The Bible tells us in Psalm 1, those who delight in the law of the LORD (Christians) are likened to trees planted along the riverbank. As evidence of the benefit of their location, they bear fruit every season, their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. Why?
Psalm 1: 1 - 3 (New King James Version)
1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
The riverbank obviously supplies the water and nourishment that the trees need to grow and bear fruit. The law of the LORD (the Word of God) similarly provides the kind of nourishment Christians need to grow in their understanding of God and to bear godly fruit demonstrated by godly character and in soul-winning!
This brings to mind a scripture that describes the way of a true Christian/believer as a shining light that shines brighter and brighter.
Proverbs 4:18 (King James Version)
But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
God's people are not meant to be static or barren, they are meant to grow, make progress, and bear fruit.
Would you like to be consistent in your Christian journey (fresh leaves all year round), without ups and downs? Would you like to bear fruit that lasts? Then stay planted by the riverbank. If trees are uprooted from the riverbank and planted elsewhere, they most likely won’t do as well as they did before they were moved. They won’t receive the needed nourishment, and will, therefore, be stunted in growth, bear little to no fruit, and eventually die.
This condition will be evident in Christians who don’t meditate on the Word of God day and night. How are you doing? Are you meditating as you should? The Word transforms our hearts and minds, gradually creating in us the image of our Lord Jesus. As the Word says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
Haphazardly reading the Word is not helpful; we need to read it prayerfully and meditate on it studiously. Let’s not have the attitude of checking off "studying the Bible" like an item off our to-do list. To get the full benefit of studying the Word of God, it should be studied prayerfully with an openness to hear from God.
If we don’t stay planted by the riverbank, we will follow the way of the world, and instead of having a godly influence on the world around us, the world will have an influence on us. It is not enough to say you are a Christian, you should be like Jesus and you can only achieve this by studying the Word of God regularly, and obeying the Word of God.
Jesus said in John 15 verses 7 - 8: "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." (New King James Version)
We have to live like Jesus. There has to be a difference in our responses to situations, our speech, the way we treat people, and our way of life. If people don’t see a difference in us, then there is something wrong with our profession. Either we are not meditating on the Word or we’ve chosen to willingly disobey God. That disobedience is proof that we don’t love the Lord, and if we don’t love the Lord, we are really not Christians at all (see 1 John 3:7-10; Matthew 3:8).
There are consequences for not bearing good fruit as Christians. The Lord said “Even now the axe of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:10).
The Bible labels a non-Christian as wicked, so either we are Christians or wicked; there’s no neutral ground. We have to be one or the other. The Psalmist warns the wicked, “They [the wicked] will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly…the path of the wicked leads to destruction” (Ps 1:5-6).
If you claim to be a Christian, please stay planted by the riverbank; be nourished and be fruitful. God admonished Joshua after the death of Moses, “Study this book of instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” (Joshua 1:8). As we walk faithfully with the Lord, He promises to bless us with success in all we do.
Let’s encourage each other and pray for one another to walk faithfully with our God. That will include sharing our difficulties, trials, and victories with one another. Christians are a community of people, just like in the early church. We belong to the Body of Christ. Let’s do life together and be a blessing to one another!
About the Author
Pearl Nsiah-Kumi is on a mission to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with unbelievers worldwide while providing tools of evangelism for Christians. In her books she writes poems, short articles, and Bible studies. She retired after 35 years of service as a neonatal nurse in Maryland, USA. She enjoys public speaking and being Grandma to her four grandchildren.