Why is the Christian life worth it? Why is Jesus worth following?
Because “Blessed [happy] 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; But his delight is in the law of hte Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 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.” (Psalm 1: 1-3).
A happy person is someone who delights in God’s word. By abiding in His word, and His words abiding in them, the righteous are constantly watered by His Spirit, which quenches their heart thirst and produces the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It’s not that storms don’t come (the Christian life has its share of trials and temptations), but those who are rooted in the Word of God cling to the promises of God in faith, and thus those fruits of the Spirit always abound.
In fact, the original Hebrew says that such a person is like a tree “transplanted by canals of water.” In other words, God’s grace (through the death of Jesus on the cross) takes a tree in a dry land and transplants it where He can re-route the living streams and direct a constant flow that will nourish the tree. The righteous do not begin by being righteous, but are made righteous by God’s initiative. We cannot transplant ourselves, but He has designed a way for us to have eternal life through the sacrifice of His Son and the work of the Spirit.
But disregarding this divine Providence, many seek happiness in the wrong places, first by mingling with ungodly friends, then placing themselves in temptation’s way, then finally settling with those who mock spiritual things. They progress from thinking ungodly thoughts, then living an ungodly lifestyle, and finally rejecting God in their words and beliefs.
The ungodly cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit, try as they might, and though temporary pleasures seem to promise love, joy, peace, etc. they are transitory illusions; “The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away” (v 4).
The tree, while it seems bound to one location, is truly free to bear fruit and flourish, while the chaff, which seems free, is actually a slave to the whimsical wind. The ungodly experience a roller coaster of thoughts, feelings, and beliefs because they have no root and are subject to the tides of circumstances and the opinions of others.
At the end, “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (v 5-6).
It is not by chance that we are transplanted in such an advantageous setting (with godly influences to help us accept eternal life with Jesus); we must reach out and grab the hand of God who reaches out to us.
We must respond to the divine initiative by wanting to know God in return; this heart hunger will be satisfied as we meditate day and night on who He is as revealed in Scriptures. Our delight will be in Jesus, and we will know that He IS worth it.
Father God, I am tired of being blown around. I want to be planted in Your grace! Lord, I want to know You more – deep within my heart, I want to love You more than anything or anyone else. I choose now not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor to stand in the path of sinners, nor to sit in the seat of the scornful; I choose to delight in and meditate on Your word today. By Jesus’ love and in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.