I have been stalking the dogwood trees in the yard.

They are filled with buds, and I am eagerly awaiting the first pop of bloom. I can’t say that I am patient once spring begins to show her colors.

I noticed something in the trees this year, though. While they are full of buds, which precede the appearance of the blooms and new leaves, they still have leaves from last year scattered in their branches. Old, brown, dried up leaves, that should have made their exit well before Christmas hang tentatively as they blow in the spring breezes giving the trees a ragged look.

As I check the trees each day, I think about the old habits and attitudes that may still be hanging on me since my new birth as a Christian. Even though I have been following Christ for many years, I still find old, brown tendencies cropping up.

I believe this is what Paul was referring to when he wrote to the Ephesian believers.

Ephesians 4: 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

There comes a time when I must consciously choose to ‘put off’ or stop doing the old things, not always an easy task.

Before I can get rid of the wrong actions in my life, I must recognize these old leaves. This requires prayerful study of God’s Word. As the Holy Spirit reveals inconsistencies and sin in my life, I must ask Him to help me get rid of actions and attitudes not pleasing to Him.

Psalm 139: 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Sometimes, just like with the dogwoods, it takes the storm of trial to shake those leaves loose in my life. Other times, they are dislodged as God allows me to grow and bloom.

The important truth is that I don’t need the dead actions of my former life cluttering up my life as a believer. My life must focus on growing and becoming all that God sees me to be.

I know that God is actively working in my life, and just as I stalk the dogwoods, He is looking for blooms and rejoicing when I let go of the dead ways.

Colossians 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

Romans 12: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Photo, The Dogwood, Beth Mims


10 comments on “Stalking”
  1. Gary Fultz says:

    A good nature illustration. We have a red oak that did not shed it’s leaves last fall. All brown. It will be a couple months here before new buds push the old dead leaves off, I am eager to see the tree in green. It was -21 (f) when I got up so we have a ways before spring buds come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. gracespeaker says:

      Amazing the differing seasonal timelines in different parts of the country. I love this time of year in the south, but we are already feeling temperatures above my comfort level, which promises a HOT summer! Thanks for reading, Gary!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. pastorpete51 says:

    As the professional arborist in your group of readers I thought you might be interested to know that part of the process is not just wind. The last of those leaves drop as the new ones take their place!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. gracespeaker says:

      That is interesting to know. I guess I never noticed in the past. Thank you for sharing. Our trees seem stressed because of the dry seasons they have endured. I’m praying that we get more rain this summer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pastorpete51 says:

        And the neat thing about stressed trees, is that they produce more seeds in the Fall. It makes me think of how the Lord gives us grace to be more fruitful even in our stressed times and old age.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. gracespeaker says:

        Amen! Good thought!


  3. Beautiful analogy! We all have a few brown leaves to recognize and put off. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. gracespeaker says:

      Thank you for reading, Peggy.


  4. Great thoughts. Like you I am watching my red bud trees so eager to see the blooms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. gracespeaker says:

      I know! They are so beautiful!


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