For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. ~ 2 Peter 1:8–9
(read the previous verses for traits Christians ought to possess)
As I was reading over a passage today my mind was brought to these two trees in my backyard, specifically the nasty, dead, scraggly looking one. They both started from, amazingly enough, filler that came with a dozen roses I gave my wife for Valentines Day 7 years ago. She nursed them in water in the windowsill for months before they were stable enough to go in the ground and to our amazement they both grew from a throwaway vase size to these great bushy trees that provide screen and shade in our yard.
That is until last Fall when I started to notice the scraggly tree begin to show signs of stress. Branches began growing dark and black yet green leaves were beyond the darkness. Well, up until last week I allowed this eyesore of a living tree to live in my yard with all its dead branches that once housed healthy green leaves and vibrant branches. I instructed my children to cut all dead branches off and leave what little life there was on it, in one last act of hope that it would survive and become great again. We still have a bit of cutting to go. It may be painful but it's necessary.
“A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. “And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’
“And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’ ” ~ Luke 13:6–9
The clear picture of the professing Christian man is found in these two trees. The one that is on life support has been shown grace in that it was not entirely uprooted and burned. It has been granted grace and more time to bear fruit. Has the Sovereign King, Jesus Christ, granted grace towards you in that He did not cut you down previous to this day? Do you realize your sins of yesterday were great enough for Him to take your breathe away in your sleep? Do you grasp the infinite, abounding grace that has been richly supplied to you by His hand withholding death from your very door?
Will you at this moment bow your knee and confess your sin, turn away from your sin, and humbly follow Him?
He is willing to extend grace greater than all your sin, if you would but confess and forsake.
I am quite embarrassed that such a hideous object that claims to be a tree is on my property. It is indeed an eyesore. How much more so the man or woman who professes faith in Christ and yet is barren and unfruitful, having forgotten the former sins he/she was purified from? How much more so the professing man/woman who bears no fruit because they are not a part of the Vine but are mere impostors just idly waiting to be revealed as fakes?
I will water this wretched "tree" and expend time and effort on it in hopes that it will come back to full life, thereby granting it grace. Yet given enough time and a continual lack of green leaves and more deadness it will be eventually cut down and warm my house this winter or be left at the trash heap we call our city dump.
So the burning question is,
What kind of tree are you?
And if you are like this barren tree, how long will a gracious God bear with you?
Soli Deo Gloria