Just recently an impressive flowering tree caught my attention. It was covered in attractive blossom and stood out from the rest of the trees all around. For some reason I felt the need to take a closer look and I was shocked at what I found. The flowers did not belong to the tree at all but to a creeping shrub, which I think was a variety of clematis. As I looked underneath I could see that there was a fine mountain ash tree also in flower, although with more subtle colouring, but this was almost completely smothered by the creeping plant.
The clematis was growing from its own adjacent root but had been allowed to attach itself to the mountain ash, where it received support, twisting its spindly, vine-like stems around the strong branches of the tree. The tangled stems had pushed through and above the canopy of the main tree, almost completely blocking out the light below. From a distance, the flowers did look most attractive but in reality the mountain ash, which was the original planting, was being progressively choked to death; indeed only a small proportion of the tree was still visible to anyone viewing the landscape. The true nature of the underlying tree was being replaced by the creeping clematis.
I felt that the Lord was giving me a powerful picture of how tolerating false spirits within the Body of Christ can certainly result in an impressive show but will eventually bring about destruction of the true fruit of the Holy Spirit, as the light is gradually replaced by darkness. In Matthew 7:16, Jesus reminds us that the nature of any fruit depends on the reality of its roots. When a spirit is rooted in the kingdom of darkness it will inevitably display flowering and fruiting contrary to the character of Christ, even if it initially appears attractive and appealing. Isaiah 61:3 tells us that the planting of the Lord will only glorify Him. However, the planting of the enemy seeks to steal and destroy that glory.
Prayer: Father, in these challenging times, empower us to discern and nurture that flowering and fruiting in the Body of Christ which is truly rooted in You. Give us the courage to seek out Your planting, but to root out that which is contrary to Your nature, however attractive it may at first seem. Amen.
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