Our home is surrounded by apple orchards. One winter I noticed how many of the trees still had apples on them even though the New York winters can be harsh with lots of snow, rain, sleet, and wind. Yet these brown mis-shapened apples still clung to the branches. As I considered this, I realized that there are things in our lives that just seem to hang on to us no matter what we do to shake them off. They can be habits or hang-ups that we cannot seem to get rid of all winter long.
Each time I drove up the hill to our house, my eye automatically caught those rusty red apples, which stood out in contrast to the white snow on the hills. Month after month they just hung there until winter began to subside and things began to warm up, so that sap could begin to flow up from the roots, through the trunk, and out the branches. The moment the new life hit the stem of the apple, those old craggers simply fell off. It dawned on me that this is how it is with us. It is not until the new life begins to flow, slowing make it's way through us that some old sins, habits, and character flaws fall off. What the wind of winter could not do, a little life flowing through the branches could.
I thought about how new believers often still smoke, cuss, and fight until that life touches them. Quitting on their own is such a struggle, but this way, it is His power at work within them, which has to be our focus, right? Actually, this has been my own experience both as a new believer and even now as a pastor. Rather than shaking off an evil inclination by my own will power, I need to focus on those things that cause life to flow again… like times of personal worship, read God’s word, coming to Him with raw honesty, spending time alone with the Lord, until the His life begins to flow. I need to come back to this again and again, don’t you?
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