More than sixty trees fill our new back yard. We moved to this area after living in the “treeless” desert for five years, so we especially appreciate them. But when we moved in about a month ago, we noticed that one of the pine trees looked dead. Plopped right in the middle of trees sporting lots of green needles, this one was dressed in nothing but brown.
An arborist (tree specialist) came this week to have a look. The diagnosis: pine beetles. The other trees have to be sprayed with a strong chemical and the dead tree has to come down. Radical and expensive, but it has to be done to protect the healthy ones. Elimination and protection.
Sin in our lives should be dealt with the very same way. Elimination and protection. We can’t simply let sin stay around and hope it will get better or fade away. We must radically eliminate it. When God points out sin in our lives, our job is to cut it out completely.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. Mark 9:44, NIV
We must also protect the other trees. The pine beetles are attracted to trees that are weak or in distress. The recent drought has made many trees vulnerable. The best defense is to water and fertilize the trees so they are strong and resilient.
The same is true with us. Not only must we cut sin out of our lives when God convicts us, we must also purposefully work to get and remain spiritually healthy to protect ourselves from future sin. Stay vitally connected in fellowship and service to a local church. Spend regular quality time reading the Bible and praying. Seek God’s guidance and direction and then follow it.
I hope this is the first – and last – tree we have to remove.
What about you? Have you had to do any spiritual elimination recently?