Gerald Elliot wrote, “Have you ever seen a bonsai tree? The best ones have all the features and appearances of a fully-grown tree, but only have a small fraction of the size. Some of you have seen my collection of trees.
"I have two varieties of olive trees. They are several years old, but remain in small pots, and are only about twelve inches high. I have a Texas ebony tree that I dug on the banks of the Rio Grande just a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico. These trees were no different from any other trees when they began to grow.
"I have kept them miniature by regularly clipping and pinching off their limbs. When I potted them, I cut off most of their roots, and now, every two years I must repeat that process. Their small pots greatly limit their root development. Because of their limited root system, these trees would die in one day without water.
"Bonsai trees are pretty for decoration, interesting to look at, but they are not good for much else. My Texas ebony will never shade my house, nor will I ever eat an olive from the olive trees. Some Christians are like bonsai trees. Their spiritual growth has been stunted.”
We are instructed in Philippians 2:12 to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.”
“Work out” is referring to the working out of a problem in mathematics, that is, carrying it to its ultimate goal or conclusion.
This is something we must do in our growth in grace. It speaks of an effort of cooperation with the Holy Spirit, enabling us to grow and mature in Christ-likeness.
“At first, the babe is carried, but the time comes when it must learn to use its own feet. So with the saint, who has to develop his graces and subdue his lusts. The ‘lambs’ Christ carries in His bosom (Isaiah 40:11), but the ‘sheep’ are required to follow Him (John 10:27).”
Pastor David Arnold
Gulf Coast Worship Center
© 2012 Rev. David Arnold Ministries, All rights reserved.