When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever. (Proverbs 10:25)
The way of the Lord is refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil. The righteous will never be uprooted, but the wicked will not remain in the land. (Proverbs 10:29-30)
In the day of evil we will be tempted to respond to our challenges in a worldly spirit, trusting in our wits, or trying to do what is expedient, or seeking the “safety of numbers.” But when the storm rages that is especially when we must stand in the grace of God, retaining our faith in Him.
In the midst of the storms of life, the safest place is always in the center of God’s will – both the will of God that has to do with our choices in life and the will of God that has to do with the meditations of our hearts. Both of these are realities in our daily life, as the psalmist said, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14).
The idea of being righteous has two expressions – in relation to how God sees us and in relation to how we see everything else. In the gospel itself we are taught that through faith we receive the righteousness of Christ as a covering for our sin: “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22). We are saved not through being righteous people in our own personal efforts, but by trusting in Christ, trusting in His sacrificial and substitutionary death for our salvation. God covers us with the righteousness of Christ and because of that, “There is no therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
But the righteousness spoken of in some places of scripture, such as the “Breastplate of Righteousness,” refers to the effect on our own hearts and minds of our faith in Christ. When we trust in Christ for salvation, God puts His Spirit in our hearts and minds, and He begins this work of transformation. We will begin to grow in personal righteousness, in knowing and in doing the will of God.
Elsewhere this is simply called integrity, living daily in the grace and character of God. This is what is spoke of in the verses above from Proverbs 10: to know the “way of the Lord” in our hearts, to walk daily in His will.
The Safest Place on Earth
The safest place on earth is always in the center of God’s will, in our thoughts and in our actions, whatever that will may be. Even if it means facing persecution, hardship, or even martyrdom, to be who God calls us to be in our thoughts and our actions is the safest place to stand.
The heart comes first, and until our hearts are surrendered to Him, we will misinterpret the blessings that He gives us. We will think of blessings only in terms of worldly success, popularity, health, wealth, happiness, etc. But if we think like the world, we will build our houses (or our lives) on sand. To build them on the Rock we need to value in our hearts, or worship in our hearts, the grace and character of Christ.
Only then can we see clearly to do His will. Knowing and doing His will is not a means to a selfish end — it is an end in itself. The true servant, the true righteous person, is content in simply doing the will of God, honoring Him in our hearts and in our choices.
I knew of an American pastor who God called to go into world missions. At first he and his wife agreed to do so, but then they changed their minds, feeling that it was all too dangerous. They decided that they would not take their children into these dangerous living conditions overseas. Yet a few weeks following this decision, the entire family was killed in an automobile accident in the United States. As tragic as that story is, and really the only ones who know the real truth as to what God was saying to them are the pastor and his wife, it illustrates the reality that dangers lie down every road of life.
The only security any of us really have is to know in our hearts we are where God wants us to be — thinking and doing His will. We do not know, nor can we every know, exactly what would have happened if we had taken another path. But God promises us that the most blessed life, the most peaceful heart, and the most fulfilling and satisfying existence on earth is to live daily in Him, in the integrity of our hearts and in the rightness of our choices.