We have this tree in our backyard that’s actually two different trees. Three quarters of the tree has beautiful pink blossoms, with leaves that are dark green and red with little berries that arrive during the summer months. But there is one quarter of the tree that is completely different. It has white blossoms in spring and bright green leaves. Last fall while standing on my back deck I noticed some rather large things hanging off that part of the tree. When I went out to investigate, I found apples, as big as you please dangling from the branches! Much to my surprise! We’ve lived in this house for six years and have never had apples before but there they were.
As I looked at the divided tree, I couldn’t help but think of my own life and how I can be so divided. There are areas in my life where I produce a decent amount of fruit and if you were to only see that side of me you would easily think my whole life was godly and fruitful. But take a look from another direction and you would see a completely different person.
That’s the side I don’t let too many other people see, but it’s there just the same. God sees it. He knows. It’s the selfish, bitter, prideful, resentful, self-seeking side that I like to ignore and pretend doesn’t exist.
But unfortunately, it’s there just the same.
There’s a reason the Bible warns against being divided.
Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1.6-8
It’s easy to justify and rationalize my behavior by only looking at the fruitful portion of my life. It’s beautiful. God is using me. I’m effective.
Then I think of my tree.
What if the whole tree was full of apples? What if I could enjoy not just one or two apples but a whole bushel full? The beauty of the tree is diminished by its dividedness.
And my beauty is diminished by my divided heart. God wants all of me, not just part. He wants a heart totally surrendered to Him. In Matthew 6.24, Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other.”
A heart with divided loyalty, isn’t loyal at all.
All the justifying in the world won’t make my heart devoted. Only complete surrender will remove the dividedness overtaking my heart.
Here I am again waving my white flag of surrender. Thank You for being so patient and persevering in my fickle following. I’m done doing battle with You. I’m done following my own way, while pretending to follow You. Remove. Remake. Remold. I’m Yours. Amen.