The upside is that having so many trees provides lots of shade and beauty. The downside is that they also shed limbs, leaves, and similar detritus incessantly. Even worse, they periodically die and present a danger to all who pass beneath them.
Often times, my wife, my son, and I will simply work together to cut any such dead or dying trees down. But doing so still leaves the stump and any underlying roots. Over time, such stumps can and will sprout new growth; and the tree will simply grow a fresh trunk and accompanying set of limbs. For this reason, we have learned that it is imperative to grind the stumps of downed trees and remove the underlying life forces that might otherwise allow them to spring forth in new growth.
Thus, the man who came today not only helped us cut down four dead and/or dying trees, he also brought a grinder and removed the stumps and associated roots of each tree. Thereafter, we cut and sawed the felled trunks, limbs, and branches, and set about burning them.
Just as the sun began to set on the horizon, the last of our fires were dying out. After dousing the remaining coals, I took a quick walk around the yard and smiled with tremendous satisfaction at the day’s accomplishments... No more unsightly dead and/or dying trees. No more danger of falling limbs. More than this, no more stumps, and thus, no more chance of old problems reasserting themselves through new growth from old foundations.
As I reflected on all of this, I was reminded of just how important it is to address the root problem of any issue. More times than I wish to admit in my life, I dealt with issues without truly addressing the root causes which produced them. Looking back, I freely admit that I wish I would have had the courage to go a little deeper and work to resolve the underlying sources at play.
After all, is this not what our Lord and Savior did on our behalf? The biggest issue we each face in life is our own sinfulness. While the sacrificial system of the Old Testament addressed the issue of our outward sinful acts, it never really went deep to address the root cause – which is our inward sinful nature.
By contrast, when Jesus came to give His life as an atonement for our sins, He was addressing not just our outward sinful acts, but also our inward sinful nature. He was thus going much deeper, all the way to the root of our problem. This is why the Bible tells us that, in Christ, we are each a whole new creature with a whole new nature.
Given this, surely the satisfaction I feel tonight at having labored so successfully to overcome the source of unwanted tree growth in my residence, as pleasing as it is, still pales in comparison to the satisfaction I have at knowing that Christ has successfully worked to overcome the source of unwanted sinfulness in my heart!
As He hung on the cross, Jesus cried “It is finished!” By this, He meant His work, His ministry, and His mission. But ultimately, He also meant the recurrent power of sin.
As many an evangelist has put it, Christ has saved me: 1) from the penalty of sin – via eternal punishment in torment warranted by sin; 2) from the power of sin – via the Holy Spirit presently within me Who enables me to overcome sinful temptations; and 3) one day, even from the very presence of sin - via deliverance from it for all eternity in the company of Jesus Christ Himself!
NOTE: The concept of deliverance from the penalty, the power, and the presence of sin has been promulgated by innumerable preachers. A quick Google search will suffice to demonstrate the sheer number of such occurrences.