By Dr. Charles Stanley
As Christians, we have a responsibility to conduct our lives in a way that will please the Lord. His mercy should motivate us to pursue holiness (Heb. 10:14). But what does godly living look like? Although there are many passages of Scripture that we could choose, let’s examine the characterization of a righteous man given in Psalm 1.
A. He orders his life around godly counsel: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners” (Ps. 1:1). A person who follows the Lord wholeheartedly seeks advice primarily from those who have spiritual insight and integrity (Prov. 12:5).
We should still develop friendships with unsaved people out of a desire to reach them for Christ. But a believer’s closest friends should be those who have godly character.
- What steps could you take this week to develop closer relationships with thriving Christians?
- Read John 13:34-35. Why do you think the New Testament places so much importance on loving fellow believers? Why would this, more than anything else, show the world that we are followers of Jesus?
B. The godly person receives enjoyment, encouragement, and refreshment from the Word of God: “His delight is in the law of the Lord” (Ps. 1:2). We should love the Bible more than television, sports, or other pastimes.
Scripture instructs us to meditate on the Word of God. Meditation is pondering what was read and relating it to one’s life. Ask questions such as, “What does this tell me about God or myself? What do I need to change?”
- What do you think it means to meditate on the Word day and night (v. 2)?
- What did God promise Joshua if he would meditate on the Book of the Law—that is, Scripture (Josh. 1:8)?
- How can you apply these principles to your life this week?
C. The godly person stands successfully through the storms in life. “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water” (Ps. 1:3). During a drought, trees growing by a stream fare better than other trees. In a similar way, people who maintain an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ continue to thrive in difficulty. Their hope and strength is found in the Lord, not their circumstances.
- Why could the psalmist be courageous despite the devastation around him (Ps. 46:1-3)?
- In what does the believer place his confidence, even in difficulty (Rom. 8:34-39)?
D. A godly person is fruitful: The tree planted by water “yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither” (Ps. 1:3). Righteous believers seek to invest their lives rather than spend them. Their lives bear spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22-23). Notice that the fruit of the Spirit is a result of abiding in Christ, not of striving in our own power to be holy (John 15).
- What did Paul say gave him the strength to live a righteous life (Gal. 2:20)?
This passage means we must surrender control of our lives to God and allow Christ to live through us. It includes the responsibility to reject sin, but we must be careful not to dwell on our battle against temptation. The more we focus on wrongdoing, the more powerful and attractive it will seem. And if we manage to stay free from a particular vice in our own strength, we tend to be judgmental of others who wrestle with it.
- What should fill our minds (Phil. 4:6-8)?
- What battle against sin have you been waging on your own? Surrender that struggle to the Lord, and ask Him to bring you through to victory.
E. A godly man is successful in all he does: “Whatever he does shall prosper” (Ps. 1:3).
We should flourish in every aspect of our lives. We will see God’s hand of blessing on our friendships, marriages, families, and careers, although we may not become wealthy or successful by the world’s standards (3 John 1:2). A godly person should be content—a quality vital to enjoying God’s blessings.
- Why do we need to learn contentment, even in prosperity (Phil. 4:12)?
- What was Paul’s secret to being content (Phil. 4:13)?
- Does it surprise you that Scripture connects greed to a lack of awareness of the Lord’s presence (Heb. 13:5-6)? Why or why not?
The Lord’s grace is sufficient. Whatever the task or challenge, we are able to face it with the Father’s help (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
Closing: The Lord calls each of us to a godly life. And He equips us with everything we need to become successful in holy living. Surrender to the Lord, and then ask for the strength to obey His Word. You can be sure He will answer that prayer.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the Holy Spirit’s power, which equips me to live righteously. I choose to submit my will to You and to rely on Your strength. When the Enemy tells me I can’t be godly, remind me that You will work through me to bring victory. Amen.
Adapted from “Charles Stanley’s Handbook for Christian Living,” 1996.
A Call To Godly Living
God desires that every believer lead a righteous life. But our culture places a tremendous amount of pressure on Christians to "fit in." The doctrines of our faith are often mocked and ridiculed in the public arena. Individual believers sometimes make spiritual or moral compromises in an attempt to be accepted. How can we resist the secular influence of our time? In Romans 12:1-2, the apostle Paul reveals how to pursue holiness and resist compromise. (Watch A Call To Godly Living.)