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Growing Like a Tree

September 26, 2016 | by: Mike Law | 0 Comments

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Brothers and Sisters,

Last week, in reflecting on discipleship, I suggested that discipleship means conformity to another person. By that I mean that discipleship first and foremost means conformity to Jesus, and then very often it means conformity to the life of another believer (remember 1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1, and Philippians 3:17). This week, I’ve been reflecting on how we personally view our growth as Christians and how it often parallels the growth of trees.

Here I particularly want to speak (or write as the case may be) a word to “older” Christians. By older, I do not mean age, but those who have been walking with the Lord for some period of time. “Younger” Christians are rarely concerned about the rate of their spiritual growth, where as “older” Christians are frequently concerned about the matter. In my experience, younger Christians often wish to grow deeper, but they normally grow taller at first. Older Christians wish to grow taller, but they are normally growing deeper.

When trees are planted, in the first few years their growth is immediately perceivable, but for trees that are forty years old, it is much more difficult to see how the tree is growing. Part of the problem is our perspective. When a tree is younger, we can easily judge its growth as we stand next to it and watch it rise up out of the ground. When a tree is older, it is far more difficult to judge its growth because we’re standing under it. Both grow young and old grow. The older tree has more to grow, but the growth is almost unperceivable. We cannot see what is going on underground, it is difficult to see what is taking place so high up, and its width becomes more and more difficult to measure simply by sight.

Returning back to believers who have been walking with the Lord for some period of time, as is the case with older trees, I think that their growth is harder to perceive and therefore they are more easily discouraged about their walk with the Lord. If that is you, what should you do? On the one hand, I want to say to you “Don’t worry about it, you’re going to be just fine.” On the other hand, we should all be concerned to bear fruit for the Lord Jesus Christ. But here is the bottom line…here is what we should all do – abide in Christ. Remember Jesus words in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

If you are worried about bearing fruit for the Lord Jesus, then give yourself to abiding in him. All life comes from him, so we must depend upon him, and put our faith in him. When we put our faith in him, he gives us eternal life, which is marked by Christ-like fruitfulness. We abide in Jesus as we read God’s Word and believe what he says about Christ. We abide in Jesus as we pray and express our utter dependence upon Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, and our dependence upon God to meet our daily needs. We abide in Jesus as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper confessing and believing that Jesus has given his body and blood for us, and that we feed on Christ by faith in our hearts. We abide in Jesus by keeping his words and commandments (John 15:10). We abide in Jesus as we imitate him – giving up our rights and sacrificing our good for the good of our brothers and sisters in Christ (John 15:13).

Whether “young” or “old,” whether concerned or unconcerned about your growth as a believer there is one thing you must do – abide in Jesus Christ.

Warmly in Him,

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