I love a good word picture and one thing I love about the Valley of Vision prayers are the word pictures they draw. Today was no different as I read prayer number 57.

There were lines about what faith is…
receiving Thy kindness
adhering to Christ
resting on Him
but here is the line that got my heart:
love clinging to Him as a branch to the tree
to seek life and vigor from Him.

It made me think of Hebrews 12:1 and a different kind of clinging
let us lay aside every weight and the
sin which clings so closely.

Then it made me think of a tree. At our old house we had a tree that was completely covered in ivy. It was a beautiful tree and honestly the ivy wasn’t too bad looking either. But the ivy was killing this tree; every day it was sucking life out of the tree and weighing down the branches.

This is us as we seek to be a branch clinging to THE tree and our sin is the ivy. It looks pretty from the outside, but on the inside the roots are clinging tightly and sucking life from us. It’s hard work to pull off the ivy. It gets into your nails, and leaves scars on the branches. And you have to get every ounce of ivy off a tree or it will just come back and crawl all over again. And you can’t do it all at one time. I remember standing and pulling ivy off this tree and there was only so much I could do in one day.

I wonder too if the tree doesn’t become convinced that this ivy is life-giving? How easily do we think that the sin that is clinging to tightly to us is ok? That the sin is actually helping us in some way. I can become so confused thinking that what I’m doing is providing “life and vigour”, when really all it is doing is sucking the life from me.

But how do we do it? How do we get this ivy off?
To kill ivy you have to smother it.
Likewise, we have to “smother” ourselves in prayer, in Scripture, in fellowship, in worship.
And look to Him to be our life and vigour.

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