A college friend of mine often tried to persuade me to join her in partying, drinking and immorality. She said she was just “having fun,” and only wanted me to be a part of that fun. One night she invited me out to dinner, but instead of going to a restaurant, she took me to a bar where a group of her friends met up with us. I didn’t want to stay — and I told her so.

“Come on, Lisa,” she coaxed, “it won’t hurt anything.” I liked her, and didn’t want to offend her — but I stood my ground. “No,” I said, “If you won’t take me home, I’ll call someone to come and get me.” She finally relented, and took me home. I ultimately lost her friendship, but today I am grateful to be living under the blessing of God. I am sad to say that my former friend spent a number of years suffering because of unwise decisions she made in pursuit of “fun.”

The Bible has much to say about the sinful life versus the godly life — especially in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is a practical book full of wisdom for every day living. And it clearly shows that it pays to live a godly, righteous life. In fact, the wisdom of Proverbs could have been directly applied to my situation in college, and to many situations after: “My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. If they say ‘Come along with us…’ do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood.” (Proverbs 1:10, 15–16 NIV)

You and I have to be strong in the face of temptation — and make no mistake, we have an enemy, Satan, who tries to get us to fall into his sugar-coated trap. He never shows us the ugly outcome of disobeying God; he only tries to lure us with pretty pictures of sin’s temporary pleasure. His motive may be hidden, but it is sure: he means to steal, to kill and destroy. But God means to give us life! You see, God knows what is best for us. He loves us, and doesn’t want us to live in darkness or despair. He has a better plan for our lives — a bright future and a hope.

The person who lives a godly, righteous life is not a perfect person who never sins. No, he or she is simply someone who serves the Lord, seeking to do His will and obey His word. The righteous person feels remorse when he sins. He repents, and asks for God’s forgiveness, quickly turning around and getting back on the right path — because he knows that the righteous life is the path to blessing. Proverbs 4:18 says “The path of righteousness is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” (NIV) In other words, when you and I serve Jesus and follow Him, our path gets brighter and brighter! When we honor God, His blessing will be upon our children and our home.

I thank God daily that my parents chose life and blessing for our family. They taught us how to live a godly life. They showed us how to honor God and put Him first in our lives, and because of that, we saw the blessing of God. We witnessed His healing power. We experienced His protection. We knew financial well-being. We had peace in our home — and we even had fun in our home! We lived a supernatural life because the blessing of the Lord was on our home — and today, each of our families can say the very same thing.

If you are a parent, choose life today for your family by obeying God and honoring Him in your decisions. Declare like Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” Train your children in faithfulness and be faithful yourselves. When you do, you will live under the blessing of God. Single men and women, choose to live a pure life before the Lord. Choose to obey Him and resist the lure of a godless culture. When you do, you will live under the blessing of God.

Remember, “He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.” (Proverbs 2:7–8, NIV)