I was sitting on my couch sipping coffee and taking some time to rest this week when I looked outside our front door to see a crew of men cutting down a tree in the yard across the street. Since we moved to Memphis, I have noticed that our street has lots of trees and shade and while I could go all day long working/studying from our home in Nashville without turning on the lights (trying to save on those utilities!!), that is not possible here. But as the crew began to trim the limbs on this tree, I felt the sun creeping in more and more throughout the day.
The Lord spoke to my heart right there on my couch, “You have to trim the trees to let the light in.” We have to trim the trees. If we are not careful, sin creeps in and creates distractions that separate us from the fullness of God and it takes work and courage to do the work to trim back the branches that are blocking the sun.
- It’s a Process.
- There’s a process involved when you cut down a tree. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched but there is no easy feat. You can’t just go in and chop it down – especially in a residential neighborhood because there could be some serious collateral damage. The same is true for us. We have to pray through the process of cutting down the trees of sin in our lives so that we do not hurt ourselves or those around us.
- It’s gonna take some time.
- When the crew arrived, I don’t think I realized how long they would be working on this tree. It was an all day affair. I was reminded of how often we underestimate the ease or speed of which we’re able to remove sin from our life. It’s going to take time, it’s going to take grace and it’s going to take the strength of the Lord.
- You can’t do it alone.
- There’s a reason why I continue to refer to them as “the crew” and that’s because there was a full crew of men working together with one common goal in taking down this tree. We can’t tackle the sin in our lives on our own either. Rally those people in your life who love you and who you trust to stand by your side as you do this hard work.
- Celebrate along the way.
- With each branch they removed and with each step of the process, these guys would yell and celebrate. I think they were just being silly and trying to make the best of a long painful day but I think that’s what we have to do too. Celebrate with your people with every victory you accomplish along the way, big and small.
The past few weeks I have made comments about how cloudy it’s been since we have been in Memphis but that’s not true. The sun has been out, the trees are just providing enough shade to make me think otherwise. And I think that there are many times that we think that Jesus is not there, or he’s not good, or he’s not showing up for us but that’s not true either. The shade of the trees creates a barrier that blocks me from experiencing the fullness of the light just as the sin in our lives blocks us from experiencing the fullness of Jesus. He’s there. He’s always there. The sun is shining and if you can’t feel it, it might be time to trim back the trees.