“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners or join in with scoffers. But they delight in doing everything the Lord wants; day and night they think about his law. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail. Their leaves never wither, and in all they do, they prosper… For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.”
So often we are quick to blame someone else when we find ourselves in a bit of trouble. God seems to be the prime target. However we need to be aware of a natural process of life – we reap what we sow (Gal 6:8). Of course, as God’s children, there are times when we come up against hardships that seem unfair or unjustified; for example, when we are persecuted for following Jesus (Matt 5:11). Although we are unfairly persecuted during those times, we can rest in peace because of our right standing with God through our faith in Jesus. However, in some circumstances, we so easily look to blame others without looking at how we may have caused the heartache or been involved.
Decisions and Consequences
God says that those who follow Him will bear much fruit (Gal 6:8-9, Phil 1:11, Eph 4:24). Fruit will come to those who delight in doing what God wants. This comes by reading and thinking about the Bible; then applying what we learn through vibrant, open relationships. God has promised to those who delight in Him that He will give them the desires of their heart (Ps 37:4). Therefore, we can proceed confidently and excitedly! However, if we choose to walk apart from God, making decisions that are inconsistent with His calling in our lives or what He has taught us, then we can’t expect a fruitful life. Rather, we inflict destructive and painful consequences on others as well as ourselves.
I am often really challenged with my own decision making. Too often I make decisions based on selfish or impure motives, instead of being honest with God and asking for wisdom and self-control in making the right decisions. In hindsight, I can see I’ve gone through much unnecessary pain that God didn’t intend for me. I see more clearly now how valuable God’s wisdom is, let alone the benefits that come from applying this wisdom. We all make mistakes, but if we allow Him, God graciously uses the resulting consequences to mature and equip us for what lies ahead.
Our Responsibility for Others
There is always hope and good to be found for those who follow God, even in their darkest moments!
As we mature, it’s our responsibility to look out for those around us (Gal 6:1), encouraging them with the lessons we have learnt (2Tim 2:24-25, Gal 6:1-2). However, we are not to force our opinions, but allow others to reap the results of the decisions for which they are responsible and free to make. If they strive to honour God, then He will honour them. If they don’t, the possible repercussions are what they may need to experience. There may also be occasions that if innocent parties are at a high risk of being hurt, God may call us to be more confrontational. The main thing is that we love and support each other unconditionally, just as God is with us.
How can you allow God to be more active in your life?
Is there someone you need to graciously and lovingly correct?
If so, have you first looked at whether your own motives and involvement in the situation honour God?
Like a loving parent, God allows his children to learn from their mistakes. He is always there for support, and sometimes graciously intercedes. Let’s make sure that we too support those around us, by sharing and encouraging them with what we have learned.
1:1 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;
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
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.