The last couple of days driving to work, I have seen something that saddens me. A tree, covered with blooms, is lying on its side, blooms slowly dying, some roots exposed, other parts of the tree still in the ground. My best guess is that some automobile hit the tree over the weekend, causing the damage.
Driving to work is where I spend a lot of time with the Lord. And this day, I couldn’t help but make the comparison to what Jesus talked about in the gospels about another tree and its branches.
The tree I drive by is still beautiful, its blooms are still fairly pretty. But the tree and blooms are wilting by the day. Soon, the tree will be completely dead, the blooms withered, falling off, and only a memory of what the tree was will remain. Hopefully the city will remove the tree before all that happens.
However, compare it to a person who pulls away from God, for whatever reason. They lose track of when they last read their bible, last talked to God, last did something for someone else when the Holy Spirit led them. They may have retreated into the world of problems, stress, good times, or addictive behaviors. Perhaps they have retreated into sin, and it is too enjoyable at the present to return to the cross.
Or maybe the person has gradually been slipping, maybe not even aware of it. Slowly putting other things on the throne of their life, slowly pushing the Lord off this throne. Finally, the pile of things that person has made his or her idols takes over their soul’s throne…and there is no room left for Jesus.
Sound familiar? It does to me! I’ve put all sorts of things in front of God, from pleasure to pride, from what I considered to be love, to holding onto hate and grudges that long had an expiration date attached. I’ve had the idea that ‘someone else should do it’ when nudged by the Holy Spirit, and I guess, ultimately, someone else did. The Spirit leads, but it never forces.
Today, consider the condition of your roots. Are they deeply planted? Are they being fed with things that encourage them to remain strong and healthy? I’m not saying to become a monk or a nun. God wants us to enjoy the world, and most of its pleasures. As long as nothing takes His place.
When we put idols in God’s place we risk pulling up our roots, and breaking off the branches that attach to the living tree.
Without Jesus, we can do nothing. However, for a time, enough life may remain in the branches to deceive us into thinking we can. Rebellion never has a good end, however. It always leads to a death of some kind.
Today, do a well-check on your spiritual tree. How deep are the roots? How strong is the soil? Have you started pulling away, depriving yourself of the spiritual food that allows you to grow and bloom? Has something in life mowed you down, making you feel broken off from the body of Christ?