The Lord spoke through Isaiah about the people of God, saying,
For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people… (Isaiah 65:22).
We are like a tree in many ways.
As a tree we experience different seasons.
As a tree we bear fruit.
Our life is all about seed growth and multiplication.
Everything that a tree needs in order to grow is what causes us to grow.
Anything that can limit or reduce a tree’s growth can prevent us from growing.
The psalmist said that we are like a tree planted by the water.
Jesus compared the kingdom can be compared to the growth of a tree.
Most trees get a ring a year, which implies slow, continual, steady growth.
The trees that grow in the most spurious way are not as useful. They grow fast, but are not solid.
Our growth pattern resembles circular rings, rather than one long line of growth. This means that whatever we are working on will come around again, and will need to be worked again.
Whatever we have needed grace for in the past, we will need grace for again in the future.
Whatever we have had to learn before will need to be learned again, only going a ply deeper each time. The number of rings can be a sign of maturity.
When we have struggled with an issue in one area of our lives it is normal to have that deal with it again. It is not a failure on our part to have to do this, its just another ring in the tree. This helps us to learn more in order to grow deeper.
Like a tree, we bear fruit, but then when the same issue comes around again, we have the chance to bear even more fruit. And like a tree we tend to grow the most after a time of pruning. (John 15:2)
I think the idea of our having rings like a tree is closer to reality for the Christian life. If you think of our life as being on one long, continual, straight line upward, we will be more disappointed when we have to revisit an issue again.
We are not just any ol’ tree. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Our life is not one-dimensional. There are lots of different areas to our life; there can be in one season in one area, and another season in another area. We can be momentarily fruitful in one area, and momentarily barren in another.
I suspect that our life is more like the tree of life that grows by the river in the book of Revelation. (22:2)
It bears twelve kinds of fruit, each in its season.
Each season is a month long. (Everything is accelerated)
You could say we are in twelve seasons of life all happening at the same time.
There can be a dozen different stages of growth, in different areas of our life, all happening at the same time.
There can be a dozen different kinds of fruit all being produced all at the same time.
There are at least a dozen different areas in our lives:
1. Our Relationship with God
2. Our Marital (Parental) Relationship
3. Our Extended Family Relationships
4. Our Friendships, Fellowship, and Relationships
5. Our Spiritual Well-being
6. Our Emotional Well-being
7. Our Physical Well-being
8. Our jobs or business (more than one)
9. Our Ministries (more than one)
10. Our Recreational Life
11. Our Financial Growth and Well-being
12. The Cultivation of Our Gifts and Talents
When we are not producing as well as we should, sometimes God dungs us up for one more season:
He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down’” (Luke 13:6-9).
That means there is hope for us, eh.
What other ways is our life like a tree?
Here are some other verses that support this concept:
VERSES TO MEDITATE UPON
“For there is hope for a tree,
If it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
And that its tender shoots will not cease.
Though its root may grow old in the earth,
And its stump may die in the ground,
Yet at the scent of water it will bud
And bring forth branches like a plant (Job 14:7-9).
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper (Psalm 1:3).
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit (Jeremiah 17:7,8).
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. (Psalm 52:8).
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him (Psalm 92:12-15).
The just shall flourish like a palm tree (Psalm 92:12).
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table (Psalm 128:3).
Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches” (Luke 13:18,19).
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:1-3).
Even the wicked are compared to trees, which spread themselves out.
They do not always bear fruit (Matthew 7:19).
They can be trees without fruit, pulled up by the roots:
These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever (Jude 1:12,13).
To read more about the relationship we have with trees, read my books "Welcome to the Wilderness" and "Personal Revival".