Ever miss the point entirely, even while striving, jaw-set hard, to get the needed wisdom? (Like I just did?)

Sometimes a message lies “hidden” in a forest’s configuration, like the 1943* date (planted in pines) my dad used to point out as we drove along a hill opposite it. Standing amongst its tree trunks, you couldn’t discern it. At all. But in the wide view it stood out bold.

Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees.

Sometimes in a fog like today’s** it’s hard enough just to see the nearby oaks and maples.

What to do about such blindness, when it comes to spiritual matters?

  • Ask Him Who sees it all, to reveal what He wants you to see.
  • Listen to all he says: Yes, get every detail
  • But also don’t neglect His panoramic view. Don’t lose sight of the forest by just analyzing bark on one or two trees. Like I did…

It was a study on “Put off, put on,” Colossians 3:5,8-9a,12,14.

It focused on specifics. Put off these behaviors and attitudes. And these. Then, put these on. Like renovating-and-redecorating. Or improving personal appearance by stripping off uglies and putting on pretties instead.

After an overview, we focused on Colossians 3:5’s particular uglies, to decide:

1) Which sin do you think gives women the most trouble?

2) How can we put it off or counteract it?

And our teatime tables became round tables of discussion, brainstorming human thoughts and possible solutions.

Single solutions, for a single ill. Us looking horizontal. As at single trees.

It wasn’t till we were breaking up the gathering, people all busy putting things away, that my fog cleared and I saw I’d totally missed the point, the crucial principle, His bigger picture. The big important, all-encompassing thing we’re supposed to put on that takes care of all the particular ills.

I needed to consider how all the individual “trees” (details), fit into their forest

At home alone later, I did. 

Several quite different individual “trees” stood right there amongst the scrutinized ones, in Colossians 3:9-11,15-17 — revealing a Bigger Picture. Can you see it?

The important clue word, “therefore” finally got my attention, too — right at the beginning of our first scripture passage! (Col 3:5), reminding me not to lose the connection of what follows it with the concepts that went before.  

So I looked at Colossians 3:3-4 — then backed up even further… to get the still larger view, to 2:18, and read from there right up to Chapter 3 (Col 2:18-3:1) Hm.

What about the context of the whole epistle? Jumping to the book’s beginning, I skimmed to get the whole panorama. There, certain high points stuck out for me, like 1:6b in Col 1:4-6, and verse 8, and 9, and 11, and 12. And 13… and 18… and 21-22… and 27…. and verse after verse after verse (Col 1:8-9,11-12,10,13,18,21-22,27).

Where’s the power?

There’s this one little phrase, two words, five letters, repeating like a mountain top call-and-echo through the entire book.   _ _   _ _ _  (Hint: Col 1:17,19;2:6,7,9,10,11.)

Those two words show what Big Remedy we need most to put on, and keep on. Those two words focus on our central means for conquering sinful behaviors and attitudes, and for manifesting all the godly attitudes and behaviors. Those two words: _ _   _ _ _.

More about this, next post.

*(Or some date close to that. I don’t remember now for sure. Only that you couldn’t miss it, looking at it in that way.)

**(I wrote this beginning on foggy Monday. Which shows what a busy mess my week’s been.)

[So why am I linking up with Five Minute Friday? (Really big cheat!) Because this post so fits the prompt word. I “couldn’t help myself!” It’s as if I already wrote from the prompt ahead of time. In that sense, I didn’t even take the five minutes today.]


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6 thoughts on “Forest, Trees. Who sees? {Conquering Sinful Behaviors and Attitudes}

  1. Oh, such truth! Context is so, so important, and so often we get caught up in one verse, one “nice” thing, one thing we ought to do, that we forget about everything around it (John 3:16 is a great example – no one ever looks at John 3:18, or any of the rest of that awesome passage). So often, as you mentioned, we leave out just exactly what we need to know.

    Those two words, those really are the key, aren’t they? To everything. Apart from them, what can we possibly hope to accomplish? Such truth in this!

  2. So glad you took the time to read the Bible references, and can see that, Mary, because I wasn’t sure this post was any clearer than all that fog in the pictures. Yes, those two words really are the key to everything! Yet we seem to get distracted away and lose sight of their importance so easily. Thanks for your comment!

  3. And thanks for the visit and comment, Joe. You presented the same principle so very well in the post you linked just above. I’d recommend any visitors to these comments click on and check it out.

  4. Hi Jessie,
    I wrote you a reply, but I now notice it disappeared! (or never showed up — more likely). I know I said something about how analyzing bark certainly isn’t bad in itself, only when it becomes the sole focus. A lot of our insights about “the whole” come to us through the details. How Brother Lawrence Saw the Trees (Tuesday’s post) talks about this very thing. So keep on with your bark examining. I’d love to hear what you learn from it!

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