Stripping Off the External
It was during last weekend’s workout, that I found myself intensely transfixed at all of the visible changes in mother nature’s transition from Winter to that of Spring. On this very day, everything was still, serene almost surreal to all my senses. Perhaps the best thing about this day, I was all alone to just meditate, pray and to be thankful!
For me as a God-fearer, it was very easy to think about the remarkable wonders all around me on this day, in that everything around me, reminded me of death and the miracle of spiritual regeneration. For in every direction, my eyes beheld the winterly effects on all of the trees and shrubs which appeared to be lifeless, only within a few more weeks, they all soon will become alive forevermore, or at least, until next Fall and the dread of Winter!
It was during this moment that I begin to meditate on the notion there seems to be a certain spiritual blessedness that is associated with the Winter season. This blessedness at least to me could very easily be seen within the surrounding landscape of Stone Mountain Park, yet the greater question lies in how much of this same spiritual truth is reflective of my own life as a faithful disciple of the Master?
Just as the refreshing air and the splendid, if not robust beauty of the Fall season dissipates, physically, emotionally and spiritually, we all must somehow contend with an endless sea of images of death, dread and desolation that the effect of the cold, rain, snow and the wind of Winter upon the earth and within our lives.
Behold, just as it is when we first encountered the Living Savior as a sinner, so is it with the impact of the transformative nature of Winter on the trees and within our very own souls.
For all things that were hidden now are made painfully visible! As the trees lose its leaves, the once beautiful tree now is stripped and devoid of life. It shows all of its irregularities and defects unashamedly before the world to witness. In this apparent state of death, did the tree actually changed? Perhaps not.
It is only when we experience various forms of inner and outward experiences of death and dying in our life’s journey, that we too, as it is with the tree, we many times are not as beautiful as we think that we are, or as the world say that we are, or as our family and friends communicate that we are.
How revealing it is, that during our own inner-soul Winter experiences that all of our defects and imperfections are made manifest to our consciousness. It is only then are we really seeing and knowing who we
The spiritual blessedness of Winter’s effect upon our soul life during these times are the very most important times in which The Messiah purifiers the soul of our often sinful, if not very prideful self-life and strength. Only during this
Our ultimate soul-care is the responsibility of The Lord who called us, redeemed us, sanctifies us, matures us, and commissions us to produce the fruits of the Spirit in all of the earth. None of these spiritual realities are possible until each of us are willing to undergo submissively this winterly process of stripping off the exterior in an effort at infusing Christ’s spiritual identity and virtue in place of our own!
The Marks of Spiritual Maturity
In perhaps the most important if not the most difficult aspect of our spiritual walk in Messiah is when we all shall endure seemingly an endless degree of suffering. Truth be told, the glamorous Christian lifestyle that is portrayed in the American media is fictitious as it is unscriptural. Consider these most powerful words:
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain!” Philippians 1:21.
In order for me to live for Christ (in this fallen world) is for me to die to my soul-life for the glory of God and His Kingdom. Very few of us will be able to find exceeding joy in our spirit when we must endure affliction, pain, disappointments, abuse, distress and all sorts of evil in an effort at strengthening our faith and loyalty to Christ as one of His faithful ambassadors of reconciliation.
Just as the Winter trees are stripped and barren before the world, so is it with the faithful disciples of The Master in yielding their bodies as a “Living Sacrifice, [Romans 12:1] for the Glory of the Kingdom. This is a very hard discipline for many!
Such spiritual maturity shall yield works and fruits that are not only trans-formative, they are also eternal. Such a spiritual revolutionary witness in our current godless culture may lead to suffering for Christ unto physical death for God’s Glory, will, and honor. Yet this is perhaps the only kind of powerful life-giving witness that can bring so many current lost souls before a loving and merciful God before the end of this present and evil age!
Life and death belong in the power and glory of God. All of the unpleasant things that faithful disciples must endure for Christ on earth, will be lost in an effort at gaining the blessed assurance of the benefits of eternal life now and forevermore.
“They are like trees planted by streams-they bear their fruits in season, their leaves never wither, everything they do succeeds.” Psalms 1:3
Each and every tree that I passed on this day, naturally stood almost autonomous. Yet beneath the surface, its roots invisibly form a connection with the moisture and life-giving minerals that sustain it. Each seemingly dead tree is beside the river, yet not apart form it supply because its deep roots are joined to the very source of its existence.
Such as it is for the mature faithful servant of the Master, who willfully presents their lives as a living sacrifice. For they too are forever connected to the Living Savior who is the very spiritual life-giving source of their spiritual regeneration and their eternal transition.
The inner-working of the Holy Spirit of God coupled with the power of the Word of God within the soul-life of the believer essentially guarantee that each disciple is never alone, for each will forever be interdependent on power and the will of The Lord our God.
The fruitfulness in one’s calling and commission is in direct correlation with one’s stability and reliability on our source who is Christ our Lord.
Beloved of God, trust in the Lord for everything, for you will be called blessed and happy in all that you do.
Grace and Peace