Growing in Grace Devotional

Having that Old Tree Age

Julia Bettencourt

Posted December 31, 2008


But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.  2 Peter 3:18


Do you remember studying about the layers of trees?  Each layer inside the tree forms a recognizable ring and those rings the layers make in the tree are how we determine the age of the tree.

Scientists study these rings to reconstruct the history of the tree.  They can determine the climate the tree grew in because they can see by the width of the rings how wet or dry the years were.

They can tell how much air pollution affected the tree.  They can even study the migration of insects through tree rings.  The size and shape of the rings can also tell how much sunlight the tree absorbed.

I wonder how many layers I have as a Christian and what kind of story I tell?  If someone could look inside and see my layers as a Christian, what would they see?  Did I allow the "Son" light to shine on me and did I drink in the water of the Word of God adequately?  Am I a mature Christian?

Here are some layers of trees to think about.



Outer Bark.

This is the tree's protection from the outside world. What about me?  How do I protect myself as a Christian?   Am I using that armor that it talks about in Ephesians 6?   I know I need to build up that wall of prayer and trust in God to be protected by what the elements of the world may rain down on me.



The Phloem.

This is the inner bark of the tree.  It is the pipeline from which the inner tree receives food from the leaves and outside of the tree.  In order for a Christian to grow, we need to be taking in God's Word and all that it offers us as Christians. Without food, nothing will grow.



Cambium.

This is the cell layer of the tree.   It is the growing part.  This is the one layer of a tree that is considered alive. It annually produces new bark and wood.  It's what makes the bark, branches, and roots grow thicker.


I wonder how I do that as a Christian?  I think the need here is that I remain active for Christ.  I need to keep keeping on by staying in the Word, witnessing, and doing all I can to show the love of Christ to others.  I need to be alive in Christ to grow taller, and sturdier as a Christian.



Xylem or Sapwood.

This layer moves the water up through the leaves to give the tree the water it needs.  This reminds me of what the Holy Spirit can do when we allow Him to work through us.



Heartwood.

This is the center part of the tree.  Although it is the dead part of the tree, it won't fall apart as long as the other layers are in tact.  This part of the tree actually becomes firm.


That's kind of like us as a Christian, we won't fall apart if we have our layers in place.  We need to be doing all those things like growing, taking in God's Word, and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us.  Having that firm foundation in Christ will help us to be supported and stand for the long term.



Conclusion:

Frankly, as Christians, we should be acting our age.  As we grow in our Christian life there are things that we should be better able to handle because we are spiritually mature.

There are things we may not deal with well as saplings but as we get older in Christ, we should be able to deal with them differently such as when we are faced with anger, fear, criticism, worry, and bitterness.

We should always be adding those layers to our Christian life that will help us better withstand the world.  We need to build up layers of faith, obedience, love, and all those Christian traits.

Those layers will make us strong like a towering tree.  When we are strong in Christ, we should be able to withstand some of the things we couldn't before.  When the wind and elements of the world come swirling by, we should be able to stand tall.

God wants us to grow.  He wants us to put aside those things that don't pertain to us as Christians and move on with growing in Him.

Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.  1 Peter 2:1-3


On over in 2 Peter it talks about the things we need to do in order to grow as a Christian.  The writer urges us to not to be led away by the world but to stand steadfast in what we believe.

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.   2 Peter 3:17,18


None of us should stay baby Christians.  We should want to grow up.   I hope I have grown as a Christian over the years.  I want my roots to go deep so that I can stand firm and be a mature Christian.

So, is your age showing?

Copyright ©2008 Julia Bettencourt
Scripture References are from the King James Version.
www.juliabettencourt.com


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