When we moved into our home nine years ago, there was an oak tree in the front yard. It was good for shade and really looked nice right in front of the house. As we moved in, the leaves were growing and greening. We really liked that tree.
Just a few weeks later, a friend stopped by to see our new place. As he was preparing to leave, he glanced at the tree and said, “That tree is dead.”
Seeing the very puzzled look on my face, he explained, “Look in the top of the tree.” I saw that the top foot or so had no leaves at all. The tree was dying from the top down. You could not tell it by looking at the base of the tree. But he was right.
About a year later, I chopped it down.
I fear that there are churches and Christians who resemble my old oak tree. From outward appearance, everything appears to be fine. But there is a problem. For one reason or another, there is no real life. They are not what they should be and without intervention, they are in trouble.
But there is the good news. There was no cure for my dying tree. It was terminal, and I needed to drop it before it fell on my garage. My only choice was to replace it with the flowering cherry tree that now stands in the same place. But churches and Christians can change! We can be renewed! We can be revived! We can be revitalized!
Here’s the thing: At any point in time, I can stray from God. I can choose my own way. I can ignore the teachings of the Bible and disobey God. And the problem is that we all do those things from time to time.
But God offers forgiveness when we are first saved and restoration when we wander. That is further proof of the grace and mercy of our God.
Are you where you should be in your relationship with God? Just like the father of the prodigal son, God waits for you to return. My advice is simple: Come back home.