Sunday, September 18, 2005

A good start

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on His law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
And whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

(Psalm 1)

I shot this the other day along the creek near my house, and I thought it illustrated this Psalm pretty well. This tree is planted next to a stream of water, and it's leaf doesn't wither (at least not until autumn, when it sheds all of them). But unlike this tree, the psalm talks about us having something to do with our own spiritual health. We have to choose what we will listen to.

Have you ever encountered a true mocker -- I mean someone who is a real mocker, who derides someone else in a way that offends your sense of decency. Someone who is a scoffer, who can find the bad in anything? Or someone scornful, someone throwing shame on everyone and everything around them? Who would want to be like that?

But the choice indicated in this psalm is pretty clear -- either you are one or the other. Either you delight in being mocking, scornful, and sinful, or you delight in the law of the LORD. And it seems like we have to choose. One or the other.

But there is another scripture, which says "apart from me you can do nothing," (Jn 15:5). So that leads me to think that even the desire to do what is right is because God wants me to want that. Just as a branch can't produce it's own fruit, and a tree can't produce it's own flowers without being attached to the root system, so we have to be attached to God through Christ.

But what does that look like? How do we stay attached to the Life of Christ in us? Is it something we do, something that He does or is it a combination of both? This tree doesn't have to think about being attached next to the creek. It just is. But we are not trees, we are humans created in God's image, and we can choose. So what do you think? Where does the Life come from and how do we get it daily?

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