Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Brown (11/26/09)
TITLE: Brown Leaves
By Edmond Ng
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Fruit trees of all kinds will grow along both sides of the river. The leaves of these trees will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit on their branches. (Ezekiel 47:12a NLT)When caring for houseplants, the first thing we need to know is that it is not in its natural environment. Conditions in our living room, kitchen or bedroom are vastly different from the outdoor where rain and sunlight play important roles in the growth of the plants. If the leaves of a plant begin to turn brown, it is a sign that something may be missing in the environment of the plant's indoor home.
When the leaves of a houseplant begin to turn brown, it may be due to too much or too little water. Houseplants need differing amounts of water. If the plant is watered too frequently, excess water can pool on the ends of the leaves, causing them to rot and turn brown. If the plant is not getting enough water, the leaves will wither, curl or begin to turn brown from the tips up through the entire leaf.
Leaves turning brown can also be caused by a lack of sunlight. If the lower leaves of the plant begin to turn brown, the plant may not be receiving enough light. If discoloration is isolated to the side of the plant away from the light source, it is clear indication the plant has too little light. Too little water or too much light can cause leaves to curl, and when the leaves turn brown, they will eventually fall off. Most houseplants need regular application of fertilizer as they cannot live on the soil in their pots alone. Fertilizer, with sun and water, can help keep the leaves of the plant green and healthy.
Like the houseplants that need regular care to keep the leaves from turning brown, our spiritual lives as Christians are also in need of regular care to stay healthy in the Lord. One of the first things we must learn as a people saved by God is that although we are in the world, we are not of the world (John 15:19). In this sense, we are not in our natural environment because this world is where sin prevails and where many glorify self rather than God. In such conditions, we are like sheep in the midst of wolves, and we need to be shrewd as serpents, yet harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). There may be times when our Christian lives seem to be like the leaves turning brown with signs of something missing in our walk with God. In such times, we need to look within ourselves, and not turn away people who care enough to let us know our condition, so that we may find out what is missing that we need to get right in our relationship with God.
Every Christian has differing amounts of faith and understanding of the Word of God. When we help our brothers or sisters in Christ, we must therefore be sensitive in our approach when we lead them back in their walk with God. Just as too much water or too much sunlight can turn the leaves brown, if we push the weak in faith too much, we can lead them to turn away from God. Too little water or too little sunlight on the other hand can lead to the leaves curling up and eventually falling off, and if we do little to help them, they may become caught up in the entanglements of this world and eventually fall away from God. If we wish therefore to help believers who are young or weak in the faith, we need to regularly apply 'fertilizers' to nurture them in the Word of God that they may be strengthened and healthy in their walk with God, like leaves that never turn brown or fall, and where fruit continues to bear (Ezekiel 47:12).
Remind us dear Lord that although we are in the world, we are not of this world. Help us therefore O God to always examine ourselves and never to turn away anyone who cares for us enough to correct us, that we may not at any time fall away from You or be caught in the entanglements of this world. Strengthen us Lord that we may strengthen others, that together we may not fall, but bear much fruit as we study Your Word to keep healthy in our walk with You.
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