We have several beautiful oak trees in our front yard. They are all many, many years old, and they shade the front of the house. The squirrels loved the acorns that they dropped, and we raked like crazy in the fall when the leaves dropped from their branches.
Years earlier we had a cable run to unite the two trunks of the tree closest to the house so that it would not fall on the house if it split at its base. Recently, we called the experts in to look at the tree after huge limbs were dropped in the yard after a particularly strong storm and damaged the roof. This is what we were told: “The tree is disassembling itself.”
I had never heard of this situation, but it certainly seemed to describe what was going on in the front yard with this particular tree. So, we contracted with a tree service and they brought out a large bucket truck and began taking the tree down, piece by piece.
They clearly knew what they were doing. No huge branches hit the house and no one was injured on the ground. No branch hit anyone on the ground and the young man in the lift did not fall out! The limbs came down tethered and they descended to the ground with orchestrated precision.
Two and one-half hours later, the trunk of this over-60-foot-tall oak was the last remaining part of the tree, other than the stump, of course. The stump reveals the age of the tree, and it gives some indication of all the climactic events in its life.
The front of the house seems bare now that the tree is gone. I’m glad we will no longer have roof repairs made necessary from branches that pierced the roof when they fell or that upended shingles with the weight of the limb. Now, however, we will be able to have grass and flowers in the yard that were not possible because of the shade from the tree and because of the amount of water that the tree took out of the ground. Grass did not have a chance! Now, it does.
I began to wonder about my life. The tree was “disassembling” … are there areas in my life that I need to “disassemble”? Are there things that I have held on to for many years which are hindering my walk with the Lord Jesus Christ? Are there attitudes or emotions that are preventing me from having the full joy that the Lord desires for me? Are there things that have occurred which I have refused to forgive? Do I harbor resentment or ill-will toward another person?
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
This catalog of unrighteousness behavior that Paul writes for us in Romans 1 is certainly not the only negative behavior that scripture warns against, but it is comprehensive. We would surely agree that “murder” and “deceit” are evil and illustrative of unrighteousness. But I am somewhat more silent when I consider other unrighteous deeds committed by people who are “gossips”, “haughty, boastful”, “foolish” and “heartless”. Those attitudes and actions hit rather close to home, almost like the limbs of the tree hitting the roof of the house.
In John, chapter 8, men of the town brought a woman to Jesus who had been caught in adultery. They were accusing her and saying that she should be stoned. You will recall the story that Jesus heard this and wrote in the ground. Then we read this:
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
Beloved, disassemble those things that hinder your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Confess your sin and stop it. When you fail, confess your sin and stop it.
Ultimately, the Lord will help you conquer that besetting sin. You will have “disassembled” the tree of unrighteousness and can move forward in your life of faith without the hindrance of besetting sin dogging your trail.
Lord, I confess to you that there are many areas of my life that need to be “disassembled” through Your Word and Your Spirit. Give me the courage to do that which would enable me to walk according to Your Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit.