What a Thriving Disciple of Christ Does and Doesn’t Do

When we break down the truth of Psalm 1:1-3, we can deduce what a thriving disciple of Christ does and doesn’t do. Where are you on the chart (see below)?


Pin this post with the title How to Be a Thriving Disciple of Christ.

I love how the truth of the Bible can be applied to our lives today. When we break down the truth of Psalm 1:1-3, we can deduce what a thriving disciple of Christ does and doesn’t do.

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.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 ESV

What a Thriving Disciple of Christ Doesn’t Do

A thriving disciple of Christ won’t heed a voice that doesn’t line up with the Word of God. Those who reject the knowledge of the truth will scoff when they hear it and do their own thing. Since they have no standard for living, they will continue in a lifestyle of sin. Essentially, they reject God’s love and do not receive eternal life.

When we, as disciples, reject time in the Word, we become spiritually dry. When a tree doesn’t receive the moisture it needs, its leaf will wither and fall from the tree. At that point, the leaf is detached from its life source. No bueno. Bye-bye leaf. RIP leaf.

What a Thriving Disciple of Christ Does

A thriving disciple of Christ delights in the Word. How does the delight happen? The shift comes when we increase our appetite for the Word of God by making a habit of seeking Him daily.

The tree described in the first psalm is rooted by water, positioned to continually take in nutrients. Similarly, a thriving disciple of Christ stays rooted by Living Water, being positioned to continually take in the nutrients of the Word and Spirit in passionate pursuit of Him. When the winds of adversity blow, our roots grow deeper and stronger in faith.

Verse two says that we will meditate on His Word day and night. Meditation outside of Christianity has a goal of emptying the mind to obtain peace. However, in Christian meditation, the goal is to fill the mind with the Word to obtain spiritual growth. Meditating on and memorizing the Word gives us revelation and then imparts life.

Meditating on and memorizing the Word gives us revelation and then imparts life. #ThrivingInChrist Click to Tweet

Intake, Thought Life, and Lifestyle

The actions described in the sections above are based on the intake, thought life, and lifestyle of those who are and aren’t walking with Christ. Our intake becomes what we dwell on; what we dwell on becomes what we do. What are the results of each? Very simply, the righteous prosper (Psalm 1:3) and the wicked perish (Psalm 1:6). See the chart below:

 Thriving Disciple DOESThriving Disciple DOESN’T
INTAKE
  • Delight in the Word
  • Heed the advice of the wicked
THOUGHT LIFE
  • Meditate on the Word continually
  • Stay in the mindset of a scoffer
LIFE STYLE
  • Stay rooted, positioned to take in nutrients
  • Yield fruit in season
  • Live a lifestyle of sin
  • Wither
RESULT
  • Prosper
  • Perish
Chart: Thriving Disciple of Christ
Our intake becomes what we dwell on; what we dwell on becomes what we do. #ThrivingInChrist Click to Tweet

What if I See Myself in Both?

Sometimes our habits reflect the life of those who have rejected Christ. In that case, this is where grace comes into the picture.

Grow in Grace

There’s a balance with grace. On one hand, we don’t need to continue in sin, justifying it with a grace card. On the other hand, grace needs to be applied to us and everyone who is sinning. Have mercy; we don’t need to judge people and throw them under the bus because of their sin—everyone is at a different place in their walk with God. Instead, we are to grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18).

This kind of growing in grace is like walking through our garden and plucking out the weeds or identifying and treating any diseases destroying our plants. We must be intentional with seeking out the health of our “tree” to thrive. And if we find something that shouldn’t be there or the Holy Spirit brings it to our attention, then pruning is required.

So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Matthew 7:17-18 ESV

Now don’t go running from the Gardener’s pruning scissors! If we only focus on the painful aspect of pruning, then we will miss the good part of it. The good part about pruning is the season of fruitfulness that follows.

The Disciple’s Fruit

Fruit is so good isn’t it? So sweet, juicy, and delicious. Mmmm. Except it’s not for us. Sorry. A tree doesn’t seek fruit, it produces fruit. Therefore, the fruit is not for us; it’s for others.

If we feel like we aren’t receiving what we need, then we look at what a tree needs: the sun, the water, the nutrients from the soil. Those elements are what causes the tree to grow, so we need to go back to our source.

Chart: What a Thriving Disciple of Christ Does and Doesn't Do.

Can We Grow Ourselves?

Can a tree grow itself? No, and we can’t grow ourselves either. It’s God’s work of growth in us. Philippians 2:13 (NLT) says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” That’s a gift toward spiritual maturity!

The fruit of the Spirit is “of the Spirit.” It’s not “of Kelly,” or “of Melissa,” or “of Sue.” God produces the fruit in us; it’s our job to yield. The more we stay in tune with Him during the day, the more we’ll see evidence of it.

So grow on, disciple of Christ. Continue to thrive in Christ!

