A text-driven life is a blessed life.
In this way, God promises prosperity. Scripture is clear about this and yet while these characters form on my monitor I hesitate feeling the collective cringe of friends who repulse at “prosperity preaching.” And for good reason. Prosperity is often preached under the unbiblical notion that God owes us a standard of living which we define. And this, is the key difference: there is a so called prosperity Gospel that demands that God meet my will, and then there is biblical prosperity defined as doing God’s will. The false prosperity gospel preaches accumulation of wealth/health acted by my faith, biblical prosperity is defined simply by obedience to the word; it is the responsiveness of a text-driven life. A text-driven life is a blessed life
When we live life driven by the Word of God, we are like a tree that has a stream near it. Being planted by water makes us strong, and we bear fruit.
The fruit of the text-driven life is the visible evidence that the trunk is strong and the root system is well nourished. The fruit is the most obvious way one can test the life of the tree so the fruit is life, and evidence of life.
Logically then being “blessed” is what the Psalmist simply calls “life.” This is the pre-text of Psalm 119.
Thirteen times in Psalm 119, the psalmist is praying for life. Consider just these four:
give me life according to your word! (25)
give me life in your ways. (37)
in your righteousness give me life! (40)
Give me life according to your steadfast love. (159)
What does he mean by life? He is not praying for life in some abstract way, he is praying for life in very specific ways; “life” is simply a one word summary for all the very specific blessings that he mentions throughout the Psalm. A text-driven life is one that is blessed. While not exhaustive, some of the blessings of a test-driven life are,
Help with Enemies
The nearness of God
This is the fruit of someone who is text-driven. In other words, this is the “life” in text-driven life. Don’t be fooled, the text-driven life may be filled with as much pain as any other life. The difference is that the text-driven life is fruitful, it is, in a word, blessed because it is responding to God. As a consequence, the text-driven life is comforted in pain (50), and understands how to process pain and use it to learn (67). In fact, contrary to our instincts, pain actually enables a text-driven life (71). A tree with gnarly is not weaker, but stronger. Its adaptability to its circumstances make it stronger.
The metaphor of the tree may call to mind Psalm 1 which describes the blessed person who does not listen to the ungodly, but to God’s law. The blessed man in Psalm 1 is like a fruitful tree. Interestingly, Psalm 119 begins with a blessing for those who walk with God. The beginning of Psalm 1 and Psalm 119 are very similar. Look at them side by side.
|Psalm 1||Psalm 119: 1-3|
|Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
|Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
Psalm 1 describes the general blessing, while Psalm 119 descries numerous specific blessings. Psalm 1 is the introduction while Psalm 119 is the unabridged explanation.
This, in a sense, is a real prosperity teaching. To be clear, there is no “secret to prosperity”. Often we run from the blessings that seem so obvious, and this is written all over the pages of Scripture, and very loudly in Psalm 119: God blesses those who respond to Him through His word. The question is, how do we experience this prosperity? The answer, the subject of the next post, is to delight in the Lord.