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Friday, 23 April 2021

Second Nature

A strange thing happened this morning.  I was in my workroom and thinking about putting another post up, wondering what to write about. Recently our son had clipped a dying conifer in our garden, and told us how to get new growth come into it. He knew all about gardening and had several years ago run his own gardening business.  New growth has started to come into it as we have continued to follow his instructions. 
As I sat in front of my computer pondering on what to post on my blog, I noticed one of my booklets that I had written called 'Days in my life'. I felt to open it and opened straight to something I had written called  'Second Nature'.  I put this post up a few years ago and have decided to put it up again as it also speaks about a dying tree being brought back to life.


The tree had appeared to be dying and was almost completely brown on one side.  It was a conifer, originally bright green in colour, which I had planted in front of the window not long after we had moved into our last house and I liked it very much.    'Cut it down' my husband had said when it first began to turn brown late in Summer 2004, but I had not wanted to and had left it alone over the Winter months. 

Now it was February 2005 and I noticed tiny green shoots sprouting from both trunk and dry brown branches and I was overjoyed, not only because the tree was not going to die, but because I was being taught something by the Lord through the tree just when I desperately needed it.

Sometimes it can be extremely hard to focus on the Spiritual when the carnal mind will constantly focus on the flesh, and many times we will look negatively on ourselves and one another because of this, dwelling more on the old sinful nature instead of the new creation which is forming within us.

Eagerness to learn comes as 'second nature' to me but God has a principle when teaching us and it is 'line upon line, precept on precept'.  'It would be like throwing the whole of the Oxford dictionary at you at once' said my digital imaging course tutor when I had wanted to know something that I was not ready to learn.

There had been many areas in my life, and still are, where I felt I had failed in my Christian walk and most of the self condemnation had grown out of dwelling on what needed to be changed instead of what the Lord had already done in me.  I had not actually realized this until the incident with the tree brought it to my attention.

I was being reminded not to fix my gaze on the old me and my human capabilities, but to look at the new spiritual creature that God was creating through Jesus and all the benefits that came with being a child of God.  As far as God was concerned, that old creature was dead.  Verse 16 of 2 Corinthians ch.5 tells us not to regard anyone from a human point of view, and verse 13 of Colossians ch.2 tells us that though we were once dead in trespasses, we have been made alive with Christ.  Human mind and eyes will limit what is possible both in personal salvation and prayer by focusing on the old creation instead of the new.  

As a new creation in Christ Jesus all things are possible to him who believes. Mark ch.9 v.23  Just as it says in Genesis chapter 25 v.5 'Abraham left everything he owned to his son Isaac', in Jesus I inherit all things given to Him by God.  My part is to put on my new nature by allowing God to renew my mind in His Son Jesus so that I have the mind of Christ.

Colossians ch. 3 describes both natures as follows:-

Old nature
Fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness which is idolatry, anger, wrath, malice, slander and foul talk.   

New nature
Compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience, forbearing one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive.  And above all these put on love.  

We are encouraged in Ephesians ch.4 v.22 - 24 to 'Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the Spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.'

Just as with my tree the new green shoots were gradually replacing the old dead wood, so too am I gradually being conformed to the image of my creator.

The following is a poem that I wrote at that time, reflecting my self condemnation and the Lord's encouragement to me to concentrate on my 'second nature' rather than my first.  

Look and see

All that look - that look on me
see only here a dying tree
In brittle branch and withered wood
they find no beauty - see no good
perceiving just what would have been
if You had not come on my scene

But shoots of green they do not see

new budding leaves that struggle free
from lifeless form that once was me
For carnal mind and human eyes
both dwell and gaze on all that dies
and in this chrysalis of tree
will fail to see eternity

Oh all that look - look again at me

look now through eyes of faith and see
the hand of Jesus Christ - God's Son
gaze on the work that's being done
See miracle of power to save
a soul once destined for the grave

This Saviour whom my heart does love

has come from God on wings of dove
to change my destiny of strife
and bring to me eternal life
So look again upon this tree
see everywhere new greenery
Don't look upon the dying wood
See my Saviour's beauty - see my Saviour's good

'Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.'  2 Corinthians ch.4 v.16' 


Fundy Blue said...

Thank you for posting this lovely analogy, something I can really grasp and remember. It was exactly what I needed to hear this morning, Brenda!

Aritha said...

Thank you so much. I've read your comment on my blog and came to read your analogy. I love it. Thank you so much. It is a good lesson.

Wise Hearted said...

Yours is the second post I have read on blooming again, and I so needed to read both of them. Blessings on you.

Sandi said...

I was just reading that closing verse this morning! There are no coincidences with God...

❤️ This hit home today. Thank you!

Brenda said...

Hi Louise,
so glad that it encouraged you. Hope Terry is doing well, glad to read in your previous post that he is improving. God bless you and Terry with all that Jesus has for you, all things are possible with Him, and it was nice to hear about you mother's near death experience. I can identify with her after having my NDE.

Brenda said...

Hi Aritha,
glad you enjoyed it, I hope your lovely wallflowers are thriving. God bless you and continue to share all that God gives you to share on your lovely blog.

Brenda said...

Hi Wise hearted, nothing is coincidence with the Lord, time and distance mean nothing to Him. I must come over and read your blog tomorrow, and look at your posts, I think I have been over to it before. God bless you with all He has for us in Jesus.

Brenda said...

