Half In, Half Out

A month or so ago a storm toppled one of the trees at the back of the church’s lot. The ground was so soggy that the roots couldn’t hold against severe winds. The tree blew over but only part way. Its branches caught in some adjacent trees, leaving it half in and half out of the ground.

The tree is dying a slow death. It still has enough root in the ground to absorb some moisture, but it can’t continue that way indefinitely.

Let this tree be an object lesson. Just as it can’t live half in and half out of the ground, Christians can’t live half in and half out of Christ. We will eventually die as surely as the tree will.

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 5:24). He was talking specifically about God vs. money when He made that statement, but it applies just as surely to anything else we are trying to serve along with God. It may be leisure, pleasure, status, worldly approval, or just plain old self-will. Whatever it is, if it prevents wholehearted service to God, it is killing us spiritually.

Halfway service is an old problem. Elijah faced it in his fellow-Israelites who were trying to serve God and Baal. He boldly challenged them, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions?” (1 Kings 18:21). How long will you try to have it both ways? Make up your mind. “If the Lord is God, follow Him.”

(Update: Since I wrote this article, the tree has now fallen all the way and is dying more quickly. Anyone need some bonfire wood? That’s all dead trees are good for, and according to John it’s where dead disciples are headed [Matthew 3:10]!)

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