God created us to flourish!
How would you describe a flourishing faith? If I asked you to describe the term flourish using an object of comparison, what would you choose? A vine, or a garden? How about a tree? A tree- that would be my choice. Allow me to point out this illustration in the scriptures.
In Genesis we see Adam and Eve flourishing until they ran into a major decision regarding a tree. As we know they could have chosen any tree including the Tree of Life, but instead, they chose The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil which resulted ultimately in death. Before meeting their end, however, they experienced what it was like to wither. I have to wonder, was there any symbolic connection in the choices they made and the tree? I tend to believe there was. We are about to dig in some deep dirt here to uncover some important roots; follow closely.
Dr. Caroline Leaf points out in her book Who Switched Off My Brain that the cells in our brains (neurons) are shaped like trees with branches, a trunk and all. She goes on to share with her readers that brain scans of those who have continued in a path of “toxic” thoughts and actions reveal neurons that look like trees with broken and gnarled branches. When viewing several neurons from a toxic thinker, the scan resembled a forest with black blotches of space, on the other hand, the scans of those practicing healthy thoughts showed images that resembled flourishing trees. Interesting!
Take a few moments to read Psalm 1:1-3
“1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. “
Did you see that simile in verse three? The righteous thinker will be like a tree. If you are a little fuzzy on recalling a simile from grammar class, a simile uses like or as when comparing two or more things. Wow! Here we have proof in scripture that righteous and unrighteous thinking are illustrated by way of trees. Is there any wonder why God made the cells of our brain to look like a tree?
Need more? Go with me to observe a story of an ancient Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, who had a major pride problem. What dream did God give to illustrate his punishment? A once mighty tree sadly reduced to a stump. In Daniel 4 we can read about this king. Sadly, we see a great king who once stood strong changed to the state of an animal where he ate grass in a field with the oxen. If you read on, you will find that this lasted for seven years. I would call that stumped thinking!
Just like the tree, the neurons in our brains are made to flourish. Once a thought is introduced and accepted into our minds, a new network of branches spring forth. This thought strengthens and spreads every time we revisit that path of thinking. You see friend, we were created to flourish-to continue with a thought and allow it to take deep root, branch out, and finally to bring forth fruit. This is great for the godly thought life, but devastating for the corrupt thought life which continues on its addictive path to destruction.
Consider it….A Flourishing Faith is like the tree planted by the water. Ps. 1:1-3
Who Switched Off My Brain? Dr. Caroline Leaf Copyright 2009 Caroline Leaf, Improv, Ltd.
Scripture references from King James Version of the Bible, Copyright Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2004