Guest author : Tony Fowler
My wife and I have been out walking again in the lovely spring sunshine. In addition to the usual celandines, gorse, flowering currant, daffodils and the early bluebells in Dunnikier and Ravenscraig Parks, we’ve enjoyed the profusion of wild primroses and the brilliant white flowers of the wood anemone at West Wemyss. We’ve listened to the calls of the cock pheasants establishing their territories, and even watched them posturing and fighting amongst themselves to gain the upper hand.
One day we were walking in Dunnikier, marvelling at the beautiful rhododendrons that were flowering. However, just a few days later, after bitter northerly winds and frosty nights, we discovered that the blooms had all been killed off. They were now brown and ugly. Not only was it a reminder of how quickly the Scottish climate can change, it also alerted us to the importance of the correct conditions for life to flourish. And that set me thinking about the conditions that enable our spiritual lives to blossom and become fruitful.
This all came back to mind as I was reading Psalm 1 yesterday morning. Listen to what the psalmist writes: ‘Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.’
Verse 1 makes clear that there’s company that’s best avoided, ideas we shouldn’t countenance, and attitudes we shouldn’t adopt. We need to be careful who we listen to, whose opinions we consider important, and whose example we follow. Some people will lead us astray and blight our witness to the Lord Jesus. That’s the negative side – the things from which we need to protect ourselves, if our lives are to be fruitful for the Lord.
Verse 2 stresses the positive: the importance of God’s Word to nourish our faith. Helpful though Sunday sermons can be, we need to feed ourselves from God’s Word daily. Thinking about it deeply, going over it in our minds, and applying it to the way we live day by day.
Verse 3 likens this process to the water that alone will keep a tree alive in a hot, dry climate like that of Israel. Its leaves will remain fresh and vibrant, and its fruit will come at the right time, if it soaks up the life-giving fluid.
We want our lives to influence those around us, don’t we? We hope that our love for the Lord Jesus will impact the people who know us best. As we share our testimony with friends and family; and, above all, as we live out our faith before them, they will see something of our gracious Lord Jesus in us. And, as the Holy Spirit works in and through us, they will be faced with the vital choice before every human being: to accept or reject the one and only Saviour that God has provided.