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The gods of life

I recently took some time and went to the forest with my kids. We all like to hike and explore what God has made. We talked about lots of stuff while we were there.. I am a science major so of course I love to pour into my kids all kinds of little facts about nature. Chad just thinks I am a big old nerd!

One of the things we talked about were the leaves on the trees, and why they changed color and eventually fell off.

A tree's roots, branches and twigs can endure freezing temperatures, but most leaves are not so tough. On a broadleaf tree -- say a maple or a birch -- the tender thin leaves, made up of cells filled with water sap, will freeze in winter. Any plant tissue unable to live through the winter must be sealed off and shed to ensure the tree's survival. As sunlight decreases in autumn, the veins that carry sap into and out of a leaf gradually close. A layer of cells, called the separation layer, forms at the base of the leaf stem. When this layer is complete, the leaf is separated from the tissue that connected it to the branch, and it falls.

I find this can be applied to our own life. Sometimes God calls us to seal our self off from certain things that leave us wide open for Satan’s attack. The tree seals itself off, even at the cost of loosing its leaves in order to survive. However, many times we are not willing to risk a loss of any kind, so we hold on to the thing that is slowly destroying us. I am reading a great book called gods at War by Kyle Idleman. It is a great book on the gods that take over our life, and how sometimes we don’t even recognize it.

He quotes the Bible by saying, “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Proverbs 27:19. The heart is the truth of your identity, that’s why Satan fights to fiercely fill it. Imagine this scenario. You are on a hike and you find trash in the creek. You can’t believe someone would dump trash in the creek, so you spend several hours before you begin to see some progress. When you come back you find trash in the stream again. In fact there is more trash than before, so you begin to follow the creek upstream. Sure enough you find a garbage dump that has been there for years. It is emptying into the creek. Your cleaning job only allowed for more trash to flow downstream. You could go and clean every day, but it would just be like pushing a boulder up the hill and watching it roll back down. If you want your creek to be clean, that means going directly to the source and dealing with what’s there. Think of your heart the way the Hebrews did, as the source from which your life flows-thoughts, emotions, actions. How much of your life do you spend dealing with the visible garbage rather than what produces it? We all spend countless time on trash removal when something upstream is still dumping into the flow. Even the church focuses downstream too much. It’s so much easier to pick up a little bit of trash. Dealing with what’s upstream is a staggering commitment. But the heart is where the battle is won. If you only work on the downstream it can be considered “behavior modification” and not fixing the true root of the problem. So take a high upstream to the real heart of the problem.

Just like the trees that lose their leaves in order to protect themselves; God has called us to cut things from our life to ultimately close the foothold for Satan. Would we be willing to take the hike upstream and look at what is in our heart? Sometimes I think this can be a terrifying experience because we are not sure we will like what we find. However it is very Biblical. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

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