I love the story of Pablo Casals, the world’s greatest cellist, who at the age of 93 still practiced four hours a day. When a reporter asked Casals why he practiced the cello four hours a day at the age of 93, Pablo replied, “Because… I think… I’m making… some progress.”
[tweetable] Are we making any progress in our walk with God? So many people try to live on “stale grace.” We try to live on a relationship with God that we had ten or twenty years ago. The Bible teaches us that one of the ways that we’ll know if we are making progress in our walk with God is if we are bearing fruit. Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you will bear much fruit.” (John 15:5)
In this week after our election, our divided nation needs mature people of faith who exhibit the nine fruit of the Spirit that the Apostle Paul describes in Galatians 5: 22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The Biblical writers describe people who are making progress on their journey of faith as “Cedars of Lebanon.” Cedar was the most sought after wood in the ancient near east. King Solomon used it to build the Temple in Jerusalem, and builders used it to line closets and storage chests. It would repel insects, and it was fragrant, and durable, too.
The cedar tree had four qualities that made it so desirable. The cedar tree is a metaphor for making progress in our faith. Take an inventory and see if you have these four qualities in your life:
- Deep roots – the tenacious roots of the cedar tree dig deep below the soil to find nourishment.
- Stand tall – the cedar is the tallest tree in Palestine. This is why the Vikings used it as the mast for ships and why Solomon used it as beams for building the temple in Jerusalem.
- Wide leafy branches – The cedar’s branches provide shade for weary travelers and animals.
- Healing sap – It is amazing that if a cedar branch breaks off in a storm, the healing sap in the tree flows to the spot, and a new branch grows back even stronger than the former one.
One of the ways we will know that we are making progress on our journey with Jesus Christ is if we have the four qualities of a cedar of Lebanon. Our nation needs leaders who exhibit these qualities.