Friday, December 23, 2011
REAL OR FAKE? YOU BE THE JUDGE.
ARE THESE FLOWERS REAL?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness
and self control.”
Early in the morning, as He was on His way
back to the city, He was hungry.
Seeing a fig tree by the road,
He went up to it but found nothing
on it except leaves. Then He said to it,
“May you never bear fruit again!”
Immediately the tree withered.
In our kitchen my wife has several beautiful vases of flowers. In the interest of upkeep, these flowers are fake. They never wither, never need watering, and never fade. The colors are bold and vibrant, and the leaves look real. Though they are man-made, they mimic flowers in the wild, and can fool almost anyone from a short distance. Fake flowers of silk or other fabric, skillfully crafted to imitate the real thing, serve many purposes in our lives these days, don’t they?
Think about Christ’s attitude toward the fig tree in Matthew. What did He do when He found out, that though real, the fig tree was not producing anything of value? When Jesus came to that fig tree, He demanded only what is natural for fig trees to produce. The fruit was missing. He rightly decided that the fig tree was worthless, as its only purpose in life was fig production, and it was not doing what it was designed to do. It looked good, it gave shade, it was a beautiful addition to the landscape, it gave every indication of being the real thing. However, it wasn’t. It was just “taking up space”.
So today there are many who claim Christ, who say they believe, who say they are “Christians”, who are just “taking up space”. They look good, perhaps even beautiful. They dress right, and say the right things, and attend all the right functions. They are active, and smile, and have color, and sit in the right spots. Like the fake flowers we have in our kitchen, and the fig tree that was real yet didn’t fulfill its function, so these people aren’t real. The Christ-life is only faked, and the religious life bears no fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Today, we must test ourselves. Are we real in Christ? Are we not only hearers of the Word, but doers? Are we bearing the fruit of the Spirit of God in our lives on a daily basis, so that when Christ stops by and is hungry, He can partake of the natural result of our obedience?
Or are we religious Christians, sitting in church, walking around, bearing leaves and having trunks, throwing shade, looking to all the world like a fig tree, but inside, we are barren and without the rich, nourishing fruit that comes from a life in Christ?
Brothers and sisters, many of us need to stop. We need to stop! Did you hear me? We must consciously stop what we are busy doing—the urgent things—and begin the important things God requires.
We must repent of our religious fakery, and become true and vital growing, fruit-producing Christ-followers. We must decide we want Christ, not Christianity. We must decide we’re tired of looking good, and desire to be good. We must want to fulfill that natural function for which Jesus called us to Himself. We must want to bear fruit that lasts. Fruit of our natural union with Jesus Christ, which is the fruit of His Spirit.
Are you living in love? Are you filled with hope, and joy, and kindness? Are you patient, and gentle, and focused on others rather than yourself? Are you strong and firm in your faith in Christ? Do you know His suffering, and the power of His resurrection? Are you putting off the old woman or man, and putting on the New Creation, this New Man or New Woman God has designed you to be?
If not, then stop and get out the Word of God, and let Jesus Christ go to work in you. He is faithful, and He will act on your behalf.
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