Barren Leaves or Bearing Fruit: A Reflection on Spiritual Authenticity in Today's Church

Matt. 21:19  And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.  And presently the fig tree withered away.

My soul is troubled to the core as I read this text.  I am troubled because of the striking parallel between the fig tree and the current state of today’s church.  Just as the fig tree, Christ looks at many of us and sees not fruit, but leaves only.  We have all the appearance of a fig tree, but we have not the figs for proof.  We are of a leafy religious generation.  We are the generation of which the Bible prophesies that there would be a great falling away, and that we would turn our ears away from the truth, to be turned unto fables.  We have indeed a form of godliness, but we deny its power.  We are outwardly adorned with riches and goods, and think to ourselves that we have need of nothing, but inwardly we are found wanting.  We bear no fruit.  Many come to us for spiritual nourishment and refreshment, only to leave disappointed after finding a tree as empty as their own soul.  We have traded in God’s Word for the opinions of men.  We have traded in the power of God for the performance of men.  We have traded in the presence of God for sensationalism.  We have traded in the praises of God for the praises of men.  We have a label for everything we don’t like about God’s Word and its instructions, so that we can justify in our own minds and hearts all of the reasons why His Word should not hold us accountable in our own particular situations.  So, here we are, a generation more religious than ever, and yet more lost than ever.  We are indeed the fig tree without the fruit.  How many more times will Christ walk by us before justifiably pronouncing His judgments upon us for not bearing fruit?  No doubt He has given us ample time to repent.  No doubt He has pled with us countless times, and year after year, given us every opportunity to bear fruit.  No doubt He has pruned us and watered us and given us His sunlight so that we might have every chance to bring forth, but who could blame Him for cursing us, after that He has first enriched us with the blessings of opportunity.  Will we squander ourselves into a curse, or will we this time repent and bear forth fruit?  Let us seek the latter! 

~ Pastor Gary Caudill
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