A few weeks ago I stood under a large sixteen metre gum tree with an arborist and local council officer. I couldn’t fault anything with the tree… but then again, I don’t known anything about trees. The two professionals were so alarmed by the tree that they created an exclusion zone around the tree and ordered for it to be cut down immediately.

I returned when the tree was cut down to see what all of the fuss was about. The base of the tree was rotten to within fifteen cm of the outside bark. You could put your foot into the heart of the tree and scrape out the termites nest that was happily eating away at the base of the tree. Now I understood. A tree that looked perfectly healthy on the outside was actually rotting on the inside.

John Piper, in a recent post, said “It is sheer madness to believe in God and live a lie.” At the heart of this comment is the idea that we can take on the look and feel of a Christ-follower while happily allowing something to eat us away from the inside. If you’ve felt this way (and it’s very easy to be like this), here are some thoughts.

Stop hiding behind your reputation.

If you are a Christian, you believe that you are a sinner who received God’s forgiveness through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ. News flash: you are not a good person! Christians are not some topiary carefully crafted in the palace garden. Christians are gnarled bushes that God has mercifully redeemed for his own glory.

Start with simple faith.

Scripture tells the story of Nicodemus, a man who invested himself wholeheartedly in the study and application of the Scriptures. His questions to Jesus revealed that he missed the big picture. Faith is the starting point for a relationship with Jesus.

share this article

About Jeremy Kwok

Jeremy grew up in Sydney before moving to the United States for tertiary studies. Jeremy completed the BA, MA (History), and M.Div degrees before returning to Australia with his wife Debbie. He currently works for Christian Education Ministries, a company that owns and operates private schools.