devotionals, Uncategorized

A Fruitful Tree

This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2020 Bible Reading Calendar.

How happy is the one… [whose] delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither… ~ Psalm 1:1-3

Bearing fruit is an important metaphor in Scripture. In John 15, Jesus talks about how we only bear fruit if we remain in him and if we don’t bear fruit then we will find ourselves on the outside looking in when it comes to God’s Kingdom.

Fruit bearing is about productivity. But what kind of productivity? If we take Paul’s teachings from Galatians 5 as instructive, then the fruit the Christian life is to be primarily concerned about, the fruit of the Spirit, is growth in Christ-like character.

This is what we know, theologically, as sanctification. God saves us and God changes us. His Spirit is at work within us, transforming us to be more like Jesus, to be more like the men and women God intended for us to be before the fall into sin.

Where does this fruit of character come from?

Psalm 1 tells us that God’s word shapes this fruit in our lives. This should not surprise us, as Jesus also linked abiding in him to his word abiding in us (John 15:7).

What we need to grow in spiritual fruit is a regular, fruitful (if you will) intake of Scripture. Psalm 1 does not simply speak of reading the Bible or hearing God’s word read, both of which are important to our spiritual formation. The psalm speaks of delighting in the word, meditating on it day and night.

Through the Bible plans have value and I think every Christian, as soon as they are able, should read though the whole Bible in a year at least once; but delighting and meditating are more than reading through a plan. It is thinking deeply on God’s word, taking joy in the word, and treasuring God’s word in our hearts (Psalm 119:10).

Some practical ways we can do this include: Praying through God’s word by reading a verse or two and speaking to God what comes to mind; journaling our thoughts on God’s word; memorizing Scripture; taking a moment to think about what we’ve read and how it applies; or talking to another person about what we’ve read.

Such a list is not exhaustive and there are more ways to dwell deeply on God’s word. However we choose, we need to reach deep into the streams so that we might grow to be like a firmly rooted tree, fruitful in every season of life.

All Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

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