This morning, I watched a news program that took us to Aspen, Colorado, to see the stunning reds and golds of the namesake aspen trees as Summer gives way to Fall and Fall to Winter. I was reminded that trees don’t really change their colors in the fall. The brilliant hues we flock to see are there all along; they are hidden by the chlorophyll green required for photosynthesis. As summer ends, the chlorophyll is drawn back, revealing the reds, oranges, and golds that were there all along.
That can be a way to look at our spiritual growth. We are made in the image of God, bearing his likeness. As the green of a leaf covers and hides the stunning vibrancy of fall colors, the way the world forms our souls, covering the vibrant life with God we are meant to enjoy. Jesus offers us the power to strip off the influences of our upbringing, our culture, and even our inner rebellion so that we become the beautiful creations we were meant to be.
I know that this illustration, if thought of as a metaphor, breaks down quickly. The tree needs its green leaves to take in the sun’s energy so it can survive. We do not need the world’s influences that camouflage our souls. The changing color of aspen leaves is a harbinger of the tree preparing to become dormant for the winter season; the opposite is true for us: when we allow Christ to restore our true colors, we are healed and can enter a new season of vibrancy.
The power of the image stands: without us intending it or even knowing it, the influences of the fallen world work to mask and cover over the life we are meant to have. As you see fall colors appearing, pause for a moment and ask yourself, “am I living my real life, the life of joy, peace, kindness, humility, and love that I was created to have?” If the answer is no, it may be time to think about what is covering up the splendor already within you as a child of the living God.