This morning I was reading in Mark and came upon the passage where Jesus cursed a 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)
The Sign Of The Fig Tree
Jesus cursed the fig tree because, by producing leaves, it was declaring that it had something to eat. Leaves marked the presence of an edible berry, taqsh (a small “bud” eaten by the poor and travelers) and a precursor to figs. If there were no taqsh in the presence of the leaves, there would be no fig harvest later on. (For an informative blog post on taqsh and figs click here.)
In other words, LEAVES = TAQSH = FIGS.
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 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
LACK OF MATURITY
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. I grew up thinking awesome stuff like this happened on the mission field (like Africa or some other far-off land), but not in America. I want to surround myself with people who are walking this verse out because I want to be like this. I’m still learning and certainly stretching my legs in this area. Sickness does not come to my door anymore, but I want to lay my hands on people and see them healed.
For many years I was afraid of the Holy Spirit and likened the gifts of the Spirit as some sort of voodoo or something. But now I am maturing so as to 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!
TOO MUCH MANURE
This speaks for itself. The general church body looks too much like the world. We should consider the sources of our input, what we feed our minds, soul, & spirit (and bodies). Our minds and bodies are constantly taking in all that is around us – whether we realize it or not. The source matters. The WORD OF GOD reveals what all that is lovely and pure. Scripture should tell us who Jesus is and how to live – not the world.
Some say, “I read the Bible but I don’t get anything out of it.” I understand, completely. I lived this way for decades but still, I pressed in. It’s only been in the last 3 years that the Word has come to life and it feels like a massive download every time I open the Bible. What made the difference for me were a few changes I made…
- Read out loud
- Read often
- Pray the scripture
- Sing the scripture
- Pray in tongues
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)
Fill yourselves with good nutrition so that you may grow and produce that which God called you to! (Read Ephesians over and over to learn what God has given you and what He called you to.)
Stress robs us of the ability to produce fruit. We all know this verse:
Be anxious for 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)
Over the last 15 years, severe stress ruined my body. I would read the above 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)
It wasn’t until I started maturing (as I mentioned above) and walking in the Holy Spirit that I learned the importance of good confessions. In other words, learning how to be thankful. I always thought I was thankful, but God has gently and graciously revealed that, no, I didn’t know how to rejoice, be grateful, or speak life. When I stepped out in faith, opened my mouth, and prayed by the Holy Spirit, giving thanks always, the stress in my life began lifting at a rapid pace.
My circumstances didn’t change…just my focus and my ability to rejoice.
I love how God teaches me in unexpected ways. Who knew that there was so much to learn in a fig tree? It certainly has resulted in stopping to consider what fruit I am producing, if any. If there is none, then I need to look and see what influences are impacting me, has stressed crept up, or is the Father taking me through a season of maturation before the next harvest? I think we all cycle through all of these. For me, the lesson of the fig tree is a call to tend to my garden well.