Dealing With Leaves
I live in a beautiful, little neighborhood that features a dead-end street, which is great for the neighbor kids!...and lots of mature trees. It’s a great spot for evening strolls in the summertime and for lots of great foliage in the fall. I’m sure you have noticed how the trees changed color this past month; It has been beautiful.
Well, guess what happens in the fall after the leaves change color? Yep, you guessed right, they fall to the ground. And keep falling. Now, I love the huge maples and oaks, as their majestic branches provide a lot of shade and make for a pretty neighborhood. But, between now and mid-December, guess what I do a lot? I pick up a lot of leaves!
I heard a great story that I want to pass along about leaves from Ron Hutchcraft, who talks about dealing with the leaves in our lives.*
Psalm 4:4 Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
David reflects on his own daily lifestyle and here seems to be saying that at the end of each day - just kind of lie there silently on your bed and evaluate what's happened during the day and listen to what the Lord wants to say about it.
Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
David is saying here that every day he deals on a 24-hour basis with the sin that may have fallen into his life that day. That's why at the end of the day he's searching his heart; he's listening to what God wants to say about his day, and he's asking God to regularly search him.
Sin is like the leaves in our yard in the fall. More leaves fall every day, and they've got to be cleaned up shortly after they fall. Now, we like to clean up our lives in one great binge of spiritual raking. You know, "I went to the altar several years ago." "Well, I had a great spiritual experience several months ago and really got right with the Lord."
It's got to be a daily experience. David says here, "Every night I reflect on that day to see what happened."
Every day we have new ways that we miss God's mark. So how often do we need to confess our sin? Daily. How often do we need to repent? Daily. How often do we need to visit the cross? You know. Daily. God blesses purity. He blesses clean spiritual yards, and purity involves daily clean-up. It involves specific clean-up; reviewing this past 24 hours and laying it before the Holy Spirit. Letting Him show me where I have not been like Jesus.
Oftentimes we need to repent right at the moment when we know we've done the wrong thing, and then getting clean again. So many of us live powerless lives because of all the leaves that we've allowed to accumulate. They choke out the life that comes from a life that's totally exposed to the sun - the Son of God.
When it comes to spiritual yard care, you'd be amazed how many leaves can fall in 24 hours. So clean up daily and start each new day with all the dead leaves of yesterday raked, and bagged, and left at the curb.
*Devotional message compiled by Jim Huber, with commentary from “Dealing With the Leaves of Life"; A Word With You; Ron Hutchcraft; www.hutchcraft.com; November 4, 2013.