Hi Sandi,
I have just written those same words regarding nothing being coincidence to Wise Hearted before I even read your comment. How amazing is that - God knows all things we do. God bless you Sandi. It is always lovely to hear from you. Hope you are keeping well. :-)

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
Praise the Lord that He makes us a new creation in Him! Thank you for this uplifting post -- just what I needed to remind me that the Master Gardener knows just how to prune us from time to time so that we bear more fruit for Him. We need not be discouraged with the dead wood, for all things come alive in Him. God bless you Brenda,

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie, I loved the way you used, 'the master gardener' to describe the Lord. Because I used to play chess along time ago I have always thought of Him as the Master chess player Who moves all the chess pieces around to win the game. There are lovely spiritual terms we can use to describe Him. God bless you.

Susan said...

Brenda, another beautiful poem! I love my garden. Recently I am battling (and losing) against voles. They are small rodents that look like a cross between a mouse and a hamster. They are voracious and are destroying almost all my most lovely plants! My clematis was as tall as I am and has been cut down to a nub on the ground and might not survive. I moved it to another spot but I don’t know if it will come back...hopefully it will, Lord willing. We are going to shop for garden plants soon. Hubby says I can buy Lenten roses. They are beautiful and voles don’t like them. The garden has taught me so much about God’s care for us and the earth, and brings to mind His first garden at the beginning of creation. 🌺🌸

Saleslady371 said...

Brenda, I love this post and the beautiful poetic words at the end. It fills me with so much hope to look at nature and see growth and re-growth where it looked dead at one time. I like the way you applied it to your own walk of faith. God bless you.

Brenda said...

Hi Susan,
so sorry to hear that your plants are being destroyed by voles, I don't have a problem with flowers. Our son built us a raised flower bed which has all kinds of shrubs and flowers flourishing in it, I don't know if that kind of flower bed would help you in your garden. When you and your hubby go to the garden centre ask the people their for help, as there are certain natural things that can help. Don't forget to get those roses:-) When we lived in another home there were lots of cats used to come into out garden. I love cats and we have always kept them, but were told to put orange peel around and it would keep the cats from other houses away from out garden, it worked perfectly. Who knows, it might even work with voles? Thank you for your kind comment, it is always lovely to hear from you. God bless

Brenda said...

Hi Mary,
I have always loved gardening, wherever we have lived, and always seem to see the references to scriptures in them for some reason. It is weeding time at the moment here, and have to remove what we call weeds from both the garden and my walk with the Lord. The dandelion is actually a wild chrysanthemum, but will spread like wildfire if we leave it until the pretty flower has gone and the 'clock' comes. God bless you Mary and thank you for your kind comment.

Susan said...

Hi Brenda, about voles, there are many videos and websites that give helpful suggestions. That’s how I found out about Lenten roses...which aren’t really roses at all but are very beautiful. Also one site recommended putting wire mesh at bottom of a raised bed when you first build it so voles cannot get through, or getting wire mesh baggies around roots of plats as you plant them. It gave me some ideas. I loved that clematis plant. They really crushed my spirit by taking that one down. It had over a dozen flower buds on it. My hubby said “Don’t worry, we can get another one. 😢 But in about two or three weeks we are going to get new plants. Looking forward to what we can find. ❤️

Brenda said...

Hi Susan,
sounds like you are a very good gardener, and have a very good hubby. They were great ideas that you found on the internet. Like you, I am a fanatic about flowers :-) I think you have a very nice garden to look forward to. God bless.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Great analogy.

God bless, Brenda.

Brenda said...

Thanks Victor,
God bless you too.

Debbie said...

i am a lover of all plants and all of the great outdoors, this was a wonderful analogy!! sorry about the voles, they can be such a problem. it is not always easy to grow a fruitful garden, but it is always worth it!!

Brenda said...

Hi Debbie, it's not me that has a problem with the voles, it is Susan:-)

Aritha said...

I have read it for the second time. Sometimes it is good tot read it more often. Now it is more beautiful to me. Thank you Brenda.

My friend showed me a picture of her houseplant. It is growing! The plant was in too dark a place in the room. Now in full light on the windowsill it grows. There is also a spiritual lesson in that, isn't it?

Brenda said...

Hi Aritha, yes there is a very positive spiritual lesson in your friend's story of her houseplant. I love the way that stories in our lives are signs that accompany the Word of God and that we can have a wonderful way of learning God's ways and understanding His thoughts through them. We are all slowly being transformed into His likeness, praise our beautiful Saviour Jesus.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen Brenda -- He is the Master of all things. Gardener, chess master, orchestra composer and conductor, sculptor -- so many metaphors that could shed light on Who He is and what He does. God bless you.

Brenda said...

That's right Laurie, I love the way He can speak to us through both His Word and His creation. God bless you.

shayndel said...

Beautiful post! So much in it and so well expressed. The part that spoke to me today is about self-condemnation and was very encouraging to read , Encouraged to get off of focusing on the old creation and shift by focusing on the new. Blessings and Love. Enjoy the new coming to life on your tree and being new in all things in your life in Christ!❤️

Brenda said...

Hi Shayndel, thank you for your kind comment, all glory to our lovely Lord regarding what He gives us to share. Yes, new things have come through being part of the body of Christ on earth, and our new growth comes through our having access to the mind of Christ. God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda, Praise the Lord that He loves us enough to communicate with us through His Word and His creation, among other ways. God bless you.

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
yes indeed, praise our lovely Lord for a love that is beyond understanding in the minds of mankind. God bless you too.