Summary: Growth comes in our lives as we meditate on God’s word.
GOD, WATER AND LIFE
OCTOBER 3, 2004
Psalm 1 “Roots and Leaves”
The desert is abundant with life, but there is a stark contrast between plants that are near water and plants that are in the drier parts of the landscape. Those plants near the water display abundant growth. Those plants that are near the water display abundant growth, while those plants without water are stunted and withered.
God’s people naturally desire to be like healthy, fruitful plants. We want to experience the heights and depths of the abundant life that is ours through Jesus Christ. The question before us is, “How does this happen?” Psalm 1 is instructive and answers our question.
BE WITH GOD’S PEOPLE
The psalm begins by telling us where God’s people should not be. We should not be with the wicked, the sinners, and the mockers. If we are not with them, then whom will we be with? We will be with God’s people. Streams of water flow in the midst of God’s people—in the Church.
Small groups provide and opportunity for Christians to gather together for fellowship and the study of God’s Word. Authentic community is difficult to experience in a society that builds cement wall fences, and expects us to work long hours in addition to community long distances. The experience of daily life can dry us out unless we make the time to gather with brothers and sisters in Christ and experience the waters of Christian fellowship.
Worship is another opportunity to be with God’s people. There are many people who say that they can have a vibrant relationship with God apart from the Church, but they are not reflecting the teachings of Scripture. Relationship with God was always lived out in relationship with God’s people. There are instances where the Church has acted inappropriately, judgmentally, hypocritically, and painfully. Our natural reaction is to distance ourselves from the Church. We may separate ourselves from the institution, but we cannot have a dynamic Christian life and be separated from other Christians in fellowship and worship. We experience the waters of life in Christian worship.
Using our gifts and talents serving others with our brothers and sisters in Christ is another way that we are able to soak up the water of life and grow. Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity calls it the “Theology of the Hammer.” Spiritual, personal growth takes place when we work to help others.
TAKE DELIGHT IN GOD’S WORD
God’s people are exhorted by the psalmist to “Take delight in the law of the Lord (or Word of God) and on God’s love meditate day and night.” Some sects of Jews took this literally and clothed themselves with phylacteries on their heads and arms that contained Scripture and reminded them to meditate on it.
Personal, private devotions is one way that we delight in the Word of God and meditate on it. Finding fifteen or twenty minutes of time in our daily schedule to sit down, study the Bible, read a devotional and pray is a vital part of a healthy Christian life.
Making time for studying God’s Word with other Christians is important, also. We stress that our children need to be educated, but often forget that we never stop learning as disciples of Christ. We frequently make room in our schedules to take a class at the local community college, but we never consider developing a deeper understanding of God’s Word. Study in the fellowship of others is an important way for us to grow and experience the abundant life that is ours in Jesus Christ.
GOD GIVES THE GROWTH
It is important to notice how Christian growth takes place. It does not occur through the accumulation of outside material. We don’t get more joy by looking for enjoyable things outside of us. We don’t become more peaceful by making sure that everything in our lives is secure and in order. Growth comes from within.
God provides the growth. When we have God’s life flowing through us, nurturing and sustaining us, we will grow. We will grow in the fruitfulness of our lives. We will grow in the image of God.
There are instances of plants thriving in the presence of benign neglect. Usually this does not happen, though. Plants need to be care for; notice has to be made as to whether or not they have enough water. They need to be watered at appropriate times.
We need to look at our lives in a similar way. Do we have the vibrant growth and the extensive root structure that promotes health and life?
God always invites us to come to the water, to experience the life that is ours because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and to grow in God’s image.