SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
The Church Helps Us Choose the Path of Righteousness
Key Verse: The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. – Proverbs 11:3
The Bible is not ambiguous. Its primary message is not vague. Repeatedly, the holy Scriptures teach us that there are two ways to live and we must make a choice. There is a right way and a wrong way. There is a righteous path and a wicked path. One is straight; the other is crooked. God gives us the freedom to choose righteousness or wickedness.
This choice is huge. Choose righteousness and you choose life. Choose wickedness and you choose death. Nothing is plainer in the Bible. Remember how the Psalmist expressed it: “For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish” (Psalm 1:6).
Righteous choices please God. Wicked choices grieve God. God created us so that we could embrace life and live it abundantly. When we choose our own way rather than God’s way, we embrace death and destruction. Spiritually, we can live or we can die. The choice is ours.
Righteousness is equivalent to a life of integrity. Wickedness, on the other hand, is mirrored by deceitfulness. Integrity guides the righteous to be faithful to God. The wicked are unfaithful or treacherous. The wicked repudiate God; the righteous love God and obey him.
The value of integrity is highlighted in today’s lesson. In a culture where duplicity is rampant, the virtue of moral integrity is sorely needed. The Christian who is known for his or her integrity is a strong witness for Christ. On the other hand, the pseudo Christian destroys his witness when his lack of basic integrity is exposed. The Christian who does not “walk like he talks” proves himself to be a phony whose testimony for Christ is worthless no matter how eloquent.
The Scriptures teach us that God delights in honesty but he despises deceit. The proud will soon fall but the humble will live. The proud are foolish and therefore wicked; the humble are wise and therefore righteous.
Today’s lesson gives us an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of righteous living. We help ourselves when we make godly choices. We hurt ourselves when we make wicked choices. The wicked fall while the righteous stand. The wicked lose hope; the righteous find hope. The righteous have a right relationship with God; the wicked suffer estrangement from God. The righteous are delivered while the wicked perish apart from God.
Doing the right thing has its own rewards. There is peace rather than the guilt of having done the wrong thing. There are sometimes difficult situations in our lives when everything seems to have gone wrong. There are problems we cannot fix; there are relationships that seem irreconcilable. In such times the best choice we can make is clearly this: Keep on doing the right thing, the loving thing. Eventually you will win because love always wins. As Paul said, love never fails. It never has. It never will. You will never ever regret having chosen to do the loving thing that honors Christ.
Another great truth emerges in this lesson and that is the difference the church makes in helping us choose the path of righteousness. Christians are not lone rangers. We are brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.
This relationship is constantly more a blessing that we may have realized. More times than we can imagine victory has been ours because “many advisers make victory sure.” We have all benefited greatly from the godly counsel of Christian friends in the Body. For that blessing we should be most thankful.
One’s family makes a powerful difference in his or her spiritual life. Repeatedly I have seen how godly parents influence their children, and how siblings influence one another in choosing righteousness instead of wickedness. This same thing occurs in the family of God.
Our brothers and sisters in the family of faith help to shape us into persons of moral integrity. I have a deep sense of gratitude for the way my Christian friends in the Body have encouraged me to live under the lordship of Jesus Christ. I owe so much to my mentors and my friends who have modeled for me a life wholly devoted to the service of Christ.
Find a quiet place where you can kneel today and give thanks for those in your community of faith who have inspired you to keep on choosing the path of integrity so that Christ can be glorified in your daily life. Christ is, remember, “the way, the truth, and the life,” and there is no other way home.
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