January 1 – Through the Bible in a Year

Today’s Bible Reading:
Genesis 1:1-2:25
Matthew 1:1-2:12
Psalm 1:1-6
Proverbs 1:1-6

Bible verse(s) for the Day:

Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, not 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.”

Some of my reflections on today’s reading:
Let’s be honest. No, let’s be brutally honest! We will start with the sobering news and end with great news.

Far too many folks who profess to be Jesus followers are simply playing games with God and their eternity. They claim that they have “said a prayer” and are on their way to Heaven. Yet, while they may have a striking resemblance to their “Christian” friends, they look nothing like Jesus.

Yes, we live by grace. In fact, if we are completely honest with ourselves and others, we desperately need regular doses of grace. Every day, we find ourselves falling at the foot of the cross asking once again for forgiveness for a sinful action, oversight, word, thought, attitude, or motive.

Yet, too often, it seems as if people who claim to be Jesus-followers are presuming upon God’s grace. They assume that God is going to forgive them of any sin and fault. So, they live for themselves. They don’t read God’s Word and pursue holiness. They settle for simply trying to be good. And they measure their goodness based not upon the Bible but upon how their peers are living. They tolerate sin in their life because, after all, “no one is perfect.” So, they continue tolerating sin and periodically offer up trite prayers in their attempt to clear the decks.

This sort of attitude angered the Apostle Paul:

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2).

Did you notice Paul’s statement, “By no means!”? The word he used in Greek was about as harsh a word as you can use without cursing.

So, what are we to do? 

Pursue holiness! 

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14).

How do we become holy, more like Jesus? The answer to that question is the same as this question: “How can I be happy/blessed?” Apply Psalm 6:1-2!

Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, not 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.”

Absolutely refuse to engage in sin in any form! Even if the sin seems trivial, don’t do it! When you sin, and we will(!), immediately drop to your knees, ask for forgiveness and cleansing and receive it.

Notice in verse 1 that there is a progression (or really a regression): first, the man is walking with sinners, then he slows down to stand with them, then he slows down even more to sit with them. Further, notice that he begins with personally engaging in sin and eventually develops a calloused heart with which he scoffs at those striving to pursue holiness. 

Everything about sin moves us, slowly but surely, away from Jesus and our journey toward holiness.

I’ve counseled enough people and know from my own sinful heart that sin, whatever it is (big or small), is a poison. It appeals to our sin nature and the first dose often feels great. But, eventually it doesn’t satisfy like it once did and we may soon realize that it is seeking to destroy us. In reality, it is insane that we keep going after sin to satisfy the longing inside of us that can only be satisfied with Jesus.

Instead of engaging in harmful sin, what must we do? We develop an appetite for God’s Word, we read it, and we find joy in reflecting on it and complying with it (Psalm 6:2).

Friend, God’s Word is not intended to steal your fun. It is intended to warn us of what will steal our joy and our fellowship with God. God wants us to be blessed! He wants us to be happy in Him, regardless of what is going on in our life. 

But, in order to get that joy, we’ve got to despise sin and love God’s Word. We’ve got to reject sin and pursue holiness (progressively becoming more like Jesus). 

Will you make that your aim today as you depend upon the Lord for the strength to do so?

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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