Are We Bearing Fruit?
On His return to Jerusalem Jesus approached a fig tree, finding “there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit” (Mark 11:13, New Living Translation). This not only disappointed Jesus, but He immediately responded. Without fully understanding the relevance of this moment, Jesus’ reaction may seem intense. “Then Jesus said to the tree,‘ May no one ever eat your fruit again!’ And the disciples heard him say it.” (Mark 11:14, New Living Translation). The fig tree produces its fruit and then leaves form. So, if you see a fig tree with leaves, you can typically assume figs have already grown. Jesus cursed the fig tree because it had the appearance of fruitfulness, but it was deceptive. It lacked fruit!
In the Old Testament the fig tree also stood as a symbol for the nation of Israel and this parable symbolizes the way in which the nation had become spiritually barren and filled with hypocrisy. These verses are a powerful caution and encouragement from Jesus himself. As living vessels, we are called to not only live fruitfully, but to be aware of the temptation of false pretense. As people come into closer relationship with us, the Fruit of the Spirit should be tangible and evident. The Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy , peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self -control (Galatians 5:22-23)
Also take pause and consider that Jesus approached the fig tree from a place of hunger. In parallel, there are times we have a deep hunger for the circumstances in our lives to change. Perhaps we even see glimpses of possibility, but have become frustrated when those moments don’t fully manifest. If you’re currently in a season of need or expectation, know that it is ok to be disappointed.
All is not lost.
Take time and reflect on where God is developing the fruit of maturity in your life. Where are the places that the outward evidence of fruit misalign with your internal nature? Moreover, stand calmly on the promises in Scripture and know that God’s encouragement to the disciples remains true to us today.
“Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, “May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea’, and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.”
(Mark 11:22-24, New Living Translation).
Lord, help us to take honest inventory of where we can mature and bear tangible fruit that points those around us toward you. We lay down disappointment and doubt, choosing instead to grow in faith and trust in your Word. We wait patiently on your perfect timing towards all that concerns our lives. Amen.