Buds, Blossoms & Dead Leaves
By Guest Writer Barbara Latta
Week of October 10, 2021
My eyes devoured the beauty of the fall trees on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Orange, red, yellow, and purple swathed the mountainside in a palette of color.
As I looked over the valley between the mountains, the wind blew leaves in front of my face. I captured one and admired its brilliant hue. I saw firsthand that the life-giving source in the branches ceased after nature’s purpose had been accomplished. The season’s clock told the forest to make room for new spring growth.
Form a New Image
Just like in this reflective moment, wrong beliefs can latch onto us like a dry leaf. Our emotions and lives can even gather dead leaves. Habits and mindsets that are familiar to us can cause us to place our security in them. But new growth cannot begin until the old is detached and discarded. Just like the tree that stopped nourishing its many old leaves, we need to let go of all that does not align with God.
Limiting God’s influence in our lives will hinder us from following His will and experiencing victory over obstacles. Living in doubt regarding the abilities the Father has given us can paralyze us. But when we are willing to grow, we can bloom and not produce dead leaves; because expansion brings new opportunities.
God’s Word instructs us in Isaiah 54:2-3a TPT that “Increase is coming, so enlarge your tent and add extensions to your dwelling. Hold nothing back! Make the tent ropes long and the pegs stronger. You will increase and spread out in every direction.”
So, to grow and develop new opportunities, we need to release leaves of doubt and insecurity. Transforming old ways of thinking to God’s way places us on the path to enlarging our boundaries and removing limitations. Then, we will experience a new bloom of life.
Remove the Limits
On the contrary, Psalm 78:41 TPT refers to the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. It says, “Again and again they limited God, preventing him from blessing them. Continually they turned back from him and provoked the Holy One of Israel!”
The Lord didn’t want them to stay in the desert for forty years, but their inability to believe Him for bigger and better things stopped their progress.
Ephesians 3:20 AMPC reveals that God is for us by saying, “Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams].”
So, God’s power lives within us, but it’s up to us to allow that power to work and develop in and through us by faith and obedience. His plan doesn’t automatically happen simply because He desires it.
Likewise, in Matthew 13:58, we learn that Jesus did many miracles and healed the sick, lame, demon-possessed, and lunatic. But unbelieving people limited what Jesus could do for them. His ability was always there, but the ones He ministered to had to reach out and accept what He offered. If they didn’t get healed or delivered, it wasn’t His fault.
Change Involves Risk
It can be hard to take steps that feel risky, but without exercising this level of faith, everything stays the same. Because growth requires transition.
In 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV, we read about the story of Jabez. It says:
Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name, Jabez saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that your hand would be with me, and that you would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.
We see here that Jabez asked Jehovah to help him escape the legacy of his name, which means “sorrow-maker” (AMPC version) and “to grieve” (Strong's #3258). Jabez didn’t succumb to the label bestowed upon him at birth. Instead, he sought to rise above it, so God could birth new life through him. Dissatisfaction with his familiar environment urged Jabez to seek advancement.
Jabez faced what felt like risk by voicing his request. Leaving his family and home may have been a requirement to escape the limitations placed on him by his family. Still, he was willing to move forward and ask God to give him new territory and not cause pain to anyone, including himself (1 Chron 4:10 AMPC).
This doesn’t mean we all have to leave home for the Lord to accomplish something in our lives. But cutting ties with people who pull us down removes the atmosphere of peer pressure tied to outgrown identities and performance. While surrounding ourselves with wise mentors separates us from limited understanding and pushes us forward to unseen heights.
When we allow labels from others’ words to stick to us throughout our lives, those impressions can affect what we think and how we act. When this happens, we are agreeing with the label instead of agreeing with what the Bible says. Jabez escaped the name placed upon him at birth, because he didn’t submit to its meaning.
God is so good, and He wants us to live an unlimited life aligned with Him. There is no end to His knowledge, goodness, love, mercy, creativeness, and wisdom. Our Father has placed gifts into each of us, but without stepping out and allowing Him the freedom to work, these talents will remain dormant, and the circle of influence we have will be hindered.
Friends, when we expand our minds, stretch out our stakes, and lengthen our cords, we will grow a bouquet of buds and blossoms and will not gather dead leaves and sticks.
God invites us to leave the ungodly familiar behind and answer the call to reach beyond ourselves toward a new pathway of living.
Pray with me if you will…
Show me those things in my life that have no purpose for me any longer. Help me to receive Your wisdom to know how to expand my horizons, enlarge my tent, and stretch out my stakes. Help me to not put limits on what You want to do in my life.
In Jesus’ Mighty Name.
To God be the glory.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ.