Eternal Life Is Evergreen
1 Timothy 6:12 (NIV): Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.
A few years ago, I had a vision of myself handing my wife a pine cone. It was shortly after my wife escaped kidnapping, and our car was wrecked for the second time in six months due to highway bandits. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Life had been crazy for quite a while!
I was pretty sure this vision was from God, but I didn’t understand it. I searched and found a lot of information about the pine cone as an occult symbol. A little disturbed and frustrated by all the occult symbolism, I asked some of my Christian friends for their thoughts. I soon learned that the pine cone was an early church symbol for eternal life.
Eternal life is so much more than simply immortality. It is evergreen. Like an evergreen tree that doesn’t lose its leaves even in winter, the life God gives us is constant. We flourish regardless of exterior circumstances. In fact, some pine cones only release their seeds in fire, and many seeds require a stratification process of going through freezing cold in order to germinate. It’s actually the harsh conditions that foster the germination of the seed so that life becomes evident!
The article I wrote about evergreen life came together with some other writings to make an encouraging devotional for people facing trials. As I was working this week on launching my book Evergreen Life, the Holy Spirit brought 1st Timothy 6:12 to my mind.
If we were thinking of “eternal life” as only a reference to going to heaven when we die, it almost might sound as if 1 Timothy 6:12 was talking about working for our salvation as if it wasn’t already secured by faith in what Jesus did. But when we understand that “eternal life” is “evergreen life,” 1st Timothy 6:12 takes on a lot more meaning.
God has abundant life available for each of us now, regardless of the exterior circumstances we face. It is his quality of life! But we don’t just experience the fullness of it automatically. How do we take hold of this evergreen life?
Taking Hold Of Evergreen Life
According to Jesus in John 17:3, eternal (evergreen) life is knowing the Father and the Son. In other words, our experience of evergreen comes from communion with God.
In John 14-15, Jesus talked about abiding in the vine through communion with God. We abide in Christ by putting His Word into practice. The result is receiving Jesus’s peace and fullness of joy and then bearing much fruit.
Scripture describes God’s Word as a seed. Just as harsh conditions release the seed from the pine cone and foster its germination, the trials we face give us an opportunity to put God’s Word into practice so that God’s life, evergreen life, becomes evident in our lives. In fact, sometimes the trials bring us face to face with whether or not we are really taking God’s Word seriously. If we are not, they give us an opportunity to change. The abundant life of a person walking in communion with God becomes especially evident to the world around when exterior conditions are harsh.
Some Scriptures to Help You Take Hold of Evergreen Life Right Now!
First, experiencing evergreen life starts with receiving righteousness as a free gift. Communion with God is impossible unless we can first approach Him without shame, and that is only possible because Jesus carried our sins on the cross. God’s mercies are new every morning, His grace is abundant, so receive His mercy and grace today!
Having received forgiveness and righteousness through faith in Christ, we take hold of evergreen life as we abide in God’s Word and put it into practice. Here are some great Scriptures which teach us how to respond when the going gets tough, to take hold of eternal, abundant, evergreen life, now!
Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
Philippians 4: 4-9 (NKJV) Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
1 Thessalonians 5: 15-18 (NKJV) See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Colossians 3:1-2, 5, 8, 12-17 (NKJV) If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth… Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry… But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth… Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
1 Peter 5:6-7 (NKJV) Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
I’ve just released Evergreen Life, a devotional book containing 24 insightful and encouraging articles, most of which I wrote during crazy times living in Rio de Janeiro. They contain a perspective on life that will help you to flourish whether circumstances are favorable or harsh. It’s available in paperback and Kindle, and the Kindle version is only 99 cents for the first month of the launch.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on gotoheavennow.com
Featured Image by Erika Fletcher