I was noticing our trees the other day. We planted some sawtooth oak acorns about 10 years ago. These trees stand tall and proud along the back line of our garden/animal plots. A few years later we planted some more along the side of the garden/animal plots. However, these have been looking a bit rough. Kinda like overgrown bushes rather than trees. One of them was even leaning way over to one side. Yesterday I decided to go out and prune these scraggy trees in hopes they too will grow tall and proud over the next few years. It occurred to me that I took the time to prune our tall trees every year. I routinely trimmed the lower branches and any sucker trees allowing all the good nutrients to reach the top branches. This helped the trees to grown strong and straight. The bushy ones did not get that same care and treatment. The poor trees have had to use the precious nutrients to feed too many extra branches. This has weighed the trees down. Kept them small and puny. In some cases caused them to lean over to the side from the weight of extra branches and malnourishment. The squatty ones clearly were not getting the nourishment needed to grown strong and healthy.
God spoke to me while working on these trees. He reminded me that our Christian walk is like the trees. When we are routinely pruned (confess & repent of our sins), we will be able to use our spiritual nutrients (prayer & Bible reading) to its full potential.
Unfortunately, many times in life we hold onto sin, therefore, robbing ourselves of truly living a fulfilled life in Christ. We may feel like God doesn’t hear our prayers. We may be dealing with a health issue that doesn’t seem to be resolving itself. Perhaps we are struggling in a relationship or two. Maybe we just lack joy in our lives.
Like my trees we need to be trimmed of our sin. First, we must be aware that we have sin in our lives and be willing to do something about it. I’ve noticed my sad trees for months maybe years now. I even knew what I needed to do to help them grow to their full potential. But, I just didn’t take the time to do it. I chose to put off dealing with excess limbs. I made excuses why I couldn’t do it. I kept saying I’ll do it tomorrow. Unfortunately, my inaction stunted the growth of my trees.
Sometimes, we as Christians may be aware of an area of sin in our lives, but we ignore it. We hope that if we don’t acknowledge it, it will resolve itself. We pray nobody else has noticed it and therefore, we can get by with not confessing it. But, God knows. He sees. Sometimes, we tell ourselves, “I’ll deal with it the next time temptation comes.” Thinking we won’t be tempted, therefore, lying to ourselves that there really is a sin issue. Our spiritual lives will be stunted because we choose to ignore the black spot on our hearts.
Yesterday, I made a decision to trim the trees. I trust that as I continue to trim the trees and provide the needed nutrients they will eventually grow tall and proud like the ones on the back line. The same is true about my spiritual life. I must examine myself regularly. Become aware of any sin. Purge it. Change my ways. Replace the sin with the life of God’s living Word.
Have you examined your heart today? Do you have sin that needs to be confessed? Do you need to forgive someone of a wrong done to you?
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:11-14, NKJV