Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Learning from a Fallen Tree

READ I Corinthians 5:6-8, II Cor. 4:16-18

The contrast was startling! The outer bark of the tree made it look tough and healthy but the inside was all soft and rotten. I encountered the fallen tree as I walked along a trail on a mountain slope just above Lake Louise in Banff national Park. It had been sawed off and discarded along the side of the trail. The picture with this message was taken on that trip. After closer inspection and feeling the inside of that tree trunk, I understood that this tree had been dead for some time. The inside was so rotten that it was of no use even to use as lumber for a building project.

God reminded me that day that I needed to pay careful attention to the inner core of my life. Some people easily boast of their outward appearances and personal accomplishments but ignore the spiritual rot and decay within their inner core. There were people in the Corinth church of first century Greece who were guilty of this tough outer shell but having spiritual decay on the inside. They were warned to change this:

“Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that the yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the whole yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed ...” (I Corinthians 5:6-7)

Instead of feeding their inner life core from the word of God and from Christ, their Redeemer, they focused on outward appearance and fleshly pleasures. In a second pastoral letter, the Apostle Paul urges them to focus instead on the unseen and the eternal rather than on superficial temporary things. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

In your spiritual life, a fallen tree and a cut-off vine means lack of spiritual fruit in your life. Trees (or branches) that are truly dead are cut off (John 15:2a). A continued lack of fruit in anyone’s life should cause them to examine whether or not they truly belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. At the very least, there are persons in many churches who are not in true fellowship with God due to continuing sin in their lives. Drawing nourishment from Christ, you “…will produce much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5b)

Stop & Reflect:

What kind of a “tree” are you? Do you have a healthy inner core (heart)?

What kind of fruit will you produce IN Christ? The fruit of Christ-like character (see Galatians 5:22-23) and the fruit of drawing or inspiring others to passionate discipleship living for Christ!

No comments: