[This blog post is part of a series. Read the next post here.]
In the world of computer hacking, there are terms, language “icons” if you will, for those who hack for a good cause, those who hack for selfish or evil causes, and even one for the hackers you aren’t really sure whose side they are on. These iconic images are borrowed from old-fashioned spaghetti westerns. The good hackers are called white hats, selfish or bad hackers are called black hats, and the ones who were not quite sure about are called gray hats. In the old western films, the sheriff and the good guys wore white hats, the bad guys wore black hats, and the characters who could be on either side would wear gray hats.
Ok, so that’s great, but what do computer hacking and hat colors have to do with us? Well, are we really brave enough to ask which hat we wear? Better yet, are we willing to let our assumption of what hat we wear be challenged by God? I encourage you to let this impact you and maybe re-frame what you believe about yourself. I have found that most people like to believe they are a white hat, even when they know what they are doing is wrong.
Read Psalm 1. In just six simple verses God gives a pretty clear picture, doesn’t He?
What happens to the person on the path with the wicked? There is a rush with crossing lines, getting away with something selfish, or breaking a rule. It feels good, it lures us deeper, and we go from rabbit trailing down that path to standing in a broken habit. We get stuck in a self-indulgent or rebellious sin that we let become part of experience, that we start to WANT as a part of our experience. And after we stop to stand, it’s not long until we sit down; we become unmovable, convinced we have a right to live this way, and we will mock or attack or tear down anyone who tries to show us anything different.
This is the gray hat becoming black. Notice there is only one direction this leads. God doesn’t see gray as a hat we put on or take off. It is a hook that draws us away from Him and eventually leads to denying Him and dismissing His ways.
The person blessed by God doesn't take that path. They meditate on God's Word both day and night. The Hebrew word used for “meditate” in Psalm 1 is a word picture of a person “muttering under their breath.” It’s meant to convey the idea that God’s Word is always being repeated, reflected upon, and applied to their daily life circumstances. The Jewish idea of “learning the text” wasn’t so much about memorizing it just to repeat it. They memorized it to make it so much a part of them that their every decision was guided by God’s teachings and commands. They didn't have to run and check their Scriptures to see how God would want them to handle a situation; they already knew, because they knew the text.
This is the white hat: continuously learning and repeating the Word of God so that every action they take is in line with God’s will. This is the choice we are presented in Psalm 1.
So ask yourself: am I a mutterer, or a mocker? Do I live every day passionately seeking how God’s Word would guide me in each moment? Or am I spiraling down the path of the world?
Check out next week's blog post for more from Psalm 1 and to better see which hat you may be wearing.
by Nathan Buck
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