Psalm 1 gives us a vibrant picture of what our life with God can be like. Do you know this Psalm that introduces the church’s life of prayer? It begins, “Blessed is the man who…”
The first thing we need to know when we begin the first of the 150 Psalms is that Jesus is the perfect Psalm 1 Man. He fulfilled the righteous life and the prophecies of this Psalm and all of the Psalms. And he offers for us to be his students in his school of prayer. Jesus is our Teacher, the Psalms are our text, and daily life is our classroom.
“Blessed is the man [or woman] who…” rejects worldly counsel and sinful ways to delight in and meditate on the law of God – the Word or message of God’s loving purposes for us – day and night. “He [or she] is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he [or she] does prospers” (Psalm 1:3).
Probably you haven’t thought of Psalm 1 as it relates to your daily stresses and your personal boundaries. I think these are important applications of God’s word.
If you’re a Psalm 1 man or woman like Jesus then when someone offends you, pressures you, or is upset at you it doesn’t define you or cause you to react negatively. Even before your trial came upon you, through your meditations and prayers you were already permeating yourself with God’s Word, rooting into his love, and drawing up nourishment from the rivers of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when you come into the difficult situation in which someone says or does something hurtful you are not so distressed by it – you don’t absorb the wound or conflict.
Blessed in Drought
Even under the pressure of sweltering heat and drought, your leaves stay green and you have the capacity to bear fruit because your roots go down deep to the stream of life. Even when people are offensive you don’t internalize it to become wounded or ashamed by it because you are relying upon God and his Word for your sustenance – you remain separate and secure in your personal boundaries, rooted in God’s kingdom, and therefore able to bear the fruit of love even for the people who offend you or are mean to you.
Do you see what is going on here? As a Psalm 1 person you are not defined or controlled by the visible landscape of stress or conflict but by the invisible landscape of the glorious kingdom of the heavens in which you are living with Christ.
To become more like Jesus, the Psalm 1 Man, it helps to memorize this Psalm and pray it over and over until it’s God realities permeate your soul and your life. Pray it in view of particular stresses, temptations, or conflicts, imagining yourself as the tree planted by streams of Living Water even though all around you in your circumstances there is difficulty and drought.
Let me explain to you why it’s so helpful to memorize a passage (even a whole chapter) of Scripture? And I’ll help you to see that you can do this! Spiritual Disciplines for the Soul: Scripture Memory.