Nothing But Leaves


What is the state of your Christian life?

Jesus is in the last days of his ministry and is traveling to Jerusalem from Bethany which is a couple miles due east of the city. He encounters a fig tree in the road that is in full foliage early in the fig season. So as he approaches he is anticipating figs among the foliage yet the tree is barren. Looking up at it he proclaims the tree to be dead. Later, on his return to Bethany, the disciples will notice evidences of this with discolored leaves hanging and laying on the ground. (Matthew 21:18-19)

This event can be linked to the act which followed that day which was the second cleansing of the Temple. Jesus went in and saw a bustling business of selling animals of various values to Temple attendees for their worship sacrifices. I'm sure it might have seemed very normal a day but Jesus knew that this was a violation of the purpose of the Temple. It was to be a house of prayer and men had made it a den of thieves.

The Temple, its sacrifices and the righteously arrayed Scribes and Pharisees, the heart of the nation of Israel, were like the tree with leaves that implied fruit but when examined revealed barrenness. The nation was dying from its roots and soon (70 AD) it would be totally destroyed. They were a tree with nothing but leaves.

As I thought about this and the vibrancy of a true Christian life, I wondered about the many that dress right for worship, say the right words, have all the outside evidences of Christianity but like the fig tree have nothing but leaves. They are void of Spirit produced praise, heartfelt giving, life change and testimony, and spiritual growth, all the fruits we know to be a part of one who has found everlasting life. They are an array of green leaves but have no fruit.
Do you know someone like this? Is this maybe the way you see yourself? Genuine spirituality brings forth "fruit" among its "leaves." Consider your life…what is leaves and what is fruit?

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