As a teenager, I was tall and skinny. Along with that, I slouched a lot, so my parents would always remind me to walk straight, to stand straight, and to sit straight so it didn’t affect my posture permanently. They knew slouching was not good for my appearance and it would cause back problems later on in life if I continued that habit.
We don’t always connect this,
but the same goes for spiritual posture.
What is spiritual posture, you ask? The first Psalm describes it well:
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. | Psalm 1
It is interesting in the first verse that David describes all three forms of spiritual posture. He describes walking, standing, and sitting—in that order. There is a significance to that, as it shows a gradual progression of sin. Think about it in terms of going shopping for clothes. There is a significant difference between window shopping, going into the store to pick out clothes, and actually trying them on with the intent to purchase.
Same goes for sin.
When we are tempted by a situation, we make a conscious choice to walk in that direction if we choose to fall to that temptation.
The Bible gives us many verses of clear direction to do the opposite:
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. | 2 Timothy 2:22
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. | 1 Corinthians 6:18
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. |1 Corinthians 10:14
In each of these examples, God uses a specific word when we are tempted to walk toward sin. He tells us to turn around and FLEE! Flee literally means to run away from a place or situation of danger.
That is exactly what sin is:
a situation of danger.
What is so dangerous about a single instance of sin? We may not think much about it, but it causes gradual distancing from God as we yield to it. One instance turns into a few, which then turns into a habit, which then turns into an addiction. That’s the same progression David describes in Psalm 1:1.
Our spiritual (lack of) posture by
walking toward sin turns into standing
in the midst of sin when not addressed.
Standing in sin means to allow ourselves to be in the midst of it without doing anything to resist. This is a direct movement from walking to now being surrounded by it.
The Bible tells us, in contrast, how we should stand when faced with sin:
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. | Ephesians 6:11
Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. | 1 Corinthians 15:58
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. | 1 Corinthians 16:13
In these verses, we are told to stand firm against the devil, to be steadfast/immovable, and to stand firm in our faith.
Recently, with my ACL surgery, I realized how much I took my legs for granted. Soon after my surgery, I couldn’t walk—much less even stand, since I couldn’t bear weight on my legs. My legs are my foundation and, in order to stand or walk, it is absolutely essential they be strong. Same goes for standing firm against sin. It requires that we have the spiritual foundation of the Word and constant prayer to be able to stand against the devil.
Last, but not least, is sitting in the midst of sin. What does that mean?
Sitting involves complete consuming,
engulfing, and immersing into temptation.
It is the closest to actually turning away from God and walking toward sinful living. It is also the most dangerous, as there is the conscious choice not only to turn from God and His Word but also to fully embrace a sinful way of life. The Bible tells us that we should not sit in the seat of the scornful but rather overcome sin so that we can sit with Christ on His throne!
He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. | Revelation 3:21
That is where we want to ultimately be!
Any passing pleasure of sin is so insignificant to what God has promised to those who are faithful. We have so much to look forward to, to give it up to sin!
Paul describes it best in 1 Timothy:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. | 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Looking at all these aspects of spiritual posture, it shows the importance of fleeing from temptation, standing firm in our faith, and looking forward to sitting with Christ on His throne. When we practice these ways of godly living, we can say along with Paul that we have (consistently) fought the good fight, (persevered and) finished the race, and (diligently) kept the faith!