by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward
The first time my husband and I visited New York City, we played the ultimate tourists. We took in a concert at Madison Square Garden, two Broadway plays, a walking food tour through Greenwich Village, and a Yankees game. We even rode the subway.
One of the highlights of our time in Manhattan was the four hours we spent on a Sunday afternoon exploring Central Park, an oasis in the city. Although we did not plan it, our trip coincided with the blooming of the cherry trees.
The first cherry trees planted in Central Park were brought from Japan about a century ago. Today, two different varieties stand on a gentle slope named Cherry Hill, overlooking a large lake. People come to admire the blooms and relax on the scenic hillside.
Year after year, the trees bloom in season. Year after year, the people enjoy their beauty.
The sight of the blooming cherry trees reminded me of one of my favorite passages of Scripture. Psalm 1 likens those who delight themselves in God’s Word to a tree that faithfully bears its fruit each season.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners of sit in the seat of mockers. 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 which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:1-3, NIV
Those Central Park cherry trees don’t worry about whether they will bloom and produce fruit each year. What they produce is a natural outflow of what they take in. Their location provides everything they need to fulfill their God-ordained purpose. Their roots soak up water and nutrients from the surrounding soil. The result is both beautiful and fruitful.
These cherry trees illustrate a vital spiritual truth for believers. Spiritual fruit is not a result of our valiant effort to produce it. We don’t have to try hard or worry whether our lives will be of use to God or benefit others. The spiritual produce of our lives will be a natural result of what we take in.
Our task is to turn away from following the world and its ways and instead delight ourselves in God’s Word. To “plant” ourselves in His truth. To remain in it long enough for it to permeate our hearts and minds. When our lives are saturated by the Word of God, when every pore is filled with His truth, the results will be beautiful and fruitful. God will produce His purposes in and through us. He will bring the results. Green leaves. Beautiful blossoms. Nourishing fruit. The natural result of a life rooted in God’s Word.
About the Author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
Kathy’s book “Before His Throne” leads you on a 9-week journey through the book of Malachi to discover what godly fear looks in our daily lives and how this biblical attitude will help you find deeper intimacy with God.
Join the conversation: Do you have some tips on getting into the Word on a regular basis?