Magnolias…are a Southern tradition. I always think of Mississippi since it is their State Tree. We have three smaller ones along a fence line in our backyard. We planted them some fifteen years ago and now they are mature and full of blossoms at this time of year. They may be the most magnificent of all tree blossoms.
During the Victorian times, the magnolia flowers symbolized dignity, nobility, poise, and pride. The strength of its bloom is also symbolic of self-respect and self-esteem. Since these flowers represent durability, strength of character, and bearing, they are widely used in weddings.
But I have one complaint. The blossoms in our area of the country turn brown so quickly, only days after they fully bloom. Then the petals fall to the ground. Maybe in Mississippi they hang around much longer, but not in Dallas. You have to look quick and enjoy them while they last.
As I was admiring the multiple blossoms on our three trees today, I thought about our lives as Christians. We get redeemed by the grace of God, and we become radiant, excited new Believers. Then soon the issues of the world, the temptations of our flesh, and our biggest enemy, Satan, create a deadness. All too quickly! Even as mature Believers, we have a tendency to get away from the word, a solid prayer life, and become entangled in the world.
God warns us, but at the same time challenges us. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12. 1,2 NKJV). In the book of Matthew, Jesus is speaking of the same issue. He says; so why do you worry? “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Mt. 6. 30 NKJV).
What are the cares, worries, temptations that are separating you from full communion and relationship with your Lord? He exhorts us to live each day, one at a time. Do not dwell on the past or take on the worry of tomorrow. In Matthew 6.33, 34 he gives us the answer for victorious, radiant union with him. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (NKJV).
Honor and glory
The beauty of the Lord shines through these Magnolia blossoms. They are designed to bring Him honor and glory. Same with us! He wants us to radiate his beauty through us to others, daily. The Spirit wrote to seven churches as recorded in Revelation. The first one was to Ephesus. He commended them but then said this. “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the work you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (Vss. 2. 4,5 ESV). I’m not going to go cut down the Magnolia tree just because the blooms turn brown quickly. Just like God said to the church and to us now, we have the opportunity to turn around, change our mind, change direction, repent, and return to our first love.
Take time during this pandemic and be very honest, prayerfully honest, with your relationship. Are you like that beautiful blossom, fully engaged with the Lord, or have you slipped or even fallen way away from his presence? Just like the Magnolia leaves turn dark, that’s what happens to our hearts when we abandon our first love, Jesus. But if we desire it, God’s mercy is new every morning. So, bloom, Brother, bloom!