Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Red Maple

Beth Patch - Senior Internet Editor & Producer

Coming and going through my neighborhood, I’ve never noticed this particular tree. But this day — Wow! The afternoon sun shone the right amount of light, at the perfect angle, to bring this red maple from ordinary to stunning. I slowed down and admired its beauty.

The splendor of God’s creation could be seen in each slight variation as the distinct red shades of crimson, scarlet, and burgundy radiated in the sunlight.

It made me think of references to Jesus as light and His followers as those who have light to keep them from the darkness.

Then Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NLT)

Just as an ordinary tree becomes magnificent when the sunlight hits it a certain way, ordinary human beings become filled with the light of life through Christ. God gives us hope and it makes us confident. 

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. (Ephesians 1:18 NLT)

“And this hope does not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” (Romans 5:5 NLT)

As God’s children, the hope living within us is the Holy Spirit and has the power to bring hope to others. It is the Light. We bring light in a dark world when we follow the ways of Jesus Christ. We extend love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control — the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The evil in the world offers the opposite: hate, despair, chaos, impatience, ill will, cruelty, disloyalty, harshness, and instability.

Our Creator provides all we need to let the light of His redeeming love bring out the best in us - so we can stand out in this world and cause others to slow down to notice Him, His ways, His beauty.

On my commute the next day, I looked for the red maple. Couldn’t find it. The sky was overcast and it was back to blending in with the other trees. I was disappointed but not surprised. When the light is muted, so is the beauty of my neighborhood ... and our society.

Lord, help us surrender our pride and any other sin blocking Your light from shining brightly through us. You give us the power to be positive and holy examples. Help us shine each day and refuse to be satisfied with blending in. We cannot do it on our own and ask You to fill us anew with Your light. We agree to trust You and obey You. Please use us, Lord, to magnify Your beauty and cause others to slow down and see what You are all about. Build your Kingdom, oh Lord, with new hearts who are attracted to You — the Light of the world.

Copyright © 2019 Beth Patch, used with permission.

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