Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked. . . .
— Psalm 1:1

One morning on my weeks-long hike of the Appalachian Trail, I started off in the wrong direction and walked some distance before I realized my mistake. So I turned around and headed back the right way. No harm done. But walking through life in the wrong direction would be quite another matter.
Psalm 1 warns about going the wrong way in life, by walking, standing, and sitting with the wicked. “But,” you might ask, “shouldn’t we befriend sinners, as Jesus did, out of God’s caring love?” Yes, of course. But if we “walk in step” with the wicked, that means going along in their direction, on their chosen way—not God’s. We are created to live in fellowship with God. When we walk with God, we flourish like trees “planted by streams of water,” strong and firmly rooted in the goodness and love of God, bearing good fruit that can help others taste and see the goodness of living for God.
People who reject and turn away from God, however, are lost. They lack a firm foundation and are easily blown away as they seek fleeting pleasures and alluring deceptions in this world.
How do we know we’re on the right path? We need to read, study, and reflect on God’s Word, taking it all to heart. Only in God’s Word and by his Spirit can we find the way to full life and flourishing.

Lord, you have given us your Son and your Word. Help us to read your Scriptures, treasure them in our hearts, and follow the path they set for us. Amen.

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