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Give the Oak Seed Time to Grow
Jer.17:8; Eph.3:17-19; I Cor.3:12-14
My people tend to be impatient and highly judgmental toward one another. Far easier to point the finger and jump to conclusions about the inner life of your brother or sister than to try to understand the terrible struggles, conflicts and adverse circumstances the other person might be enduring, and might have been going through for many years. People who live in a battle zone and are constantly at war with the attacks of the devil tend to get a little smudged, a little irritable, a little weary, a little frayed from being afraid, a little less polished in their personal demeanor because they’ve been down in the dirt fighting unwanted battles for such a very long time. That doesn’t mean they don’t love Me any less than so-called spiritual giants who act more sanctimonious to impress others, but have been spared the worst of the devil’s attacks. Naturally the Christian who has had an easy life, sheltered from storms, will smile, shout hallelujah, and jump for joy. Then they’ll frown on someone who has trodden a thorny path for many years, and is assailed by thousands of dark doubts and countless questions they would have been too scared to ask in brighter days.
It is human nature to demand instant results and immediate gratification. A lettuce leaf sprouts up in mere weeks. Mushrooms appear overnight. One meal and such conveniently grown plants are all gone. But a mighty oak tree takes hundreds of years to reach maturity. It starts its life as a tiny acorn. In time, it grows to a slender sapling. If, and only if, this little plant is able to withstand all of nature’s fierce storms and dry seasons, does it have a chance to continue growing. If it is not cut down by hostile hands and is tenderly cared for by a skilled horticulturalist, the odds improve for seeing the budding tree reach its full potential. But growth takes a very long time. The planter of the oak tree is very unlikely to live to see it grow tall enough to soar high into the heavenly places.
So-called disciplers have barely converted a person before they pressure him or her to make a hundred disciples like themselves. They think of My church as a giant photocopier whereby they continually create new souls in their own image, and think that pleases Me. And when Christians crumble under the incessant pressure to be perfect in an imperfect world, some fall away or distance themselves to try to save what’s left of their faith from other well-meaning but harsh Christians.
The oak tree is a very slow grower. Only by withstanding the adversities of nature can it survive, and that doesn’t always happen. But the oak is a valuable tree. Birds and squirrels lodge in its hollows and branches. It gives shade to the weary traveler. Squirrels eat its acorns to survive. Its leaves help clear the air of carbon dioxide and fill the earth with fresh oxygen. Its roots help anchor the earth to prevent erosion. Its fallen autumn leaves deteriorate and enrich the surrounding soil. And when it dies, it leaves behind sturdy wood which builds strong, enduring structures.
Judgmental Christians whose life is a bed of thornless roses are quick to judge, slow to understand, and are very pleased with themselves for playing the part of a pious churchgoer so very well. But when the chips are down, can you count on these shallow people to refresh your spirit with a word in good season, or is it more likely you’ll get a swift kick for failure to be exactly like they are? Do they make you feel exposed to criticism and magnify your every fault, real or imagined? Or, do they, like the mature oak tree, shelter you under their cooling, refreshing foliage?
Are alleged spiritual giants delusional about what they think I expect of them, or are they anchored in reality, even as they reach high in the sky? Are such folks so “heavenly-minded”, they’re no earthly good to anybody? Is there anything of any value in their lives from which others can draw inspiration, as they build upon Christ the Foundation? Or is their religion just a staged production to make others feel good about them so they’ll feel better about themselves and superior to others?
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