Happy New Year! With the new year comes the thought of a fresh start and the possibilities that new opportunities will bring. Do you want to be blessed in 2023? No matter what this year has in store for us, we can live with joy and blessedness that transcends our circumstances. Psalm 1:1-3 says:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
We often associate blessing with material benefits such as health, wealth, and prosperity. The traditional New Year’s Day meal is black eyed peas, greens, and cornbread, which supposedly brings good luck for the year ahead. However, the real key to blessing is the right response to God’s Word. The person who delights in the law of God rather than follows the counsel of the age is blessed indeed. The blessed man delights in the Word and meditates upon it both day and night. These two things–delighting and meditating–always go together. Whatever we truly enjoy, we will think upon and pursue. Whatever delights us always captures our attention, and it will dominate our thought life. When we delight in the Lord and in His Word, our mind is filled with His truth and captivated by His glory.
The psalmist uses the illustration of a firmly planted tree to describe the person who meditates on the Word of God day and night. The most important part of a tree is its hidden root system that draws up water and nourishment. Because the tree is planted by streams of water, its roots go deeper to soak in the much needed nutrients. As a result, it brings forth fruit in its season and its leaves do not wither. The person who loves God’s Word is a lot like that. We will bear fruit when we have a healthy root system that digs deep into the Word. Meditating on Scripture ‘day and night’ is the practice of taking it in and thinking about it throughout the day, applying it to every situation of life so that it determines our worldview. It is a picture of what it means to ‘abide’ in Christ. In John 15:4-7, Jesus said:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the brach cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Jesus said that we will bear fruit only as we intentionally abide in Him and His Word. This doesn’t mean that it will always be easy, however. Think of it this way: which is easier–to make your bed when you get up in the morning, or to leave it unmade? Which is easier–to wash and wax your car, or leave it dirty? The easiest choices in life always reflect the Second Law of Thermodynamics which says that processes tend toward disorder over time without a fresh infusion of energy. Things wind down and wear out over time. If we fail to delight in God’s Word and meditate on it, we will drift toward spiritual disorder.
We must remember that the fruit of the Christian life is the result of the life of Christ flowing in and through us. It is tragic when a believer neglects his or her root system and begins to wither. If we think that our circumstances this year will determine our happiness and joy, we will be sadly mistaken. No matter what the year ahead has in store for us, we can make strides in our faith and be fruitful. Do you want to be truly blessed in 2023? If so, get in the Word today, abide in Christ, and stay in His Word until His Word gets into you.
For a daily Bible reading plan in 2023, follow the link: