The Palm Tree Christian
I've always had a fascination with palm trees. One of the reasons why I like them so much is that you can find most of them in warm, tropical climates and that's my kind of weather. I prefer warm weather over cold any day! It's great being able to go outside in shorts and a t-shirt instead of wearing so many layers of clothing you start looking like the Michelin Man!
I've been thinking about palm trees for some time now and the similarities they have with being a Christian. I want to share with you what I have discovered in my search comparing the two.
There are thousands of species of palm trees. They are thought of by many as being tropical in nature, but most people aren't aware that cold hardy palms may be planted outside without any damage visible from temperatures as low as -20F. These types of palm trees can be found as far north as Canada and Switzerland. Protecting them from the cold is the key to their survival. There are some problems that can arise from the cold weather.
Cold Hardy Palm Tree Problems That The Cold Winter Weather Can Cause
- Their growth rates decrease during severe cold winters.
- Their rootball development slows down.
- The extreme cold temperatures could weaken Palm Trees immune system and they become a more likely candidate for diseases and bugs to disease and insect.
This can be compared to how we deal with the 'extremes' of life.
- There are thousands of people who call themselves 'Christians'. Just by saying you are doesn't always make you one. Hitler himself even said he was a 'Christian' and look at what kind of life he led.
- Does your growth in Christ slow down when the storms of life hit you?
- How about your 'roots'? Do they go deeper or does the development of them slow down too?
- When the 'extreme' struggles and trials of life come your way, how do you react to them?
- Do you allow yourself to be weakened inside and let the 'bugs' of this world infiltrate you?
- What is your reaction?
Hebrews 12:1 ~ "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
The Date Palm
Here are some characteristics of the Date Palm Tree.
- It has a rough textured trunk with a feathery widespread canopy.
- The leaves ascend into the center and down curving towards the outside.
- This gives it a stiff formal appearance.
- One of the oldest cultivated fruit crops, it has long been harvested for it's succulent, fleshy fruit which is a staple food for many people across North Africa and Arabia.
Let's compare how this type of palm tree relates to us.
- How do others see you?
- Are you 'rough textured' on the outside?
- Have you built a wall around you so that no one can get in?
- Perhaps you are rough on the outside to look 'tough', yet inside you are crying.
- Do you only ascend deep into the center of yourself and forget about the others around you?
- Are you bearing fruit for others to see?
We all tend to be rough on the outside at times. A situation arises in our lives that is so hurtful or devastating, that we build a wall around ourself so as to not ever be hurt in this way again. We come across as being tough and strong, while deep down inside we know different.
Proverbs 12:25 ~ "Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, but an encouraging word makes it glad."
The Canary Island Date Palm
Here are some characteristics of the Canary Island Date Palm Tree:
- A very stately and large palm tree that most often reaches sizes that are much too massive for most residential landscapes.
- It is so slow-growing that it takes quite a long time for it to reach it's height of between 50 - 60 feet tall.
- They are so enormous in size they are the center of attention.
- They are tough and durable.
- They have a leaf scar pattern on it's trunk which adds to it's impressive look.
- It's important that a young one is taken care of, especially if it's planted in a barren area.
What are the similarities of the Canary Island Date Palm to the Christian life?
- Are you so stately and large in your own estimation that you tower over others around you?
- Are you slow growing in your faith?
- Do you strive to be the center of attention in all that you do?
- Are you tough and durable on the outside, yet inside, you are fragile and weak?
- Many, if not all of us, have 'scars' we have accumulated along the pathway of life. Some 'scars' are evident to others, and some you cannot see. For instance, the 'scar' of unforgiveness. Do you hang onto it, or do you let it go?
- For the new Christians, do you take the time to help them grow in their faith or do you just let them 'wing it' on their own?
Romans 12:3 ~ "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God had distributed to each of you."
The Queen Palm Tree
Here are some characteristics of the Queen Palm Tree.
- This palm is known for the spectacular clusters of flowers and fruits it produces.
- The flower clusters burst open from large pods in the summer, and in early winter, the green fruit clusters appear.
- The fruit will eventually hang in clusters up to six feet in length.
- The dead fronds are persistent and often require pruning to remove them.
- The trunk is very susceptible to decay.
- Prevent injury to the trunk by keeping grass away from it.
How does this palm tree relate to living the Christian life?
- Are you producing fruit in your life?
- If so, is your fruit evident for all to see?
- The 'dead fronds' or in other words, the sin that's in our lives, it needs to be pruned and removed from us.
- If we allow sin to permeate our hearts and lives it will lead us to decay and ruin.
- In order to protect us from injury, we need to keep the sin away.
Colossians 1:10 ~ "So that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God."
Palm trees are so very resilient when the storms come. For example, during a hurricane. The gale force winds treacherously hammer away at them, yet they bend with great ease as they seem to bow down. Their fronds (leaves) flutter as if they are dancing to a song they know so well. When the winds subside, they return to their upright and stately manner in which they first started out.
Are you a palm tree Christian? Do you bend when the storms in life come or do you break under the pressure? The storms in life will come our way, but knowing that God is protecting us we can be assured that we will be safe.
Psalm 1:1-3 ~ "Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked, or stand in the way that sinners take, or sit in the company of mockers. v.2 But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. v.3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither ~ whatever they do prospers."
Psalm 92:12 ~ "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar in Lebanon."