By John David Hicks
“Blessed is the man…” (Psalms 1:1).
In the very first psalm we are taught the way to have God’s blessing in our lives. For the last twelve months or so, our worlds have turned upside down with this pandemic. Children are no longer in school, many of our friends may have become ill or even died, and many have lost jobs. It is easy in difficult times such as these to lose hope and feel that God has abandoned us–no longer do we have His blessing on our lives. But God’s blessing, even in the worst of times, comes to us in our hearts and souls. We know that God wants to bless us—and the psalmist here gives us the instructions.
There are three remarkable things in Psalm 1 about the man that God blesses.
FIRST, CHOOSE YOUR COMPANIONS CAREFULLY– Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather” (Ps. 1:1 amp). A companion is a person who is frequently in the company of, associates with, or accompanies you.
The people you associate with can either build you up or tear you down. Christian friends or family who are earnestly striving to serve the Lord can be a source of great encouragement. Another source of companionship and encouragement is books. Some of us have more time now to read literature and devotional books that will strengthen our Christian lives. Hopefully, our church family provides encouraging friends, but during the pandemic it is easy to feel alone and isolated. If you can’t attend worship services, watch it online. But also, reach out to others by phone or e-mail as an act of worship and fellowship. Jesus said that the world can tell if you are a Christian by your love. (John 13:34). God has made other people an essential part of our growth and calling as a Christian.
“I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matt. 18:19–20). We need Christian friends to help us on our journey to heaven. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24-25 amp).
SECOND, WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT, YOU WILL BECOME. “But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. (Ps. 1:2 amp). [See also Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 3:1-29; II Tim. 3:16.]
What you choose to think about and dwell on will make or break you as a person. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). The word “thinks” is about your thought process, what you think about on a daily basis, your habitual thought processes. You will do and act the way you think! Thus, God says, you become what you think.
“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth” (2 Tim. 2:15 amp).
The things you think about determine the quality of your life. Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Be mindful of what you are thinking. “Set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth” (Col. 3:2 amp). “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Phil. 4:8 nlt).
THIRD, YOUR COMPANIONS AND THINKING CAN PRODUCE GOD’S BLESSING AND A FRUITFUL LIFE. “And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]” (Ps. 1:3 amp). God’s blessing isn’t the absence of trouble, it is the strength to persevere in obedience in the midst of trouble. It isn’t the absence of difficult things or people, it is the power to walk in love in a broken world full of broken people. Blessing isn’t the absence of loss, but the revelation of the riches of grace, love, and authority we have eternally in Jesus Christ.
When you are “in Christ,” He is the source of all fruitfulness in your life. Jesus says that fruit is the direct result of whatever controls your heart (Matt. 15:19). “I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing” (John 15:5 amp).
Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 tells us of the fruit of the Spirit that God desires to produce in your life: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Jesus told His followers, “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], He may give it to you” (John 15:16 amp). You don’t develop fruit by seeking happiness in your relationships. You develop the fruit of the Spirit by living in difficult times and challenging adversity together.
Abiding occurs when believing becomes knowing and knowing becomes confidence in the empowering presence of God. “That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition]” (Col. 1:10 amp).
It was character that got you out of bed, it was commitment that moved you to action, and the fruit of self-control that enabled you to follow through. Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you choose to make. “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs” (Zep. 3:17 nlt).
Your relationships and having a heart for God produce God’s fruitful blessing. Let me pronounce the Lord’s blessing over you: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26).” May this fivefold blessing from God encourage your heart today: 1) His favor and protection over you. 2) His generosity to you. 3) His mercy and compassion toward you. 4) His approval of you. 5) His peace in you. ***