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Tracks in the Woods


The summer forest is an easy place to hide. Small creatures duck out of sight in countless trees. Areas of dense underbrush shelter larger animals. As summer turns to fall and fall turns to winter, the situation seems to change. The leaves fall away revealing the heart of the forest. Then, snow comes and buries fallen leaves, old logs, stumps, and other hiding places. Somehow, a walk in the winter woods still fails to reveal much wildlife. Some creatures hibernate. Others congregate in sheltered areas. Some tunnel under the snow. The winter forest might even seem more deserted than the summer forest.

Life is still there. Look at the ground. Even deep in the woods, the snow is marked with tracks. Deer and rabbits may make the most tracks, but squirrels, foxes, coyotes, wolves, and even birds will leave a record that they’ve been there. They could hide themselves, but they couldn’t hide their tracks.

The work of God is much the same. We understand that the person who becomes a Christian becomes born again. God’s Spirit takes up residence in that person and makes him or her a new person, spiritually. We see the same face and eyes, even many of the same personality traits. But there are changes all the same, even if they aren’t all instantaneous. The new Christian begins to do what is right. Sins, even sins that seemed the biggest part of the person’s life, become less frequent and even disappear. Bad habits come under control. Love for God replaces love for self. Love of others replaces anger and hatred. There’s been no physical change, yet everything is different. What others are seeing are, as it were, the footprints of the Holy Spirit. He remains invisible, but His marks in the life of the person in which He lives are there for the world to see.

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.  (John 3:8)

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

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