I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to. Galatians 5:16 (TLB)
The Live Oak tree is a Southern landscape staple. I took the above picture on a visit to Charleston, South Carolina's Boone Hall Plantation in 2010. It is even more impressive in person! While most oaks are deciduous, dropping all their leaves in the winter, the Live Oak keeps its leaves all year long. It's deciduous, but deceptive! In winter the leaves are dead, but they just stay in place looking quite alive.
Then comes spring!
God’s natural cycle of change occurs and the sap starts flowing, awakening everything that was dormant. New leaves grow, pushing the old off; they fall and life continues. Just why this tree acts differently than other deciduous trees is unimportant (to me), but God had a purpose to create the Live Oak to act this way.
There is a parallel in living the life of a spirit-led follower of Jesus Christ. Some things in our lives (like Live Oak leaves in winter) seem to be alive and vital. But they’re dead! At the right time spring happens; the Holy Spirit moves in our lives like sap through a massive Live Oak trunk and branches. The deadness begins to fall off and we can sense the living, pulsating newness of God’s life changing us.
Don’t pull off the leaves
God’s spirit is the gardener; we are branches of the vine (John 15:1, 2). Just like branches of a grapevine do not prune themselves, nor does a Live Oak prune its leaves, we don’t “manufacture” spiritual life. That is up to God. We cooperate – he prunes.
Whatever you’ve got going on in your life today…don’t try to pull the leaves off. Cooperate with God in what He’s trying to teach you. Wait for the gardener; He knows just what to do – at the right time, and in the right way.
So, go; and grow.