What does the Bible say about thriving in the Christian life?
Dec 18th, 2011 / Salt and Light
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1–3—NKJV)
It is fitting that the first word introducing the Psalms is the word “Blessed.” The book of Psalms is known for representing the ups and downs of the godly life. From one chapter to another you can revel in the extreme heights of extolling the excellencies of God or you can experience the dank depths of despair brought on by grievous enemies harassing the godly soul. You can measure the far extremities of raw human experience because of death or restless waiting upon God, and you can research the most exquisite peace found in resting one’s faith fully upon the goodness and faithfulness of God. Blessedness is the new natural state of the believer who has come to salvation in Christ through His blood.
A casual walk through this first psalm presents the reader with practical guidelines for thriving in godly living. Observe that thriving is attainable by mere mortals, “Blessed is the man.” It is ordinary men who are personally claimed by God in order to pour out His love upon them as a testament of His grace. Are you striving to be the blessed man?
Verse one teaches that he who would be godly must recognize that there is evil in this world and he must recognize it everywhere it appears. All evil stands judged and sentenced for what it is—ungodly, sin, and scornful. Since its sentence has already been pronounced, the believer must be on guard against it. Sin, once recognized, must be studiously shunned rather than increasingly accommodated in the blessed man’s life. Verse two identifies the key to thriving in the blessed life. The key to blessedness is the Word of God. The Bible is, after all, how a common man comes into the realm of blessedness for “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
There are two ways the godly man handles the Word. First, he handles it with delight. He treasures it, for it reveals God to him; he invests time in understanding it; he yields happily to its dictates; he applies it to his daily outlook and walk; and he rejoices over its truth everywhere he meets it, as it gains traction in his life.
Second, he handles it with meditation, day and night. If you would be a blessed man under God’s care and recognize evil so that you may shun it, then you must not stray from saturating yourself in the Bible’s nourishment. Meditating is setting your mind upon it, ruminating on it, talking with your conscience while pondering it, distilling its practicality, and cherishing the wisdom of its Author.
The Psalmist illustrates how this blessedness works in verse three. The blessed man will benefit from his time in the Word like a tree benefits by being transplanted by the gardener beside rivers of water. No matter how arid the climate, how abusive the wind, or how oppressive the sun, the tree is able to soak up more water from sources above and below the ground in order to replenish and refresh both day and night. In the seasonable time the healthy tree will produce fruit. The leaves will show no evidence of shriveling or withering in the heat of the day. With no lack, there is only prospering maturity and usefulness. What a blessed position for a tree! The Lord knows the way of the righteous! (Verse 6) Now you know it. Handle the Word of God faithfully and steep yourself in it constantly. Thrive in righteousness and truth. Trust and obey.