Why the fig tree?
In Mark 11 Jesus and his disciples come across a fig tree that had leaves but was bearing no fruit. This is significant because in that location a fig tree would bear fruit before it bore leaves, and the leaves were a sign that the tree had fruit. This tree was unnatural in that it had the signs of bearing fruit but had no actual fruit. Jesus cursed the tree for not bearing fruit, and the next day the disciples saw the tree had withered and died.
I have always found this story fascinating. Is Jesus really cursing something for not bearing fruit? Where is the mushy gushy loving Jesus I heard so much about in church? What about grace and redemption and salvation and forgiveness? This picture of a Jesus passing righteous judgement spoke to me with a weight I did not understand at the time.
In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 Paul echoes the warning of the fig tree. He says that each man’s work will be tested by fire when he dies, and if it stands the builder will be rewarded, but if it fails he will still be saved but only as a man escaping through flames.
Growing up I never really heard these passages preached on. More importantly I never had the lessons these passages taught emphasized to me even though I now feel the weight of them more than ever. The lesson is this: If we follow Christ we are new creations. We receive salvation from him as a free gift and surrender our lives to his calling. But it does not begin there. Our entire lives we are conformed to the likeness of Christ, even before we accept him into our heart. And it does not end there as we are living amidst the largest war mankind has ever encountered, a war that has stretched back for thousands of years and has touched each person’s life every day. The war between darkness and light, good and evil, life and death. Our part in this war matters. We are beacons on a hill, lights that shine in the darkness. Or that is what we ought to be. But that is not what the church has become. The church has fractured, disarming itself and bowing down under the weight of this present darkness. But the world is only going to get darker, and it is the here and now that we command as every action we take makes a difference in the world around us. And when we finally die and come home God will test our work. He requires us to not only show signs that we bear fruit, but to actually bear fruit. He requires us to take a stand.
I see a church that has fallen to its knees, that has been crippled and at war with itself for far too long. I see a church that is afraid of darkness and has forgotten that when we resist the devil he will flee. I see a church that is content to sit in comfy lawn chairs sipping on Holy Spirit milkshakes with Holy Spirit slippers covering their feet. But God has called us to be warriors, each in our own way. This blog was created to ask questions and delve deeper into issues that the church is either ignoring or not correctly addressing today. This blog is aimed at equipping the body of Christ to do God’s work in these coming days. We must unite in this present darkness, for soon there will come a time when the darkness is greater than we can ever imagine and those who are not equipped will fall.
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.