What Fall Can Teach Us About Death And New Life

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

I love the variety in life, don’t you? As they say, variety is the spice adding flavor to our years. I’m thankful God made the world full of rich diversity. The various colors, plants, animals, insects, landscapes, sunsets, cloud formations, temperatures, etc., give us a wonderful and fascinating planet to enjoy.

Art reflects the artist, and creation reflects our incredible God: his power, goodness, beauty, creativity, and love. Scriptures tell us the entire universe declares his glory.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. Psalm 19:1-4a

I particularly enjoy living in a part of the world where I get to enjoy the changing seasons and the beauty and variety that comes with each.

I look forward to the cold, barren winter: snow, crackling fires, Christmas trees, and big fuzzy sweaters.

By the end of February, I’m ready for spring: tulips and daffodils, trees adorned in pink and white blossoms, the clean smell of rain.

Then, comes summer: long days outside, trips to the pool, bike rides, and sweaty, red-faced kids.

I love all the above, but my favorite, by far, is fall!

Oh, the colors! Brilliant yellows, vibrant oranges, fiery reds, and deep browns: the colors of warmth.

What a delight watching the leaves fall to the ground like big, colorful raindrops! If I were ever tempted to dance, it would be to dance in the falling leaves. I love how small groups of them flutter across the yard or down the street caught in a gust of wind.

As I take in the beauty of fall, I can’t help but worship the Creator behind it.

Spring is often referred to as new life and winter as sleep. Fall is the place in between where the process of living gently turns into the process of dying until all of nature settles down into a quiet slumber. The beauty of fall is the beauty of dying.

Isn’t it just like God to take something like the death of leaves and make it beautiful? He could have had the leaves turn an ugly black and shrivel in an instant, but He didn’t. Instead, He made it a spectacular show! One I always feel honored to watch.

In some ways, I can see the redemption story written in the changing leaves. In the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, death was defeated, meaning it lost its power to be hopeless and final, and the power of sin was broken (Romans 6:6-7).

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:55-57

Because we who abide in Jesus are free from the fear of death and the enslavement of sin, we no longer live in the summer of this life, striving under the blistering heat of the sun and pursuing the things of this world. Yet, we haven’t been called to our winter’s sleep, either. We exist in a season similar to fall, that place in between this life and the next where we are in the world but not of the world (John 17:14-16).  

Like the changing leaves dangling from fall branches, a Christian is in the process of dying daily: dying to selfishness, dying to pride, dying to lust, dying to envy, dying to anger, dying to all sorts of sinful desires, but this type of death isn’t hopeless or bleak. It’s a death that is necessary to bring forth the glorious colors of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Those that are experiencing the most death in this life are usually the ones with the most brilliant colors to display. Then, just as fall’s end brings winter’s sleep so, too, do all who abide in Jesus sleep. But this sleep isn’t an ending. Just as there must be a winter before there can be a spring, there must be a last day here on earth before there can be a first day in heaven. In Jesus, death is a beginning.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. I Thessalonians 4:13-14

As I look out my window, I see leaves, once green, dying in order to turn stunning shades of yellow, orange, and red. As they flutter to the ground, I do not despair for I know after winter comes spring.

It is the same for those of us who are in Christ. We are being changed into the magnificent colors of His likeness, giving glory to the One changing us, and as we face the inevitable winter’s sleep coming, we rejoice, knowing that spring’s resurrection unto new life surely follows.

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