I have been studying the book of Proverbs for the last few weeks, following the ever-popular reading plan of one chapter a day, with the chapter number corresponding with the day of the month. I’ve been richly blessed by all the wisdom I’ve gleaned from the verses, however a reoccuring theme struck me with tremendous force and conviction.
If you read Proverbs, you will note that it has a lot to say about the right way of living. It also says a lot about how much the wicked will suffer. I’m fine with all these descriptions and “prophecies”, albeit the fact that I can sometimes be scared by the calamities said to surely overtake the wicked.
However, one important detail popped out at me, and that is the fact that only two types of people — two extremes, so to say — are mentioned: the righteous, and the wicked.
The righteous and the wicked.
Okay, that makes sense. There are those holy people who always think, say, and do the Word and will of God. And there are those who indulge in every evil that exists. I mean, that’s what righteous and wicked are supposed to mean right?
BUT WAIT JUST ONE SECOND: I feel discriminated against!! Why am I not mentioned in these passages? Sure, I’m not a holy saint. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a lying, thieving, sex-crazed murderer. I’m sort of in the middle, you know? Not that good, but not that bad. In fact, on the morality scale I think I’m a little closer to the point marked “Righteous” than the point marked “Wicked”. After all, I do read my Bible every day, pray at every meal, and go to church as often as I can! I’m a good person. :]
I strongly, firmly believe there is a huge reason why God only uses these two terms in Proverbs.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
– Revelation 3:15-16
God wants our relationship with Him to be brought to its full potential. He doesn’t want us to be “half in-half out” in our Christian walk and practices. He wants our whole heart, our whole mind, our whole soul, our whole strength, our whole body, our everything to be given and consecrated to Him. He wishes we will either choose to be passionate, fiery followers after Him, or be cold and distant towards Him by falling back into the world and continuing in our sinful behavior. He hates for us to immerse ourselves in earthly pleasures, and when those pleasures disappear and storms come our way, run screaming to Him for help. It’s like we’re using Him in a continuous pursuit for happiness and peace with a secular twist.
God blesses His followers. He does so as an exhibition of His faithfulness, and also because He delights in giving us every good and perfect gift. We give Him our everything; He returns the favor by fulfilling our needs and wants — in His time and according to His will, of course. Therefore, He demands (in a good way) that we give back to Him as well.
You will choose to either be constantly pursuing holiness, or constantly falling into wickedness. God will not tolerate halfheartedness in serving Him, especially if you are easily swayed back into the world. It certainly is a large challenge, but taking up our crosses and following after Jesus is not meant to be a happy and trouble-free journey. It is one of suffering, of shame, but with a reward that will outshine (literally) anything we go through. We only need to stand firm, deeply rooted in the Word of God and an intimate relationship with our Creator.
When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone,but the righteous stand firm forever.
– Proverbs 10:25
It’s hard for me to make that choice, and I’m probably hypocritical for writing this post. However, I don’t want to miss out on all the blessings He has in store for the righteous. And I certainly don’t want to have wicked calamities befall me. Therefore, I resolve to wholeheartedly pursue holiness and give God my everything. It won’t be easy, but with people pushing me forward and God’s ever-abundant grace, I’m sure I can make it through.
Will you choose the same?