Last year we noticed some unusual black growth on some of the branches on the beautiful Schubert chokecherry tree in our front yard. It did not take long to learn that it was a kind of fungus or blight that infects trees in the chokecherry family. We found out that it is important to prune off any branches that are diseased just as soon as possible and dispose of them carefully as it is transmitted by wind-borne spores. So we got busy and cleaned it up as quickly as possible.
Well, this spring there were more signs of the blight on our precious tree. So we went at it again. Every week or so we see another branch or two starting to swell up and turn color. We watch it carefully and prune it whenever we see any sign of disease, hoping that we can keep it healthy. If the fungus is not removed, eventually it will take over the tree completely and the tree will die.
I cannot help thinking about how much that is like our lives as Christians. All around us there is a spiritual fungus or blight that affects us. It is called sin. Sometimes that sin takes hold in our lives and creates a blight in some area of our life. It is so important to be alert to the things that are causing spiritual disease in us and deal with them and prune them out as quickly as possible. If left untreated, the blight will grow and spread until it takes over our lives.
We need to daily examine ourselves to see if there is anything that is affecting our spiritual life and the health of our relationship with God. If we neglect it, it will only spread until it begins to suck the very life from us. But, the other side of this is that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
I do not know how successful we will be at saving our chokecherry tree over the next few years, but I have every confidence in the spiritual realm that God will not fail. The verse above gives us the assurance we need as we deal with the sin that infects our lives on a daily basis.
Gordon Rowland has been a Missionary-Pastor with Village Missions of Canada for over 35 years. Gordon and his wife Val have lived and served in Clive since 2001. They have four children and nine wonderful grandchildren.