For Warrior Devotional #3, I want to talk to you about the importance of choosing wise counselors and confidants. Our Scripture passage for this devotional is Psalm 1: 1-2, which reads as follows:
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.”
You have probably heard it said: “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”. I believe it was probably my grandpa who first shared that cliché’ with me when I was a rebellious teenager. Well, it turns out that in chapter one, that is essentially what the Psalmist is telling us. We as believers ought to seek out wise counsel as part of our lifestyle, and seek to cultivate worthwhile friendships that don’t lead us to engage in bad behavior.
We ought to strive to associate ourselves with people who are not “sinners” or “scoffers” as much as possible. Now that isn’t to say that we ought only to associate with people who see eye to eye with us on everything, or even that we can’t be friends with non-believers. After all, we are all sinners saved by grace and there is truly “none righteous” as Paul says in his letter to the Romans. There can be much growth intellectually and spiritually when we develop friendships with those who may challenge our faith or assumptions in so far as it ought to strengthen us in our understanding and ability to defend what we believe. It may also make us aware of some holes in our reason or understanding that we may not have noticed if we only associated with like-minded people. But that is entirely different from “standing in the path of sinners”.
If your inner circle and the people that you confide in is made up of the unrighteous and deliberately sinful, you are eventually bound to begin walking in their path and sitting in their seat; you become like they are, which is what you want to avoid doing. We are told in another Psalm that “Iron sharpens iron” when we surround ourselves with wise and righteous confidants. This is one of the reasons that we are called to associate with other believers in church. When we fall out of church, we lose many opportunities to gain that wise counsel and have that support structure that helps in our Christian walk.
However, even amongst so-called believers, it is sometimes tough to know the difference between the wicked and the wise when we are deciding who to confide in. Churches are full of sinners and scoffers of the sort the Psalmist warns against. If it were as easy as “sizing someone up” when you meet them, you wouldn’t see the kind of drama we are witnessing during this circus of an election season. So what are we as believers to do to avoid the pitfalls of bad associations?
First of all: we can pray about it. We are told in James chapter 1 that “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally…” So, we as believers have a spiritual lifeline that we can and should rely on if we are as active as we should be in prayer. That is what the Psalmist is referring to when he talks about “meditating day and night” on the things of God. The Psalmist is essentially describing a healthy prayer life. You have to be “in the Word” and meditating/praying on it, or you are bound to suffer in the area of discernment. As believers with the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are given the ability to discern the difference between good and evil when we are where we need to be spiritually speaking. We would do well to meditate on God’s Word and pray before all of our decisions; but certainly in circumstances where we feel the need to rely on others by choosing wise counsel and associations.
Furthermore, we can take a look at the evidence that exists about the person or people in whom we seek to confide and use that to determine if they are trustworthy. If you feel that someone is worthy of your confidence, you should be able to find out some details about who they are and how they live their lives. When you take a look at the facts you discover about people, you are going to see evidence or lack thereof as to their trustworthiness. Jesus tells us that we will know false teachers “by their fruits”; which is simply a way of saying that there will be evidence of their true character based on what they have said or done that we can discover if we are willing to do some investigation. Like President Reagan said: “Trust, but verify”. It is important as believers that we never neglect the second half of that wise advice.
So what is the practical application here for the Warrior? Well, we as Warriors are going to want to associate with other Warriors, and as armed American citizens, we ought to seek out quality training to hone our Warrior skills. When you are going to figure out who to spend your time and money training with, you want to avoid the “counsel of the wicked” as it relates to instruction and information. A synonym for “wicked” in the context of training that you will hear all too often is what I and many other professional instructors like to call “derp”. If you are a discerning and wise Warrior, you ought to be able to recognize “derp” when you see it. If you are considering an instructor or curriculum, take a look past the surface and see what they are really all about. Instructor and avid shooter Melody Lauer likens choosing a good instructor to choosing a good oncologist. You don’t want to go with the one who simply has the best commercials, you want to find out who their referrals are, what kind of treatment they offer, their success rate, reviews from their patients, etc. before you put your life in their hands. In the same way, you don’t want to learn life and death skills from someone who is peddling “derp”. So you can apply the principles of Psalm 1 to avoid walking in the ways of the “derp” or sitting in the seat of the “derp”.
So, pay attention to who you confide in, and do your homework instead of blindly trusting people who may not always have your best interest in mind. Blessings come to those who pay attention to detail and are mindful of who they associate with. This is true as you live your Christian life, and as you prepare yourself as a Warrior for possible confrontation with the evil in this world. Make sure you don’t find yourself in company with the wicked or the “derp”, and you will live a blessed Warrior lifestyle.