March 18, 2010

The Effects of Your Walk with God

Overall, people are concerned about the state, or condition of their physical, mental, emotional and even financial well-being of their lives. But how many people really take the time to examine closely what the state of their lives are with God? I would guess by saying, not too many.

Even though He knows the true condition of our walk with Him, whether it is healthy or not, it is as important to know for ourselves if it is the same perspective as God's. We can deceive others by saying, "me and the big guy upstairs are tight," but the truth of the matter is, you're more like an empty, plastic bag blowing in the wind.

I have had the gracious opportunity to lead the youth group bible study at First Assembly of God, for the past 4 weeks and minister to these young men that attend.

As I prepare and study for my time with them, I have learned a lot more about the text of Scripture that we focus on each week and I hope, because these are teenage boys, that some small piece of what they hear each week begins to take hold of their lives and that by hearing the Word of God, their faith grows a little more than what it was that day.

Last week, we looked at Psalm 1:1-2 and discovered the type of counsel from God that is a blessing to a man and the danger against failing into a steady, yet increasingly sinful decline of ungodly people.

This week, Psalm 1:3-4 shows us the effects of one that has chosen to walk with God, compared to someone that is not walking with God.

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 ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Psalm 1:3-4.
Having our lives be a steady walk with God, daily listening to Him through reading and studying His Word is not useless activity. No, it is extremely beneficial and it is pleasing to God too!

Physical Fruitfulness
God said that our lives, if we are planted like a tree, in His Word are to be fruitful, healthy and prosperous and the first image of a place that looks like that is in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2). Unfortunately, we can't go back to the Garden of Eden, but our lives can be a reflection of it.

However, a type of physical fruit that can become an evidence of our lives with God, is righteousness. This is a form of phyiscal fruit that matures slowly and pleases God too and it comes only from Jesus Christ through the new birth and not from ourselves (John 3:3-7; Philippians 3:9).

Spiritual Fruitfulness
Some people find reading the Bible is boring or even burdensome to carry, regardless of its size. Many people claim to know what is written in the Bible, but they only know portions of it and not the full context of Scripture.

The Apostle Paul said to those new Colossian Christians that he and others were praying for their increased knowledge and understanding of the Lord and His will, reminding them of the worthiness of their walk with Christ in their lives and the blessing it was to be fruitful in becoming more knowledgeable of God (Colossians 1:9-10).

God is pleased when we increasingly know Him through His Word.

The only way to experience such fruitful knowledge of God however, is to be diligently reading and studying the Bible, meditating/studying it on a daily basis.

Prosperous/Productive Fruitfulness
Many people think that because God says that a man shall prosper in whatever he does, they instantly think that this implies an increased form of material or financial gain.

Let me challenge your thinking with this regarding the word prosper.

The Hebrew word for prosper is tsâlach צלח (tsaw-lakh'), which meas to push forward, in various senses (literally or figuratively, transitively or intransitively): - break out, come (mightily), go over, be good, be profitable. (The word profitable here in this definition refers more to beneficial use than financial increase.)

  • Our prosperity should be evident through our lives, living abundantly in the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
  • Our prosperity should be evident through our lives as we are used in the Gifts of the Spirit that He wills for us (1 Corinthians 12).
  • Our prosperity should be evident through our lives as we serve God in one of the offices of ministry that He has called us to (Ephesians 4:11-12).
That is one effectual evidence of God's Word becoming a reality in the life of a believer as they walk with God. Fruitfulness physically, spiritually and in beneficial, productive use (prosperity).

Verse 4, of Psalm 1 says, "The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away."

The ungodly man is one uninfluenced by God. The word ungodly in Hebrew is רשעים reshaim, from רשע rasha, which simply describes the man or woman that does not have God in them and who is also without God in the world. This was part of last week's bible study, which you can read by clicking here.

What does this really describe, an ungodly person that is like chaff? Chaff is dried leaves, or chopped straw. These leaves once had a vibrant life, but they became separated from the branch they were attached to and soon dried up and died. Now as dry leaves or chopped straw, this was used at the time crops were to be harvested, where the chaff was separated from the crops. The crops were gathered for use and the chaff was often burned (Exodus 15:7).

The ungodly person, the one who is like chaff and without God has a terrifying eternal consequence that will be their destruction and display how powerless they are against God.

Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 5:24, KJV.

Because they despised the word of the Holy One of Israel, Jesus Christ.

This should not be ignored because it was written in the Old Testament. Chaff is described as an abortive figure of wickedness, by Jesus in the New Testament saying, "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3:12, KJV.

The commentary of Jamieson, Faussett & Brown says that chaff is empty, worthless professors of religion, void of all solid religious principle and character.

Those lives that claim to be filled of God are exactly as JFB describes. Sadly, they will be cast into hell, the place of unquenchable fire for all of eternity, yet God, still does not anyone to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

Some questions to consider in evaluating your walk with God:

How does your life at this present time compare to Psalm 1:3-4?

Which aspect is evident in your life right now? Fruitfulness or Chaff?

In order to experience the fruitful blessing of God in your life, what changes are you willing to make and how will those changes be implemented?

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