Trees and Grass

Psalm 1: 3

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.

Psalm 37: 1 – 2

Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

One of my neighbors cut down all of his trees because, he said, “They are killing my grass.” I thought, what a metaphor for life this is.

My neighbors are Christians, so I thought, “What does God say about trees and what does He say about grass?” The righteous person God compares to a tree. God takes that person and plants him where he will be nourished and have all the water he needs. Unlike grass, he will not wither but rather he will bear good fruit. In all he does, God causes him to prosper. But of course, he prospers because the Lord plants him beside the precious water.

What of the grass? God uses grass to represent evil people. They do not have strong roots going down into the rich soil. They are superficial and temporary. Trees are strong and steady yielding fruit year after year. The grass is gathered up and burned. Do you know how long it takes God to grow a tree? Years! Grass comes up quickly but has not root and so dies in the first trial by fire (See Mark 4).

There is a tree of life, while grass is associated with short, withering life. Trees are strong, grass is here today, gone tomorrow. Trees and grass are used in the Bible in contrast. We want to be God’s trees, not grass and in this way, I thought my neighbor’s value on grass over trees spoke, metaphorically, to our values compared with God’s.

I think that although we read the Bible and go to church we don’t always learn. Who among us has not read a book and failed to grasp the deeper meaning? Do we remember college English class? Still, the purpose in reading the Bible, reading devotionals and studying is not so that we can say we have read the Bible cover to cover. It is not so that we can fulfill a duty we feel towards God. Reading the Word is supposed to change us. We are supposed to begin to understand God’s values and absorb them into our bones.

This isn’t really about my neighbor’s trees, but you can see how it represents his value for the immediate versus long term gratification. The grass comes up quickly and is a pretty green. We can derive pleasure from it. However, six months of the year it is just brown and ugly. We will sacrifice the long-term pleasure of the tree for that quick hit of satisfaction. It is how we conduct our lives. How can a person take a chainsaw to something that took God twenty years to grow just so it doesn’t cast a shadow on the grass that sprouts quickly but just as quickly dies? That which God plants should cast a shadow and we should rest in that shadow because it symbolizes God’s outstretched arms shading us and keeping us from harm.

The Bible says God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55: 9) nor are our thoughts His thoughts but isn’t the point of Christianity that we should be becoming like Him? Isn’t that the point of transformation? 2 Corinthians 3: 18 reads, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” We learned in the book of Genesis that we were made in His image. Presumptively transformation is the process through which we reflect His image. If that is true, we should reflect His value system too.

The point is, we can sit in a church until Jesus comes back and never see this “from glory to glory” change. We can listen to a preacher and never let the Words penetrate our inner person and therefore, never come in synchronization with God’s thoughts, values and ways. We need to let the Word change us and that can only happen when we are serious about its transformative power and allow it to impact us.
Don’t be grass people. They wither and die. Be tree of life people firmly planted by the stream. Grow your roots deep in the rich loam of God’s Word. Be transformed through the renewal of your mind, by the renewal of your thinking. Think new thoughts. Think differently. Find out how the Father thinks and follow Him. Determine what He values and align your value system with His. This is not only the way of Christianity and faith. It is the way of love, success and peace. Shalom.


2 Corinthians 3: 18

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

I was thinking about this verse last week, so I looked it up. You know, it is even better than I remembered which is a lesson unto itself. Don’t rely on your memory when it comes to verses because, just as happened with me last week, Father will show you something new or deeper in it. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, not by having “heard” the Word. That is an important distinction.

Last week when I went to my Bible to look at the part about the mirror, I was captivated by the word transformed. When you look in a mirror, whose image do you see? Really, that is a bit of a trick question because you are being transformed, bit by bit, from glory to glory. So now, with that I mind, whose image do you see? If you said your own, you are right but if you said Jesus, then you are righteous. I remember one time telling a friend that Jesus looked good on her. It was funny how that came out but after some thought I realized that Jesus showing through is exactly what transformation should be.

After you are born from above, you begin a transformation process. We are supposed to be transformed through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12: 2). Of course, that is elective. You can be born again and become a Christian couch potato. God has called us to transformation though. Remember that He said to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2: 12). The Bible does not say, lay on the couch and I will rain salvation down on you and transform you while you watch TV. Nope.

As you enter into this transformative process of renewal by the Word of God, the image in the mirror begins to change. The image of you begins to blur a bit and a shadow image begins to emerge. Bit by bit, and from glory to glory the image in the mirror begins to look a lot more like Jesus and a whole lot less like the old you. Hallelujah!

And don’t miss the last bit of this verse. The glorious transformation of our former selves into a glorified version comes by the Lord, who is the Spirit. The mention of the Lord being the Spirit is relevant to the rest of the verse, but it also stands apart as its own revelation. Many of us have not quite figured out, beyond a theoretical sense, that the Holy Spirit is Lord. In the Old Testament believers called God, “Lord,” and they were not wrong. Today we call Jesus, “Lord,” and that is right but now comes the third revelation in the series. The Holy Spirit is Lord. He is God. So, the Holy Spirit, who is God and who is Lord, is the one who is transforming each of us into the very image of Jesus. You will increasingly become the Jesus version of yourself, the glorified version of yourself as you cooperate with the transformation process of the Holy Spirit. He in you, you in Him, forever. You become an amalgamation; no longer just the human, flesh version of yourself but forever a divine version of you and Jesus together as one. Isn’t that amazing? Joining with Jesus; branches grafted into the vine; this is our right and our divine destiny. Amen!