Make me like a tree

written by Helen Netherton

This year I’m approaching Lent in a different way to usual. I’m not giving things up but instead I am trying to develop habits, good habits. I always thought that you HAD to give something up in Lent, and I have spent many a year giving up chocolate, biscuits, crisps; why did I give up those things? Simply because I knew that I ate too much of them in the first place, so I would probably benefit from giving them up. So why am I not giving up these things this year? Last year I came across Psalm 1 – I had read it before but it was really bought to my attention.

Psalm 1 begins:

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.

This year throughout Lent I am continuing to listen to ‘the Bible in one year’ on a daily basis; I am reading the daily devotionals on the #livelent app; I am reading some other books about Christian living. These three things are enabling me to walk in step with the Lord; to delight in and meditate on the Law of the Lord. When I think back to the many years when I have given up many things and I tell you what I have learnt – I can’t tell you. I did it because I felt I had to, but didn’t learn anything from it. This year is different.

Psalm 1 continues:

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither –
whatever they do prospers.

The person who is going to grow, and prosper is the person who delights and meditates on the Law of the Lord. So often we focus on things that we are not allowed to do, or shouldn’t do, and that is why this year I have decided to spend Lent getting in to good habits. I want to be able to focus on the law of the Lord so that I can walk with the Lord as opposed to walking in the way of the wicked. We often say that we want to walk in the way of the Lord, but the only way we can do that is through reading the Bible, spending time getting to know what has happened, and how that can impact on us.

It is through meditating and delighting in the word of the Lord that we will no longer be walking in step with the rest of society, but we will be walking in step with the Lord because we will be meditating on his Law.

As we travel through Lent, preparing for the crucifixion and resurrection, why don’t you spend some time focussing on what you should be doing, what would help you grow in your faith, as opposed to thinking about all the stuff you shouldn’t do.