This poor tree, with a tiny one in its shadow! What an analogy to the modern day Christian! The strong one doesn’t blend in with all the other trees in the background, but somehow–whether by intention or reaction–it became a loner from the group, with only one weak follower, and was outsted from the others! Not only is it by itself (except for that weak little one that it is shielding), but as you can see, all the other trees are dressed in gorgeous colors, while our poor Christian tree looks rather plain, having lost all its beauty! There isn’t much room for hope, is there? It is stuck where it is, and only time will renew its strength and the fruit of leaves!

Do you ever feel like that? I doubt you’re a teenager reading this, who is trying to walk with Christ in school, but you may have one, and they can probably relate very well; or possibly even a college student in a Philosophy class, as in the now-popular movie that has made a Christian into a hero rather than shown as a ridiculed moron! But adults can relate as well! How? Well, walk into a class at the church, where all the faces are unfamiliar, and you feel like you are standing on stage, with everyone looking at you! Walk into a Bible Study, where everyone seems to know each other, and you wait, as you look for a table where someone not only meets your eye, but smiles a welcome. Standing alone makes you feel everyone is looking at you, judging you! Sit in the waiting room with a dozen others, while the appointment time gets more and more behind: this happened recently and everyone was cursing loudly enough for the secretary to hear and understand their anger at losing time; I finally spoke up, “Now isn’t the time to say I only read Christian fiction, is it?” The room got quiet, the cursing stopped, but I felt like the tree!

Standing alone is what God means when He says that we are to be “set apart” from the world. We are to dress modestly in a world where the females dress to attract the most attention; keep our language clean in environments where the females as well as the males no longer have any embarrassment about using profanity. When I was growing up, no gentleman would curse in front of a woman . . .  we could go on and on. God’s idea of a living sacrifice is to give up the things that are not good for your spiritual walk, and put your hand in His. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to stand alone? It takes courage. It takes strength. It takes the Holy Spirit standing alongside you!

This week, be alert to situations where you can stand alone and shine for Christ! Pray He gives you opportunity to not be ashamed of Him in public!

Father, thank You for giving us salvation! It was a gift that cost You everything, and we often treat it so lightly. Forgive us, Lord, and let us take our “lights” from under our baskets this week, so that the world can see that we glow for You! Amen

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