I am a fan of the show Mythbusters. If you’ve never seen it, this show takes common urban myths and scientifically tests them out to see if they are true or false. One interesting myth they tested a while back was if ancient ninjas were able to walk on water with various flotation devices on their feet. Through many failed attempts, the Mythbusters decided to make a concoction of water and cornstarch. Amazingly, this “liquid” surface was hard enough to run on. However, if at any point they stopped their movement, they would begin to sink (Watch It Here).
The Christian life has some awesome parallels to this idea. Not all situations in life require for us to run towards heaven, though it’s a common concept in Scripture (Hebrews 12:1-2). However, there are situations when running is absolutely necessary (see Joseph in Genesis 39:12). Slowing down and taking in sinful situations with bad influences can have dire consequences.
Psalm 1 is a great psalm contrasting righteousness and wickedness. The first few verse gives a sobering model about bad influences. See, people do not usually wake up one morning and find themselves living deep in sin. There is much more of a process and Psalm 1:1 identifies this for us. What we will notice here is an increased level of involvement of the negative influence as we sink deeper in.
(1) A righteous person “Does not WALK in the counsel of the wicked.” A person who is only walking is not fully committed. However, this person is committed at least to some degree. What we see here is a person who is just kind of going with the crowd (even if he or she does not agree with the crowd). This person may not be “participating,” but the fact that this person is even there is a step in the wrong direction. Walking is a moving motion. So, it is still fairly easy to shift the motion towards a better goal. This person is not sinking in too deep yet.
(2) A righteous person “Does not STAND in the path of sinners.” Standing seems to show participation and support of the people and actions. This person is no longer moving towards the goal at all. The level of sinful involvement is now increased. Suddenly the people or things being done do not seem as bad as they once did. This person is no longer moving but is now stationary and sinking in deeper. It will now take more effort to get moving and then to move away, but it is still within reach.
(3) A Righteous Person “Does not SIT in the seat of scoffers.” Sitting shows full commitment, involvement, and even a comfortableness with the whole situation. This person is now in deep and is not very concerned about pressing towards any other goal. This person has sunk in these bad influences and now it will now be very difficult to get up, get moving, and get away.
The more we sink into our world and negative influences, the more it will grab onto us. Or as Romans 12:2 puts it, the more we will end up “conforming” to our world. Every decision we make, everything we do, everyone we walk with, every person we “hang out with,” and anyone we sit down with has the ability to influence our lives. We must be very careful. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘bad company corrupts good morals.’” This can and does happen to everyone. No one is immune. We must be as careful as ever to never slow down our Christianity. Let’s keep pressing towards that prize (Hebrews 12:1-2).