(Psalm 1:1-3) 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.
Psalm 1 describes the prosperity of the godly man; a man who continually plants the the word of God within himself (look at Psalm 119:9-12). He also plants himself in the soil of a life of prayer and loving obedience to the word of God. As the godly man is planted in this soil, He taps into the fullness of the Holy Spirit, from which He prospers spirit, soil and body. This truth is indisputable.
Yet let the godly man, sow to his flesh a little, he will grow weaker in resolve and open himself up to the possibility of sowing to his flesh a little more. Should this continue, and even though he may still seek to plant within himself the word of God (even attempting to continue in prayer), he will find he is now planted in the bitter soil of flesh pleasing. This truth is also indisputable
Once we have moved into the bitter soil, loving obedience in the joy of our faith, becomes obligation. The adventure of following our Savior’s example in a godly and righteous life (powered by the Holy Spirit), becomes carnal religiosity because “it’s the right thing to do”. Should this grow over any sustained period of time, we will grow less aware of the corruption creeping through our life of faith. Therein, the great risk is not only damaging our relationship to Jesus and our Christian witness, but tainting the good fruit we have produced; fruit which can begin to taste worldly rather than sweet like life giving fruit of Christ (Galatians 5:22).
Followers have to understand that the godly are “like trees planted by rivers of water”, when sowing to the Spirit of God. Yet when sowing to our flesh, we see how we are unlike “trees”; trees have no feet and no choice as to where they plant themselves.
It is for this reason the Holy Spirit admonishes in to “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16) and warns us in Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will reap of the Spirit everlasting life“.
Men of God (and yes woman of God as well) need to discipline themselves to be “as trees planted by rivers of water”, rather than to use our feet to walk in the flesh a little here and there, while living for Christ “most of the time”. That we can do this with little effect on our relationship to God, is a lie from the Satan himself; we have zero compatibility with anything that is produced by the world, the flesh or the devil. Therefore, the righteous in Christ should never justify even a little compromise, whether overtly sinful or not (read I Corinthians 6:12-15, 10:20-23).
When we justify “a little bit” of worldly compromise, whether in practice, thinking, emotional response, religiosity, preference pleasing, or even recreation and rest, we behave like “trees” with feet; whereby we pick ourselves up out of the good soil of God’s the word, prayer and practice (“day and night”), for the soil of worldliness (with its promises and passing pleasures). The soil of worldliness is like a field where chemicals have seeped into the soil and ground water, in which the fruit begins to taste like the tainted soil the tree is planted in.
How does this manifest in the lives of godly men? It manifests not only in their own diminishing spiritual effectiveness and power, but in the lives of those who partake of their lives. I am referring to those whom godly men disciple, whether wives, children, other believers, friends or neighbors. To observe corruption in others, brought on by our sowing to the flesh, is painful . To levy this corruption in them, knowing it is a result of our being “trees” with feet that uproot from the good soil, is almost intolerable.
My wife and I have have been abundantly blessed with five children. Very few things have caused me more grief, than to see a carnal tendency, a fall into to sin, or spiritual confusion, in the lives of my children. Often I am reminded, by the Holy Spirit (especially with the three older children who are 14, 16, 18), as to how a potential choice to “relax” and “chill out” or choose a “normal” human and not apparently sinful thing, may effect their lives going forward. I also must admit there are times where my compromise has been called out, as I have been disappointed with contrary behavior in my children. In those times the Holy Spirit, usually in the midst of my correcting them, reveals their behavior as being a product of my own previous carnal compromise.
Therefore it is incumbent we learn to stay planted in the good soil of God’s presence, having the seed watered by the Holy Spirit, who is the River of Living Water (John 7:37-38). If you see corruption in your life or those who partake of your life as fruit, uproot from the compromise and replant in God’s good soil. Who wants to produce tainted fruit?
Just in case someone decries that we can’t possibly live practically as Psalm 1 declares, let me say, read your bible. Psalm 1:1-3 is no more impossible to live than the greatest command to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind”, so long as we are walking in obedient faith. The last time I checked, He is the God that makes the impossible possible in those that love Him.