The Dead Tree

January 27, 2016
by Lynne Phipps

Romans 6:11-14 – In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (NIV)

There is a huge, dead tree leaning precariously beside the path where I walk each day. The tree has been dead for a very long time. Its trunk is naked and bleached by the elements, and its branches, stripped of all foliage, creak and groan with every breath of wind. The tree, although dead and broken off at its base, is not, however, lying on the ground. Rather, it is being held up by several living trees which surround it.

This tree reminds me of the Christian life and how, so often, though we are to count ourselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus, we don't always want to let go of those old sins which have plagued us for so long — sins of our mortal bodies: the tongue, the mind, laziness of spirit, self-will, and unkindness of heart, just to name a few — sins which we may be so used to indulging that we don't even realize that we are supporting them, holding up habits which should no longer have any power over us — sins which are tarnishing not only our witness for Christ but our own spiritual health and wellbeing.

For me, this old dead tree spurs me on to prayer as I pass it by. I pray for an open heart and mind to anything within me that is not pleasing to God. Then, I pray that I will let it go, that it shall no longer master me, but that Christ shall master it within me.

How about you? What habitual sins may you unwittingly be upholding in your life? Do you want to recognize and be dead to them? Then, take time today to be still and allow God to take inventory. Offer your body to Him as an instrument of righteousness that sin shall not be your master in any sense of the word, but that His grace may prevail in your mortal body. I encourage you to pray:

Prayer: Lord God, search me and know me this day. Open the inner eyes of my heart to those sins which I may be upholding in my life. Bless me with a spirit of humility to trust in You to empower me to repent of them and to truly let them die and fall away from my life in Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lynne Phipps <lynnephipps@hotmail.com>

Atlin, British Columbia, Canada


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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Beautiful devotion and picture, thanks Lynne!


    Super writing Lynne. My thanks to you. Blessings.


    Amazing what God can teach us through nature. Another good one.


    Thank you, Lynne, for sharing this convicting example in your devotional. Blessings.


    Thank you Lynne. Your devotional, particularly the prayer, really touched my heart this morning.


    How profound and direct your words; a worthy petition.
    Thanks.


    Well stated Lynne,
    Many need to hear this one, especially in today’s times.
    God bless you.


    Great devotional Lynne. I like the way you connected the tree to a spiritual application of that passage. Well done!
    Blessings.


    Dear Lynne,
    What a compelling word today – thoughts as to what things in our lives could be keeping us from being fruitful for Him. Thank you for giving us this challenge. May God continue to bless you as you write for Him.


    Thank you for the devotion. How true. Every so often I think I have overcome, example the tongue, and it pops up again. So back to humbly asking for forgiveness and starting again.
    Thank our Lord for the Holy Spirit that chides me to feel bad and repent.


    Lynn, thanks for today’s devotional. It reminds me that I have a sinful nature and must be aware at all times. Keeping in touch with the Holy Spirit helps me to accept His challenge to keep myself clean. This helps
    me to do His work which brings glory to Him.
    Thanks again.


    Hello Lynne, Thank you for your recent contribution to the devotional site.
    I liked the picture of the dead tree not lying on the ground but being supported by others around it.
    That too reminded me of the Christian life and how we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses like other believers who help and encourage us along the way.
    I know you to like animals (from your previous contributions).
    It’s always interesting to hear from “this person in Atlin”!
    Keep on writing and may the Lord bless you.
    Shalom.


    Dear Lynne,
    At the start, I thought you might be going a different direction with your devotional: I thought you might proceed to encourage us to support the weak as the young trees support the dead tree.
    Well then, I thought that would fit better if the tree were not already dead, but just old or weak…. So, no, NO.
    Anyway thanks for the helpful devotional. We must let go of what is dead, useless, and dangerous. May we trust our Lord to support us in letting go.
    Keep writing.

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