Wednesday, June 1, 2011


When circumstances allow, I love to take walks around my little neighborhood to feel the sun on my face, the wind swirling around me, stretch my limbs and get my heart pumping a bit.  (It also serves to remind me of the endlessness and timelessness of our Creator.) The neighborhood overlooks a deep, wide canyon and maintains glorious views of the surrounding hills mountains.  These walks often refresh and strengthen my mind, body and spirit as I use them as exercise in a spiritual sense as well as  physically.

One winter's day not too long ago, I decided to venture out for a few minutes to recharge my batteries (which often need recharging!). On this particularly bright day, I was struck as to how barren the trees were that lined my path.  Though it was getting close to the first day of spring, not a bud was sprouting on most of the limbs.  They appeared strangely stark (you know, that dullish brown twiggy look) against the clear brilliant blue of the sky.  It was almost as if they didn't realize what time of year was approaching and needed a jump start.

Then I saw it. In the distance, a flash of color caught my eye. I kept walking. I kept gazing through the dullness of the other branches looking for the source of the bright color.  Slowly it came into view.  It was a tree that was fully in bloom!  It had buds, it had blossoms, it had leaves!  The sunlight played off of the fuchsia colored blossoms making it look as though the tree were almost on fire!

It stood out in the crowd. This tree didn't blend in like the others. And, it was beautiful. It was spectacular. Somehow, out of the hard ground and with the scarcity of sunlight in winter, this tree found its inward beauty and displayed it for all to see. It dug its roots deep into the earth and found the nutrients it needed for that moment.  It stretched its limbs upward as far as it could gathering as much daylight as was available to fuel its wonderful colors. It took what it could find and used them gloriously. The other trees and bushes simply blended into the landscape in a monotone of color and shape.

It occurred to me that as I walk this journey through life, I should be as vibrant as the tree. I should stand out in the crowd. I should be different than all the others. Not because of the external but the internal. Not of the flesh but of the spirit. Not because of the world but because of Christ living in me and the power of His Spirit!

1 Corinthians 2:12
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

How we strive to be different in our society yet all end up being the same! Same clothes, same jewelry, same homes, same cars.  Same schools, same sports, same careers. We all 'want' what the other has already and continually strive to make it so. We busy ourselves with comparing ourselves with others.  We define our success in terms of the tangible, worldly standards even though they are temporary, fading, and change moment by moment.

Our loving God did not create us all the same; He created us with unique gifts, talents, and a purpose in the life to glorify Him.  Yet we squelch our uniqueness and Him in an attempt to 'fit in', to be 'accepted', to be 'popular', to be 'cool', to be 'rich' and define ourselves in comparison to others. And, we always seem to fall short of the mark, don't we? We use worldly standards rather than the divine with which there is no limit.  We prefer the comfort of measuring our 'success' in terms of what we have, what we wear and what we do rather than who we are and what we can do for others and for Him

Romans 12:2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We should glow with His light and His glory from within. We should seize the opportunity to be unique in our purpose in order to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us seeking it in all its fullness. We should dig our roots deep into His Word daily and bathe in His life-giving water.  We should stretch our limbs upward in praise, in prayer, and in meditation continually seeking to know Him more and to bask in His life-giving light. We should find strength and hope in our dependance upon Him as He is unwavering. We should shine knowing our completeness and peace comes only from knowing Him and following where He leads.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

James 2:5
Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

And, people should notice. People will notice.  They may not always like the difference or understand the difference but they will notice.  You may not be popular because of the difference.  You may not become famous or wealthy or be 'in style' because of the difference. Others may make fun of you because of the difference, not include you in their social circle, or invite you to go on vacation with them.  Your modesty, manners and unselfishness may be considered unbelievable or old fashioned!

John 15:19
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 1:10
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

And, alleluia! Your life will make sense.  You'll stop striving and start living. You will see things in a new light bringing new meaning for yourself and others.  Your success will be measured and stored for an eternal purpose. That purpose will mean more than anything in this world ever could.  You will dine with Him at His table. Oh, what a feast it will be!

And, someone will take notice of you, in the here and now.  Someone will notice the difference. You will stand out in the crowd.  That someone just might ask you why you are so different.  And, to Him, that someone makes all the difference!

I don't know about you, but I want to be just like that tree.....  Be radiant!

Psalm 20:4
May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,And fulfill all your purpose.

Luke 4:43
but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”

Acts 26:16
But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.