugs and substance abuse, a small unethical or criminal action, or an unleashed and inappropriate sexual desire.
It is clear: the direction we walk determines where we end up. When we walk and wander near bad places, we end up in bad situations. But the opposite is true too: when we walk and wander near good places, we end up in good situations. When we discipline ourselves to stay away from the junk food aisle in the super market, it’s easier to eat healthily. When we surround ourselves with wise, responsible friends their character rubs off on us. When we place ourselves in situations and relationships where God is honored, we find it that much easier to honor God with our lives.
So I ask you today: where are you walking? Where do you let your kids walk? How would you feel if you or your child were to decide to stand or sit in that activity, relationship, habit, or situation? Today—not tomorrow—decide to walk in good places. Know what your kids are looking at on their phones and who they are spending time with. Make church participation a priority. Surround yourself with others who are venturing towards God together. Take steps today to help you end up where you want to be tomorrow.