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Sturdy and Strong

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Sturdy and Strong

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The weather and the forces of nature affect us in various ways. We love the bright sunny days and we dislike, or even dread, the dreary rainy ones. Beautiful days uplift us but gloomy days can be harder to endure. 

Life can be a matter of perspective. A change of perspective can change our outlook and affect our success in a world of constantly changing situations and circumstances. A positive perspective (having faith, hope, thankfulness and the outpouring of love) can help us stand firm and flourish through any experience, while a negative perspective can stifle us. 

The Bible often teaches us perspective through different vantage points such as parables, metaphors or similes. Something may be like bread, water or rocks. People may be similar to sheep, goats, soil or trees. There are trusting sheep, stubborn and contrary goats, various soil types and many varieties of trees.

Speaking specifically about trees, some trees can withstand extreme heat and sunlight, drought, storms or the cold. Trees have to endure different climates and conditions in various parts of the world. Some thrive in specific climates but do poorly in other regions where they might wither and die. Some do well almost anywhere.

Do we, as Christians, do well anywhere we are found, enduring in any and all circumstances (2 Timothy 2:3, 10)? When life is stormy and bitter should and can we endure, continuing to grow (2 Corinthians 6:4)? We should neither whither nor deteriorate! Physically we all will become less vibrant over time and we will die, but spiritually we must continue to grow and be productive. 

Let’s briefly focus in on two types of trees mentioned in the Bible: the sturdy, mighty oak (Isaiah 6:13) and the strong, majestic cedar (2 Chronicles 2:3; 1 Kings 7:2). Oak is solid, rugged and useful in the shade it provides. Cedar grows tall and is firmly rooted, providing timber. They are both sturdy, strong and productive (Amos 2:9). Other trees are fruit bearing, and they too are very useful, such as fig trees (Zechariah 3:10; Micah 4:4) and date palms (Exodus 15:27). Figs are a good food source and also can provide shade. Dates are sweet fruits and their leaves can be made into baskets, brooms, mats and rope.

A godly person is useful to the Lord (2 Peter 1:8) and produces good things (Matthew 12:35). We know that a tree is identified by its fruit (Matthew 12:33). Let’s view ourselves as the cedars and the palm trees—sturdy, strong and useful (Psalm 92:12). Spiritually, we should be productive and unmoved by storms, heat or unfavorable conditions. Whatever the hardships or joys that life may bring, we should strive to be like trees planted by the riverside (Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8).

Our focus should be on Jesus Christ, and our perspective should be that of sons and daughters in the Kingdom of God our Father. When Jesus returns let us be found acceptable and still flourishing (Psalm 92:14) so that we may live forever in the house of the Lord (Hosea 14:6; Psalm 23:6). 

Vincent Braddock