The season of fall in Colorado seemed to extend longer than in past years. Trees exhibited an array of brilliant colors. Leaves wore shades of golden yellow, intense maroon, fiery red, deep green, dark brown, as well as tawny tan. And, then last week the cascade of colors began to fall and nestle upon the earth.
Why do leaves fall off of trees?
I searched the internet and learned the reason behind this phenomenon in creation. In essence, leaves fall so that trees can survive winter. However, the idea of leaves falling misrepresents this active movement. Actually, leaves are pushed off the branch from which they grew.
Push – To exert force, to compel, or to purge.
Changes in weather and daylight cause a hormone that releases a chemical message to each leaf that winter approaches. The leaves no longer turn sunlight into food for the tree. With the job of the leaf complete, the tree begins to push the leaf away.
Cells form a bumpy line at the place where the leaf stem meets the branch and slowly the leaf is pushed from the tree branch. The leafless tree rests through winter. This push enables the tree to conserve energy and survive until spring when new leaves sprout.
I began to wonder at the ways the example of leaves pushed from a tree might offer a metaphor for the Christian journey. Just as a leaf is pushed off a branch when it no longer provides benefit to the health of the tree, what character traits, attitudes, and behaviors might God desire to push from my life?
Biblical texts like Ephesians 4:22-32, 2 Timothy 2:14-26, and 1 Peter 2:1-2, 9-12, 13-17, point to sins God pushes from our lives. While other passages, like Colossians 3:1-17 clearly state what we must put off and how we must clothe ourselves.
According to Paul’s exhortation to the church in Colossae, what must followers of Christ purge from their lives? Because we follow Jesus Christ we must push from our lives sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed. To walk in the ways of God we must also let anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, lies, and deception fall from our lives. Paul compels us to live with purity both externally and internally.
Wonder with God for a moment. From the sins mentioned in Colossians 3, what might God invite you to push from your life? In what areas do you notice God exerting force within your soul to let fall from your way of living?
God comes to each of us with patience, gentleness, and kindness; drawing us to Himself. Romans 2:4 reminds us that the kindness of God intends to lead us to repentance, to change our ways. God’s steadfast love summons us to push what is not beneficial to our lives; those hidden and known sins that create barriers to freedom and renewal within the soul.
Let God’s great love lead you to freedom. Rest in 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Almighty God, we acknowledge and confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed; we have not loved you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength; we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. Deepen within us our sorrow for the wrong we have done, and the good we have left undone. Lord, you are full of compassion and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy; there is always forgiveness with you! Restore to us the joy of your salvation; bind up that which is broken, give light to our minds, strength to our wills, and rest to our souls. Speak to each of us, and let your word abide with us until it has wrought in us your holy will. Amen.
While leaves experience a push in the fall, newness and life begin with the season of spring. God’s cleansing and grace develop renewed thoughts, feelings, and actions in which to live. The King of the universe invites each of us to set our minds on heavenly things: all that honors and glorifies God.
Paul encouraged us in Colossians 3:12 to put on attitudes and behaviors of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Also, just as we receive God’s forgiveness, we get to extend forgiveness to others, living out of the love of God. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we get to clothe ourselves with these qualities.
How can you put on these characteristics described by Paul? Which ones stir deeply as areas for growth? Receive God’s grace and welcome His power to transform you. (see 2 Corinthians 12:9)
As we clothe ourselves with these beautiful attributes of God, peace rules within our hearts and thankfulness flows from our lips. Take a moment to let the peace of God settle inside of you. Thank God for his presence, power, and peace.
Push sin from attaching to your soul. Let go of that which does not bring life and freedom. Enter into God’s invitation to put on godly traits that reflect Him.
Remember the Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made (Psalm 145:13b). He loves you. He is faithful. He pours out His steadfast love upon you.
Rest in the Lord as He forms newness within your soul and trust that He will bring about new growth that is alive and active, reflecting Him.
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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Psalm 103:1-5 – Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Jeremiah 31:25 –
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Jan Johnson. Invitation to the Jesus Life. Colorado Springs, CO. 2008.
Henri Nouwen. Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit. New York, NY 2010.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Bethel Music. No Longer Slaves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8TkUMJtK5k
Hope Darst. Set Free. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R90JuSQd6bE
Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.
November 9 – Littleton, CO
South Fellowship Church, Sisterhood Women’s Gathering
November 11 – Littleton, CO
Breathe Retreat (A two hour spiritual retreat for women) – Join us. Email me for more information.