the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
When I was a kid, we used to sing a song in Sunday School that told us to be careful what our little hands would do, careful of what our eyes would see, where our feet would go and so on. One thing the song neglected was to warn us to be careful where our seat would sit.
Psalm one tells us a person is blessed if he walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. In other words, Christians are not supposed to live according to the wisdom of the world - a "philosophy of life" that excludes God from the equation. Worldly wisdom denies God has anything to do with this life; it is based on feelings and ultimately (according to James' epistle), is Satanic in origin. Often times a Believers walks in the counsel of the ungodly without giving it much thought. He doesn't really know what the Bible says about bringing his life and sphere of influence under the Lordship of Christ; he has never moved beyond the issue of personal piety. Thus his life's course is directed by the conventional wisdom of his native culture simply by default.
Once a person starts down the thoroughfare of ungodliness, it becomes easy to linger, to stand in the path of the sinner. Rather than step out of that way of life, the professing Christian often makes excuses. After all, he doesn't want to be seen as stuck up or, worse yet, as un-cool. So, the Believer tarries in the path of sin and grows accustomed to the sinner's way of life. He justifies his actions in any number of ways but the bottom line is he enjoys his rebellion and is loath to give it up.
Eventually he is comfortable enough to find a seat and take up permanent residence in the house of the scornful. He mocks Christians who strive toward Christlikeness and disdains the loving rebuke of his pastor or friends. He considers himself to be relevant, in touch and sophisticated. Yet, he is living like a fool and is of no use in the kingdom of God.
Yet there is a way for Christians to insure they don't end up in the seat of the scornful. The second verse of Psalm one says the blessed man delights in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night. His mind is trained by God's word to discern good and evil and he is steadily transformed by the Word into the likeness of Christ.
This isn't to say we are left to our own devices. God assures us He is the One who gives us the will and the ability to walk in His way. The Holy Spirit empowers us to love God's word and works with us to uncover whatg is written upon our heart. As we do so, we will see a steady progression - a movement from glory to glory, from strength to strength. Then, as our personal lives begin to reflect Christ, we will find our sphere of influence stirred as well. Like a flourishing tree we will be a blessing to those around us, providing wise counsel and an upright example.
Imagine what this world would be like if every Christian did his best to avoid the way of the world and instead travailed to bring all of his life and responsibilities under the lordship of Christ. There would be more harmony in our homes. There would be more productivity at our jobs. There would be more evangelism and service in our neighborhoods. And there would be more interest in the Christian Faith on the part of unbelievers.