January 31st - The pledge
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. Psalms 1:1-2 (NKJV)
I attended a Christian college. In order to be accepted into said college, each student was required to sign a card pertaining to personal conduct. In signing the card we were giving our pledge not to engage in a number of activities that were considered taboo by the denomination that the college was affiliated with. We pledged not to drink alcohol, go out dancing, go to movies (including Disney), or sleep around. I kept the rules until a spring break that I spent with Jody. Do not get the wrong idea, I was in my Senior year and Jody and I were married; but, Jody's brother invited us out to a movie. I did not want to offend my new brother-in-law, so Jody and I went and saw "Where the Red Fern Grows." (A G-rated movie--do they actually make G-rated movies any longer? Television is not even G-rated!)
I had many college school-mates who either railed against the conduct restrictions or freely violated their pledge without any reservations. Ultimately, I violated my pledge, although, technically, I was on vacation--hundreds of miles from campus--visiting my wife's family for the first time in our new marriage. I'm not into legalism, but, tampering with THE PLEDGE bothered me. My personal integrity was at stake. To be honest, I never railed against the rules and made an effort to keep them. To this day--I avoid alcohol and drugs--I only dance with my wife at weddings (or my daughter, when she got married)--I am very careful about the movies that I watch, and I do not sleep around. (Which suits both my wife and the Creator!)
It's not that I'm perfect, or consider myself particularly righteous--beyond the imputed righteousness of Christ. Here is the bottom-line: I'm generally not that interested in what the world has to offer. I'm not impressed by the counsel of the ungodly--nor am I interested in seeing how close I can dance to the fires of this world without getting singed. I delight in living right; want to be known by others as a man with personal integrity; love the freedom associated with a clean conscience; want to experience God's blessings by walking in the light.
Let me tell you a secret; a secret that is often obscured by the counsel of the ungodly: Living for God is a life full of delight and blessing. I compare that to the life of the scornful... In the words of Michael W. Smith--"All you're missing is a heartbreak, disillusioned for a keepsake..."
Author's Note: The Holiness Movement of the last century did get something right: If you indulge the flesh it is hard to know where to draw the line; and it is possible that you will find yourself making compromises that are ultimately self-destructive. It is a warning to be circumspect and prudent in your choices. What is legal is not always profitable. RJD