Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24 – Success in everything we attempt

He is like a tree planted by flowing streams; it yields its fruit at the proper time, and its leaves never fall off. He succeeds in everything he attempts.   (Psalm 1:3  NET)

This psalm introduces the entire Book of Psalms, setting the tone for how we should live. Its theme is that there are two paths in life, righteousness and wickedness, prosperity and destruction. A simple concept, but one that we have to continually remind ourselves of. Speaking about the wicked in the beginning of the psalm, it refers to increasing levels of contact — walking with them, standing among them, sitting with them. We cannot avoid contact with the wicked, with sinners or with scoffers, even if we lived in a monastery, and God’s will is not for us to hide from society. God’s advice is for us to live in the world but not allow ourselves to be affected by it.

A tree planted by a flowing stream might evoke images of a sturdy sycamore tree by a country stream surrounded by greenery, but what was probably envisioned by the author of this psalm would be a sturdy date palm, producing fruit and shade at an oasis in the desert. When drought, hunger, and heat is all around, the oasis offers food, water, and shade. This is what God wants for us. Our life on earth should be fruitful, stable, and pleasant. Though problems come, we don’t just weather them, we thrive and offer hope and shelter for anyone around us. A thriving palm tree by an oasis would be an exception in the desert and would be seen at a distance, just what God wants for us.

When we stay faithful to God we WILL bear fruit… at the proper time. We don’t bear fruit constantly because it takes time and effort to produce, but there is a season to produce fruit. Like Jesus’ parable about the vine, and the parable about the fig tree that had not produced fruit for three years, as God’s children we are expected to bear fruit. It is our mission in life, and our way of bringing shame to the devil.

When this verse says that we will succeed at everything we attempt, this means finances, marriage, career, family, spirituality, salvation… everything. Obviously we will encounter hardships and even failures (as Jesus did) but in the end we will turn every potential failure into success. And more, the process of working our way through the hardships will teach us valuable lessons about trust and faith that will only deepen our relationship with God. Even the devil’s attacks will boomerang back on him.

Get busy putting down those roots into the pure, clean water of God’s Spirit.

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