This morning I was reading in Mark and came upon the passage where Jesus cursed the fig tree. At first I skipped over it thinking that I already knew what it said, blah…blah…blah. However, I went back to it and felt the Father wanting to teach me something (it was also a reminder that nothing in God’s Word is insignificant!).
Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” (Mark 11:12-14)
Immediately my thoughts turned to our current political situation in the U.S.
Last night was Ted Cruz’s speech at the RNC. Mr. Cruz rallied Christians this past primary season and stood strong on his declaration of being a follower of Christ, yet when he was tested in the waters he showed no fruit of forgiveness, love, or grace. It grieved my heart. (Though I’m sure we all have lots of room to grow in this area). My hope and prayer is that he will humble himself and repent publicly. If he chooses to do that, I believe he will have a great political future. Anyway…
As I read this verse, the events of last night and the current political situation came to mind. I saw Trump and Clinton standing on a platform and I sensed that God was saying that His Body of Believers have a choice this season…that this election is about the Body of Christ and our choices. God is extending a hand a mercy…we can choose to continue down our path as fruitless trees or we can be full of the fruit of the Spirit. This is not about God’s judgment (Christ already resolved that issue). We are reaping what we have sown. As Believers, it is up to us if we continue to reap destruction, however, if we repent and choose to move towards bearing spiritual fruit, God has provided a way of grace.
The Sign Of The Fig Tree
Jesus cursed the fig tree because, by producing leaves it was declaring that it had something to eat. Even though Mark states it was before the time of the harvest, the presence of leaves would mean that there would be taqsh, a small “bud” eaten by the poor and travelers, and a precursor to the fruit. If there was no taqsh, there would be no fig harvest later on. (For an informative blog post on taqsh and figs click here.)
Basically Jesus was calling out the tree for proclaiming that it had something that it didn’t. You know, it was all bark and no bite, it was words and no action. It had a beautiful, enticing cover, but no content…you get my point.
I think the sign of the fruitless fig tree is also a representation of our country. For too long has the church in general been all mouth and great boasting and declaration and void of love and the fruit of the Spirit. The Father is warning us – any judgment that may come to this nation will be a result of our (the body of Christ) choices in the next few months. Will we walk in the Spirit in 2016 to produce a great harvest – or will we only choose lip service?
I then looked up under what conditions a fig tree would not produce fruit:
- Lack of maturity
- Too much nitrogen (i.e. too much manure)
- Too much stress
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is , those who by reason of use have their sense exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb. 5:12-14)
It has only been in the last few years that I realized I was a Christian still on milk. As I am growing deeper and being challenged in my authority and hearing the call of the Holy Spirit to act on it – I’ve discovered the church is afraid of the “solid food” of scripture. Much of the body of Christ is stuck on milk. By brothers and sisters this should not be! Read this…. this is what a mature believer in Christ looks like:
Jesus is speaking: “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
WHO is doing this?! Until this last year, NONE of the churches I have participated in had any of these signs in the church. We talked about it happening in Africa or some other far off land. So I grew up thinking awesome stuff like this happened in the mission field, but not in America. Actually, I am still looking for a church that walks this out. I’ve found one that preaches it and they say it is happening, but I don’t see it very often. I want to surround myself with people who are walking this verse out because I want to be like this. I’m learning but I’m certainly stretching my legs in this area. Sickness does not come to our door anymore, but I want to see people I love healed.
The more I press into the gifts and callings of the Holy Spirit the more people remove themselves from my life. Brothers and Sisters–this should be an EVERYDAY OCCURRENCE for Believers! Let’s stop being afraid of the Holy Spirit and embrace the power and the gifts He brings. What a better way to be a witness and blessing to our nation than to heal our sick and cast out demons?! Praise God that is our inheritance!
This speaks for itself. The general church body looks too much like the world. Time to die to ourselves, to cast of fear, and walk in the light of the Word of God. The easiest way manure creeps in to our life is through television and social media. I use both, but the closer I become to the Lord, and the more I desire the fruit of the Spirit in my life, the more I have to pull myself away.
As I have done this, it has alarmed me how much “Christians” have received their doctrine and idea of who God is from Facebook!
Brothers and Sisters, it is time to take back the entertainment world and fill it with the TRUTH OF GOD. And if you are one who gets your idea of who God is from quotes on social media then you are deceived! In order to find the manure in our lives we need the WORD OF GOD to show us what is good and what is evil. We need God to tell us who He is – not the world.
So you say: “I read the Bible but I don’t get anything out of it.” I understand. Completely. I am working on a post to address that, but for now the best piece of advice I can give you is this…
- Read out loud
- Read often
- Pray the scripture
- Sing the scripture
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Phil. 1:9)
Stress robs us of the ability to produce fruit. We all know this verse:
Be anxious or nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6)
I suffered from panic attacks until just a few months ago. Usually it was only at night as I was falling asleep, but if it was a particularly stressful time in my life I would have them during the day. Over the last 15 years, severe stress ruined my body. I have completely destroyed my adrenals. I would read this verse over and over and yell, “HOW DO I DO THIS?!?!”.
The answer is in verse 4 & 5:
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (Phil. 4:4-5)
When a panic attack would come I would pray and praise, and it would help…some, but the panic attacks would come again. It wasn’t until I started maturing (as I mentioned above) and walking in the Holy Spirit that my panic attacks and nightmares left. When I stepped out in faith, opened my mouth, and prayed in the spirit, giving thanks always, that the stress in my life started falling off at a rapid pace. My circumstances didn’t change…just my focus.
Hear my heart for you…I love the body of Christ. I get so sad to see so many defeated Christians who suffer, as I did, from anxiety, depression, disease….open your eyes and see these things are not from God, but from the enemy to keep you from walking in the power and authority that Jesus earned in His own right – and then gave to you! Wake up to all the promises of God and walk in the great things God has for you!! I believe this is a time of AWAKENING in the body of Christ! We are shining bright!