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Other Great Posts in the Thriving in Christ Series:

  1. What Does It Mean to Thrive in Christ?
  2. What a Thriving Disciple of Christ Does and Doesn’t Do
  3. Use Psalm 1:3 to Keep a Spiritually Healthy Heart
  4. How Desensitization Keeps You from Spiritually Thriving
  5. How to Get Free of Secret Sins and Thrive in Christ (Even if You Want to Stay in It)
  6. 27 Ways Your Good Shepherd Helps You Thrive

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19 Comments

  1. A thriving disciple also speaks to others in grace and truth as Jesus did. It can be a tricky balance because our first thought might lean toward calling the other person out for what they are doing.

    Your table for thriving and not thriving is a wonderful image to store in my brain as I walk through each day. Thank you for gathering and sharing your insight. Blessings on your week!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      That’s true, Mary. Grace is good to practice, on ourselves and others. I’m glad you stopped by today. Have a great week!

  2. “Meditation outside of Christianity has a goal of emptying the mind to obtain peace. However, in Christian meditation” – this is worded so well!

    I also love the section on “The Disciple’s Fruit” toward the end of the article. I don’t think I have ever read it this way. It almost helps me (in my mind) see this as a way of getting strengthened in the Lord when we are weary from serving/helping. I think if I was in a season of this, I would like to reread this part especially. It is like a reset on the “why,” of things.

    Kelly, this post is really one of my faves. The love reading things that help me understand the Word even better. I believe you have a gift for teaching. Hoping many find these words and are blessed by them as I have been!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      This is encouraging to read because of how much I struggle to put things into words. Last night I asked (more like whined to) God again, “Can’t I just stick to leading worship??” 😉 So blessed by you, friend!

  3. I love that passage! Thanks for taking the time to apply it and sharing it with us! 🙂

    Blessings,
    Babychaser
    mamasbrush.wordpress.com

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      It’s so rich, isn’t it? Glad you stopped by!

  4. Great job, Kelly! You explained it so well; and may I say: Love the chart! (It appeals to my nerdiness!)

    You made a great point: the fruit is not for us! It’s for others. What we need are the elements to grow the fruit. I’ve never thought of it in just that way before.

    Thank you!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Thanks for your kind comment, Jerralea! Charts help me because I’m a visual learner. 😉 I’m so happy to hear you got something out of it. Have a great week!

  5. Kelly, you are a kindred spirit. I often get teased by women in my classes for having a table for everything, and this one you’ve crafted speaks to my table-loving heart. So much good advice and needful warning all in one place!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Organization helps my brain. 😉 Glad to hear you love tables, too!

  6. Thanks for this post, Kelly. I love the breakdown on these verses in Psalm 1. Thanks for the reminder on meditation. This is so important! I think it has become taboo in some church cultures because of the new age movement, but as you said, Christian meditation is a powerful tool! Sometimes I find myself rushing through my Bible reading, and I have to slow down and really digest what I’m reading. This article was a helpful reminder of that. Blessings!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Yes, meditating the Word is God’s idea and we can’t let the New Age movement steal that truth away from us. Glad that you stopped by, Dustin!

  7. This is great Bible study on one of my favorite passages, Kelly! I was just looking at these verses again the other day, so this was encouraging. Thanks for pointing us to the Word.

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      My pleasure, Betsy. Great to see you here!

  8. Dear Kelly,

    You say: “When we, as disciples, reject time in the Word, we become spiritually dry.”

    I agree on that.

    I need the Word on a daily basis.

    I rest secured even if I don’t seek God for a day, or days because I know He’ll seek me.

    There’s little we need to do right?

    Perhaps nothing because we’re not saved by our acts, and if we’re to believe Martin Luther (and I do), faith is coming to us from God.

    Some see this as a limitation of our freedom. I see it as a comforting aspect of life. Can we have a better leader in life than God?

    Sometimes we need to go back to our source, as you say.

    Not only does God produce the fruit in us.

    He’s the reason we’re here, and that we can wake up with a purpose weekly, daily, and yearly.

    God bless!
    Edna Davidsen

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      You’re correct, we aren’t saved by our works; it’s through faith in Jesus. Once we’re saved we need to know how to thrive spiritually. One important way to do that is taking intentional time with God daily because when our spirit man is strong it will help us overcome our soul and emotions. Thanks for stopping by, Edna!

  9. Psalm 1 is one of my favorite passages. Sadly, too many try to have verse 3 without living verses 1 & 2. Thanks for explaining what it is that makes us a thriving disciple and how that will result in verse 3. Blessings to you and have a wonderful weekend!

  10. I love this, Kelly: “Meditation outside of Christianity has a goal of emptying the mind to obtain peace. However, in Christian meditation, the goal is to fill the mind with the Word to obtain spiritual growth. Meditating on and memorizing the Word gives us revelation and then imparts life.”

    One is empty the other fulfilling! So great!

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