Look at this beauty! Our burning bush is a lovely accent of bright red every fall. At over nine feet tall, it’s quite an eye-catcher! Who knows how long it stood there before we bought our house a few years ago.

Burning Bush

Our property has a variety of large, colorful landscape bushes, each showing off in its own season. Along the edge of the property that lines the road, we have a long row of forsythia that brightens the view in the spring.

Each year I spend time cleaning up one area, wrestling my way through the mature (read “overgrown”) shrubs. The next year I’m off to another area.

We’ve got one corner I haven’t spent too much time in yet. I thought it was just a jumble of more forsythia and a wild rose plant. But I was wrong! There was an imposter hiding . . .

In the spring and summer, the imposter just blended in with the forsythia beside it. Look at the leaf shapes. The two left leaves are forsythia, and the two right ones from a burning bush. It’s hard to tell a difference between them if you’re not looking carefully! I just figured this one didn’t want to bloom for some reason.

But fall has arrived, and the evidence is clear. That is not a forsythia. That red is just too bright!

So I cleared up the area just a bit to see what we’ve really got.

Wait a second, what is that peeking out from behind? It’s another one!!

The tiny, bright red leaf gives it away.

I must add this disclaimer: our state, among several others, prohibit selling or planting Burning Bush plants because they are so invasive. They may be pretty, but they can quickly spread, crowding out native species.

Our big beauty gets mowed around often enough that I never saw suckers growing up around the base. I’ll have to keep my eye on these two new discoveries to make sure they don’t take over the woods next door.

These bushes got me thinking about our Christian walk. Are we living incognito?

Do we blend in with our surroundings? Or do we stand out? If folks discover that we are followers of Christ, are they surprised? Or does it explain why we behave the way we do?

Here are a few verses from Scripture to ponder.

So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.

1 Peter 1:14-15 NLT

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

Ephesians 4:21-24

Holy: different, set apart because we’re special to the Lord. As we allow the Spirit to renew us, is our difference apparent to others?

We can’t be true followers of Christ in name only. Our lives need to be increasingly submitted to God. That growth, in turn, will produce fruit:

A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.

Matthew 12:33

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

These days make for a wonderful season to show our true colors, my friends. Take some time to contemplate how you can follow Christ in obedience today, letting His character shine brightly through you.

2 thoughts on “Incognito”

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