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 1:3 (NKJV)
One of the things we find in Scripture is that the most telling element of our spiritual lives is the fruit that is produced. Jesus said that a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matthew 7:17). In different places in the Gospels Jesus teaches that the fruit in our lives is the telling element of what path we are on. Let me give you a couple quick instances to show this.
“Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34 (NKJV)
“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:37 (NKJV)
The idea here isn’t that we are saved by good words. Instead the idea is that our words are such a good indicator of the condition of our hearts that God can simply look at the words we speak to determine if our hearts are right with Him.
There are also two good illustrations of this in Matthew 25. One is the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). The other is what Jesus says will happen when He comes to judge the nations (Matthew 25:31-46). In both stories the eternal destinies of those in the story is determined by their deeds. In the parable of the talents those that were faithful to use their talents as the master wanted were told to enter into the joy of their Lord, while the unfaithful servant who buried his talent and didn’t use it was cast into outer darkness where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
In the story about Jesus coming to judge the nations those that had fed the hungry, watered the thirsty, taken the stranger in, clothed the naked and visited the sick and imprisoned entered into heaven. Those who ignored the hungry, the thirsty, homeless stranger, naked and didn’t visit the sick and imprisoned were cast into everlasting fire.
Once again the point of these stories isn’t that we are saved by being faithful stewards of the things that God has given us. Or that we are saved by acts of kindness. Instead the idea is that the fruit in our lives is such good reflection of our being a part of the Kingdom of God that God can simply look at the fruit in our lives as to determine if we are a part of His Kingdom.
That is the idea Psalm 1:3. The Godly person walking on the path of righteousness will be like a tree that produces good fruit. They are like trees that have been planted purposefully. Not like trees that spring up by accident, but those that are planted with love and care. They are planted by water so there is always a source of life and strength for them and they will bear fruit. This is very similar to what we see in Psalm 92.
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord Shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing,” Psalms 92:12-14 (NKJV)
I really like that it says that they will bear fruit in their old age. This lets me know that we never get to old to be useful for our Lord. Good fruit being produced in the life of a believer is a certainty. Jesus guaranteed us that if we were joined to Him we would produce much fruit.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NKJV)
This is a statement of certainty. If I abide in Jesus I will bear fruit. Just as certainly as all who call upon the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13), all who abide in Jesus will bear fruit. If I am on the path of life then I should be able to look at my life and see fruit that demonstrates this.
There should be the fruit of the Spirit.
There should be the fruit of obedience.
There should be the fruit of life change.
There should be the fruit of spiritual growth.
There should be the fruit of having a desire to see others come to know Jesus.
If I can’t see good spiritual fruit in my life I should be concerned. The type of fruit I’m bearing in my life is a pretty good indicator of what path I’m on in life. It’s good for us to examine our lives at times to see where we are.
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV)
Notice what Paul didn’t say.
Paul didn’t say, “Check to be sure you’ve prayed to receive Jesus into your hearts.”
Paul didn’t say, “Check to be sure you’ve been baptized.”
Paul didn’t say, “Check to be sure you can give sound theological answers.”
Paul didn’t say, “Check to be sure you go to church.”
Paul told them to test their lives and see if their lives demonstrated that Jesus was among them. If their lives didn’t pass this test it was because they were disqualified.
What fruit do you see in your life that is the result of Jesus being in you?