I was walking around outside this afternoon looking for a "first." I had several ideas that did not work out. Persistence has been a real key to this year of "firsts." As I walked around the yard, I saw a dead tree in the woods and wondered if Joel and I could push it over. Joel and I attempted to push over a dead tree for my "first."
I used to like to do this when I was small. We would go to my grandparents' house in Mississippi and I would play in the woods. Occasionally, I would see a dead tree and try to push it down. Of course, if I did, I would yell "Timber."
Joel and I went to the tree I found. It was a pretty good sized tree that I felt like would be a good challenge for us. It was. We pushed several times with no success. I thought at that point the tree was just too strong for us to push over. We tried rocking it a bit and heard a crack. It is not easy to get a rhythm going while pushing a tree that barely rocks back and forth. We tried the other side with no success. Several more angles were tried and we heard another crack or two. After getting into a bit of a better rhythm close to where we started, the tree started rocking a bit better. We got some momentum and down the old tree came. We did yell, "Timber."
Joel said he really liked this "first." I asked him why he enjoyed it. He said, "Because we got to knock something down." It is a pretty fun deal when you can knock something down.
We did not dare try to push down a living tree the size of the dead tree we pushed over today. Living trees have life in them and good living roots to hold them up. Dead trees have no life and so are easily pushed over. I guess you could say a dead tree is much more of a "push-over."
I thought about our lives as followers of Jesus. We don't want to be spiritual "push-overs." The Bible says this in Psalm 1: 1-3, "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
When we live our lives according to God's word being empowered by the Spirit, we are like a living tree. We are not easily pushed over. Who wants to be a spiritual "push-over?" We are full of God's life. Our lives bear fruit. It is the picture of life. Believers in Jesus should be a picture of life. It is also a picture of satisfaction. The tree has everything that it needs.
It is noteworthy that the Psalm says this person delights in God's law. God is not obeyed from a grudging heart. The person the Psalmist describes is not obeying God because he/she is afraid something bad will happen if they don't. This heart delights to obey God because the person delights in God. God delights in the person that delights in Him. That is not surprising. That is how relationships work at their best.
If we are not delighting in God and His word, then our lives lack life. We lack the vibrancy of the Spirit. Fruit is lacking. Therefore, we are not very good at helping others come to know Jesus. It is hard to give away something you don't possess. If we are not thrilled with Jesus, it's unlikely that we will draw others to Christ. People are not impressed when we try to convince them of something that is not working for us. What I mean by that is that if my marriage is not joyful and harmonious, people are not impressed by my God. If I don't have some measure of joy and peace in my life, people may not want to follow my God. Let's delight in God and let Him fill us with real life. There is enough dead religion around.
Desiring to live the abundant life
3 things I thank God for today
1. Psalm 1
2 God can't be pushed over
3. Ability to hear