Dead Trees and New Life

Read:  Colossians 3:1-17
I love trees.  When we moved into our house there were only two or three very small trees, years away from providing any shade.  I love sycamore trees.  I’m not sure why.  I’ve always been intrigued by those big leaves.  Maybe that’s it.  Anyway, I started my husband on a program of tree planting for the first few years we lived in our home.  He was thrilled with this project.  (Of course, he wasn’t!)  Our yard now has several trees that provide a fair amount of shade.  He is thrilled with the fact that he now has some shade when he mows!
My favorite tree in the yard happens to be a sycamore.   Most of the trees in our yard have been transplanted from other parts of our property, and this is one of the transplants.  When I spotted this one, I asked if we could plant it right in front of the house where it would be the focal point of the yard.  It was a perfect sycamore.  Already growing straight and with a beautiful shape and covered with those big leaves. But something went wrong.  It died.  Just like that.  One day it was wilted. Then it was dead.  Before we had a chance to take it out, some friends of ours were visiting and saw the tree.  “Don’t take it out, just cut the dead part off and let it grow back from that little shoot growing at the bottom.  It will make a great tree from that.”  I didn’t see how it could.  It was surely going to be crooked and not amount to much.  We would be cutting the whole tree off!  But, with nothing to lose, we took his advice and cut the main tree off and left the little shoot.  Funny thing.  He was right! That tree is straight as an arrow, it is 20 feet tall or more and has the biggest leaves on it.  It’s beautiful and giving some pretty decent shade.
This tree is my favorite because it reminds me that new and beautiful growth can come from getting rid of the dead.  In the above passage Paul tells us to put to death what belongs to our earthly nature:  sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.  We are no longer to walk in anger, wrath, malice, slander and filthy language.  We are not to lie, we are to put off the old self with its practices.  All these things are disobedience which lead to God’s wrath.
We are to put on a new self.  We are to be renewed in the image of our Creator.  Our new selves have a whole different look:  compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another.   What a difference.  We are God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved!
Our new self should be filled with love.  Christ’s love.  What a difference His love makes.  When we allow ourselves to be renewed into the image of our Creator, a new and beautiful life emerges.  This new life is filled with the Peace of God.  There is no understanding it, but you can experience and feel it!  This is a life that draws people to its “shade” where we can share with others the abundant life available through our loving Savior.
The tree we planted had the potential to be a beautiful tree. But it was only by cutting away the dead could the beauty emerge.  How about your life?  Is it filled with God’s love and peace or are there dead areas that need cut away?  Let Him make you over in His image that you may become more like Him.  No matter what it may look like now, there is a beautiful life waiting for you through the work of God’s Holy Spirit.