Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (Jn.8:32).
I remember as a boy how I use to love to climb trees. The
bigger the tree, the greater the challenge and the more thrilling it was to climb. I
remember how I would climb as high as I possibly could, often getting up to what would
seem to be very flimsy branches. I can remember how the limbs would sway and the breeze
would blow through my hair. I felt like I was in my own little world--it was a feeling of
freedom, a feeling of becoming part of the tree as it moved with the gentle brush of the
I now have a son who likes to do the very same thing. Though when he does, I stand below
him on solid ground looking up and thinking that he needs to come down a little bit. I
look at him high up in the tree and fear for his safety and get nervous for him--while he
remains completely unafraid. It seems I quickly forget how much I enjoyed the same thing
as a child.
I see God's Truth like a Great Tree to be climbed. It is a massive and challenging tree
that stretches into the sky. Each and every branch represents another part of God's
person, and the higher I climb and the more I stretch, the more I become one with
Him--holding tightly to Him--moving with Him as He moves.
As a child in Christ, as a new Christian, we may find that we like heights. We cannot wait
to get back up the tree of God's truth each and every day. We climb and climb, hoping to
discover something new about His person. With each stretch toward another branch we cling
more fervently to Him. The higher up we move, the more dependent we become upon Him to
support us. It is a feeling of freedom.
But as we get bigger the heights appear too high, and the risk appears too dangerous. Fear
begins to replace freedom and we find ourselves standing on the ground, looking up and
perhaps wondering what has made us afraid to climb the tree the way we did once upon a
time. And when we do get up the courage to climb, we cannot seem to bring ourselves to go
as high as we once did. We stop short of limbs we had once traversed, and we see no hope
of ever stretching beyond the place we have already been.
We, therefore, settle for the familiar. We climb to a point that feels comfortable, a
point that we can settle with because it fits our logic, our preconceived ideas or our
religious doctrines. We then live our lives never searching out the depths of who God is,
but settle for the pleasant familiar and miss out on so much that He has to offer.
To speak plainly; there are many things that God has yet to show us. There are many ways
to love Him, many ways to minister to others and many ways to live out our Christian life
that we have yet to begin to discover. We rob ourselves of true freedom by learning one
way to love, minister and live--then settling within the comfortable familiar, reluctant
to stretch any further.
We do not learn to walk with a walker in our infancy and then use one the rest of our
lives. In the same way, God does not teach us ways to walk in our Christian infancy that
we are to cling to throughout our Christian lives (see Heb.6:1-3). He wants us to move
beyond what is familiar and trust Him that he won't let us fall out of the tree.
God's truth is limitless. When we stop stretching beyond some part of the comfortable
truth, we begin to put our trust in that truth, understanding or doctrine (these are the
branches we rest on), and we begin to withdraw our trust from Him. God did not give us
doctrine so that we could walk in it, but doctrine is a spiritual walker to help us to
learn to walk in Him. It is not something to settle with, but something to help us move
beyond ourselves as we learn to abandon everything we have ever known--and trust
completely in our Lord.
Where do you want to be? Do you want to be the one who enjoys the freedom that comes from
being stretched by God's truth? Or do you want to be the one standing on the ground
looking up--wishing that those who are in the heights would come down a little bit so that
you feel more comfortable?
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity,
not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith
in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead,
and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so (Heb.6:1-3).