FOLLOW THOSE WHO FOLLOW CHRIST
Date: July 24
Category: Godly Character
"So may you walk in the way of good men, and keep to the paths of the [consistently] righteous (the upright, in right standing with God). For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the men of integrity, blameless and complete [in God's sight], shall remain in it; but the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the treacherous shall be rooted out of it."
This is a teaching about proper behavior, which we will learn by following proper examples. Who we select to be our "role model" is a very important decision. The examples that we choose to emulate will impact your entire life. That's why we have to be careful of who we are following. This Scripture teaches us the type of people we should be emulating. First it says in verse 20, "So may you walk in the way of good men…" In other words, we are to walk in the same way that good men do; we are to speak the way they do, act the way they do, and think the way they do. We shouldn't learn from people who are living wickedly. Verse 20b says, "and keep to the paths of the [consistently] righteous (the upright, in right standing with God)." So we are to follow good people, but not just that, we are especially supposed to follow people who are righteous before God.
Notice that this Scripture uses the word, "consistently." For a person to be consistently righteous, he has to live righteously most of the time – not just some of the time, but most of the time. Those are the people we should be around. Those are the people we should emulate. We should keep to the path of those who follow God consistently and faithfully.
The Bible is very clear about what kind of people God wants us to follow and the kind of people He doesn't want us to follow. For example we read in Psalm 1:1, "Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather." If you find people who aren't following Christ, then you're not supposed to follow them. If you find people who aren't consistently following Christ, then you're not supposed to follow them either. You only follow those who are following God consistently.
But why should we do that? Why are we supposed to walk in the way of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous? Well in verse 21 we read, "For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the men of integrity, blameless and complete [in God's sight] shall remain in it." When we follow the righteous, then it means that we will try to live righteously. When we live righteously, then we will dwell in our land. There is a lasting value to our lives when we walk uprightly before the Lord.
In this verse, there is also another character trait that is added. It says, "men of integrity." Men of integrity are people who do exactly what they said they would do. They are reliable and honorable people. When you are a person of integrity, you will follow through with what you say. You won't say one thing and do another. Integrity is so important for us to have. It says here that a man of integrity is blameless and complete in God's sight. Those are the people we should follow as well because those are the people who will remain in the land.
People who do not walk righteously get mixed up in all sorts of trouble. When you aren't abiding in God, then you must be abiding in sin. If you are wrapped in sin, then you cannot have perfect peace in your heart. If you don't have perfect peace, then you have fear. That fear will sap the life right out of you. It will take energy from you, and it will cause you to be unsettled. In other words, you will not remain. We read in verse 22, "But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the treacherous shall be rooted out of it." When a person is wicked, there is no way that person can remain. Sin will eat away at his life, both his natural life on the earth and of course his eternal life. Sin has no profit; the only result sin will bring is death (Romans 5:12).
So if you want to remain in the land and if you want to live eternally with the Lord, then take heed to these verses. Walk in the way of good men and take the path of the consistently righteous. Follow those who follow Christ. Live uprightly before the Lord, and God will ensure that you will remain!