My husband and I planted a weeping cherry tree approximately 3 years ago. Around this time of the year, new leaves begin to bud. This is typically when we notice branches that are not producing, and we know they have died off. We have had to prune these branches every year since planting. Which makes our tree appear as if no growth has taken place.
We’ve learned the benefit of cutting these dead branches immediately. As the tree itself puts energy into keeping the dead branches alive, as well as putting energy into the good branches. Once the dead branches have been removed, the tree can now focus on its overall health of the healthy limbs- not the sick ones too.
I pondered how long I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on my own unhealthy and healthy thoughts. Many days I feel I’m doing well. But then thoughts can overwhelm me within mere moments. Thoughts of doubts, insecurities, anxieties and fears, anger and offenses to name a few. And when I view my thoughts in light of our weeping cherry tree, they are but dead branches I’m trying to keep alive. It’s definitely sickening when revealed in this manner.
It’s not like I, or any other person for that matter, want to think of holding onto something dead or putting all energy into unhealthy thoughts. But it’s no wonder it’s a struggle to try to keep my good thoughts alive and well.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.Proverbs 17:22 (NLT)
“Heart” and “inner spirit” here also means spirit or soul (otherwise known as mind, will, and emotions). This isn’t an invitation for both unhealthy and healthy thoughts to dwell. Consider it one or the other. If not careful to remove the unhealthy thoughts from the depths of my soul, then a slow fade of death can choke out all other healthy thoughts. For death (sin) and life cannot coexist.
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.Romans 6:6-11 (NLT)
With this in mind, it is no wonder warning is presented to cut off dead branches immediately. I, myself, no longer want to waste anymore energy on these dead thoughts. The thoughts that are originated by the enemy to steal, kill and destroy. I want every ounce of energy, Christ has already gifted to me, to be poured into healthy thoughts and an overall healthy being. After all, I’m already promised that Jesus’ purpose is to give a rich and satisfying life in Him (John 10:10).
So this poses the question, “How can I overcome those damaging, dead thoughts?”. By simply yielding to the Lord. Once those thoughts creep in, I am encouraged to “take captive every rebellious thought and teach them to obey Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 2:10:5). And in surrendering every single thing to Him, I can trust that He will prune away that which doesn’t bring me life.
I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. ..Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.John 15:1-2, 4 (NLT)
New healthy leaves (thoughts and livelihood) are sure to bud the more I yield to Him. Rather than have my life appear to be a bigger more fuller tree with dead branches in it, I would much rather allow my life to be pruned and allow my energy to be spent on new growth.
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God- truly righteous and holy.Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT)