While walking my dog this morning my eyes caught the new growth on the evergreen tree. I snapped the above pictures and was struck by how noticeable the young part of the branches seemed. It occurred to me that this is how our lives as Christians should be. The new growth in us should be able to be witnessed by others as we mature in the Lord.
These trees not only grow in height each year but also in girth. While we don't notice the vertical change we are able to see the change in their shape due to the fresh color and the unmarred branches reaching in all directions. They haven't been weathered or pruned in any way.
Weathering happens when the world wears us down. Too many winds thrash us and we either push through the wind or let it keep us from moving forward.
Pruning happens when a piece of us needs trimmed in order to grow stronger and stand taller. We've a pear tree in our yard (that I wish was an apple tree because, ew) that my husband prunes each year. When he neglects to prune it the harvest of pears isn't as abundant as when he snips a little from each branch, cutting it back in early spring.
As each year passes I find myself being weathered and pruned more and more. I've learned to appreciate the pain that these bring on because I know the end result leaves me stronger and taller. My heart has taken a beating over the past twenty-five years in ministry, mostly due to people who thought it was their job to weather and prune me, yet their actions have only caused me to grow (and likely not in the way they'd desired) because I learned to let the Lord weather and prune me. His voice is the one I've listened to, even when it wasn't the loudest competing for my attention.
Sometimes there are changes He asks us to make in order for us to grow. Sometimes there are things He asks us to give up or not participate in.
When we tune our hearts into His voice and allow Him to grow us we will be better able to represent Him in all areas of our lives.
Our new growth should be as evident as the tender extended branches on the trees I saw this morning. Every day we should want to be more like Jesus and less like the world around us.
Mold me, Lord, into the person You desire me to be. Less of me, more of You.