Let me start by saying “you’re wrong” to those of you who, based on the title, guessed that my goal for this new year is to leave. You’re very funny though. Actually, there is no hidden meaning in the title and I’m not even necessarily trying to be clever. I’m very serious. After spending some time this morning trying to decide what my list of resolutions or goals for the new year might look like, I’ve decided I have only one. My one and only goal for this new year is to simply be like a tree. Not just any tree though. I want to be like the kind of tree the psalmist describes in Psalm 1.
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.
To be like this tree, I first need to be like the “He” that is referenced here. The first two verses of Psalm 1 tell me that “he” refers to a man who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night. A man who chooses to delight and meditate on the law of the Lord rather than walking in the counsel of the wicked or standing in the way of sinners or sitting in the seat of scoffers.
Jeremiah also offers a perspective on this man and provides another level of insight into what it looks and feels like to be like a tree.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.
So, how do I effectively pursue my goal of being like a tree planted by streams of water? My role is actually pretty simple and yet incredibly profound. It is not driven by feelings, trends or fads. It starts with a decision. It starts with a choice.
I choose to delight in God’s word and to meditate on it day and night. I choose to not walk in the counsel of the wicked and to not stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of scoffers. And by choosing to regularly submit myself to study and prayer, I trust that by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, my ability to delight in His law will continue to increase. And that is where the blessing resides; in the ability to delight in His word.
The thing I love about playing the role of the tree is that I don’t need to worry about yielding fruit or keeping my leaves from withering through my own effort or might. I just need to be planted and stay planted near the streams of water. Living water that nourishes my soul and transforms my heart and mind. And as I remain planted and continue to abide in Christ, a harvest of righteousness will be reaped and much fruit will be borne that blesses others and brings much glory to the Lord Jesus.
Although my primary motivation behind my goal for 2015 is to glorify the Lord Jesus and to serve His church, I also am aware of (and have previously experienced) the personal blessings of being like a tree. Jeremiah spoke to some of them. Specifically, not fearing when heat comes and not being anxious in the year of drought.
The person who is like a tree planted by streams of water is able to persevere and be fruitful even during trials, affliction or difficult circumstances. A tree, with it’s roots sent deep near a continual stream of live-giving water is solid, stable and steady despite how stormy it is above ground.
That is my desire for 2015. That I would enjoy an even greater delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night. That I would sink my roots deeper into the truth and reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That I would abide in Christ and drink deeply of His living water. That I would avail myself of the power of the Holy Spirit and live a life worthy of my calling. That I would not grow anxious or weary during times of difficulty but rather that I would draw near to God and hold fast to the Word of truth.
And finally, my greatest desire is that, in all things, I would bring much glory to God for His namesake. Amen.