Do the Right Thing

Blind Faith (No. 25, 2017)
Weekly Devotional for June 22, 2017
Do the Right Thing

A recent retrospective through early editions of Blind Faith
made me realize that I do not connect stories from current headlines with
Bible lessons nearly as often as I did a decade ago. The realization raised
my radar for contemporary events that might illustrate a spiritual principle
or invite attention to a Bible passage. I read a variety of news outlets. I
tried a number of sources I had not followed regularly before. A story does
not necessarily have to be a “good news” feature to offer opportunities for
addressing real-life issues of faith in God. God guides us faithfully in
every aspect of life! But I have continued to come up empty! Little in the
news of the day has stimulated my devotional imagination as stories seemed
to do some time ago.

Blame is easy to assign to today’s hyper-partisan invective
dominating each day’s news. Positive spiritual meditations do not flow
naturally from reports of acts of terrorism, or accounts of defenseless
people wounded or killed by gunfire in war zones or public streets, or
coverage of catastrophic accidents or natural disasters. Political
prevarications are pervasive but certainly are not inspiring. Nor do
excessive cat videos and other cutesy social media posts foster faithful
insights! Biblical principles apply to the whole range of life experiences,
but reports that prompt faithful commentary here are scarce.

The issue of life reflecting God’s goodness and grace abundantly
so that daily reports offer continuing inspiration to join others in living
by faith should be simple enough to resolve. People just need to behave!
Living responsibly on a personal level and contributing to the common good
as broadly as possible would go a long way to quiet the ills besetting the
world and to giving God’s words and blessings ample opportunities to be
recognized.

Think how different the 24-hour news cycle would sound if the
predominant way of life regularly practiced by individuals and groups of
people conformed to the pattern of Psalm 1. A verse from the New Testament
writer, James, can sharpen the focus of the psalm’s counsel. James says
simply, “Anyone who knows the right thing to do, but does not do it, is
sinning.” (James 4:17 NCV) The psalmist succinctly states the source of
knowing what is right, the benefit of doing it, and the consequence of
failing to do so:

God blesses those people who refuse evil advice and won’t follow sinners or
join in sneering at God.
2 Instead, the Law of the Lord makes them happy, and they think about it day
and night.
3 They are like trees growing beside a stream, trees that produce fruit in
season and always have leaves. Those people succeed in everything they do.
4 That isn’t true of those who are evil, because they are like straw blown
by the wind.
5 Sinners won’t have an excuse on the day of judgment, and they won’t have a
place with the people of God.
6 The Lord protects everyone who follows him, but the wicked follow a road
that leads to ruin. (Psalm 1 CEV)

Evil counsel abounds these days. Sometimes it is not immediately identified
as evil because too many private and public figures fail to think about “the
law of the LORD . day and night.” Instead, many sneer at God or – equally as
disastrous – remain coldly indifferent to God. The results are
counter-productive, acrid, dried-up numerous drains on society. God has
given us all a wonderful world in which to live together productively – if
we do the right thing his way!

I will keep looking for examples of Psalm 1-type behavior in the
news. Meanwhile, look for examples around you. Share stories of
inspirational, faithful living with me. I will appreciate them and may share
them with other Blind Faith readers! And – very importantly – make a habit
of Psalm 1-type living yourself – every day! The world will be a much better
place if everyone would follow that simple rule.

– J. Edward Culpepper

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