Henry Longfellow was once asked how he managed a long and happy life. He pointed to an apple tree and said, “The secret of the apple tree is that it grows a little new wood every year.”

Today many of us are returning to work and school, to the schedules and demands of normal life. Our first goal should always be spiritual growth. It does not come quickly, it comes gradually. One day at a time. One decision at a time. One discipline at a time.

Too often we try to make huge strides and fail to take simple steps. Remember to begin with the basics. Start where you are.

The Lord Jesus addressed a tree that failed to bear fruit in one of His parables. One of the most poignant phrases ever given is found in Luke 13:9, “Let it alone this year also.” God in His grace has given us another year. Allow Him to work on you. Work with Him. Make this the year that true fruit can grow in your life.

Make a little new wood this year.