I love to go apple picking. When I look on-line to pick a place to go and do this, I look at the pictures carefully. I inspect the trees to see if they are full of fruit or branches and leaves. My eyes are always drawn in to the fullest tree. They look healthy, colorful, and full of life. It gets me excited about the experience I will have there.
A couple of weeks ago I was studying God’s Word and I came across some scripture in Matthew. God began speaking to me and I went a little deeper. I want to share this with you today.
18 Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He *said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered.20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:18-22
I love how Jesus used every day experiences to teach His disciples about something. He taught in a simplistic and practical way that they would understand Heavenly principles. I was curious about the Fig Tree. I have read this scripture before but I never fully understood what it meant because I didn’t dig deeper.
I encourage you to dig deeper. It is the only place we will find truth for our hearts. God doesn’t lie to us. I am grateful that He loves us that way. He is willing to tell us the truth even when it is hard and might hurt for a season. That is what God’s love does.
I want to focus on the fig tree today. I really appreciated what my Life Application Bible had to say and I would like to share that with you:
Why did Jesus curse the fig tree? This was not a thoughtless, angry act, but an acted-out parable. Jesus was showing His anger at religion without substance. Just as the fig tree looked good from a distance but was fruitless on close examination, so the temple looked impressive at first glance, but its sacrifices and other activities were hollow because they were not done to worship God sincerely. (see 21:43). If you only appear to have faith without putting it to work in your life, you are like the fig tree that withered and died because it bore no fruit. Genuine faith means bearing fruit for God’s Kingdom.
I began thinking about my own life and walk with Jesus and I began thinking about the body of Christ. Over the last five years, God has revealed more areas of barrenness in my life.
Some of the synonyms for barren as an adjective are fruitless, ineffectual, and unprofitable. As a noun some synonyms are desert, desolations, waste, and wasteland.
He showed me areas that were fruitless and ineffectual. He shined His light on the areas of wasteland and desolation in my heart which hindered my walk with Him and my ineffectiveness for His Kingdom. I realized many of these areas had become this way from past hurts, unforgiveness, and bitter roots that had grown up. Other places became this way from wrong mindsets I grew up with and those that came from believing the lie, instead of the truth.
Many times in the bible the Fig Tree was symbolic of the Nation of Israel. It often was symbol of it’s health, both spiritually and physically.
I am looking around at our Nation, and the body of Christ in our Nation. I see that fig tree with leaves, and a lack of fruit. I see fruit, but I see us dangerously close to looking like this fig tree. We live in hardened hearts cause by years of hurts, bitterness, and unforgiveness. We live in traditions and religious checklists, yet we don’t know the one we claim to believe in. We live with wrong mindsets from things taught to us, and we live in the lies we have believed instead of the truth.
I believe God is speaking to me personally, and I believe He is speaking to us as the body of Christ and people of this beautiful Nation He has given us. I don’t want Jesus to look at me and my life and just see leaves. I don’t want Him looking at this Nation and the body of Christ here and just see leaves. I want to be fruitful and effective for Him and I want us as a body of Christ in this Nation to be fruitful and effective for Him.
I pray we can turn our eyes towards Him. I pray He reveals to each of us what is hindering our fruitfulness and effectiveness for Him. I believe as we seek Him, He will be faithful to show us and lead us into healing and restoration. He will bring pruning where it is needed and we will flourish. May we turn our eyes to Him, repent, and allow Him to lead us into fruitfulness and effectiveness for the Kingdom of God.
When I go to the apple picking place that looked so good on-line, and I see a bunch of trees without much fruit. I am disappointed. I would never recommend someone go to that place. My reviews would not be flattering at all. When people who hear about Jesus and they see these websites of churches and all the wonderful things going on and the welcoming people there, and they go and find a bunch of fruitless Christians, they will be disappointed. The reviews about the body of Christ will not be so great, and Jesus will not be represented as He should be. Our fruitlessness will not draw people to Jesus. I want to be a flourishing, fruitful Christian. I want others to see what a life with Christ really brings. Not that it is easy because it isn’t but it is fruitful and abundant. I pray this is what you want too.
Lord, Thank You for Your Word to us. Forgive us Lord for taking our eyes off of you. Forgive us for receiving lies over your truth. Forgives us for carrying unforgiveness and allowing bitter roots to grow up in our hearts. Heal us, restore us, and plant your truth in us so Your fruit will grow and be planted in others. Thank You for Your faithfulness to us! May we walk towards You and be effective for Your Kingdom! In Jesus Name!