Summary: Those who bear fruit have more freedom and fulfillment in life.
In the Bible, a fruitful life is described as one that is producing good things. God’s Words teaches a lot on this topic so it must be very important to God.
God wants to bless your life. He wants you to be so blessed that He produces fruit in your life that will go on blessing you and the others around you.
Some people bear spiritual fruit. Some don’t. Those who do bear fruit have more freedom. Their lives are more fulfilling. Those who don’t beart fruit are missing out on some great blessings in life!
This is one of those spiritual truths that a lot of people have trouble believing.
Our human nature is bent toward the idea that fulfillment comes from getting everything you want - having things go your way - not with being concerned about what God wants. Just "look out for number one." Just focus inwardly on the very small world of your personal desires.
To learn the truth on this matter, consider this interesting passage of Scripture.
Matthew 21:18 (NLT) In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, 19 and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs on it, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" And immediately the fig tree withered up.
20 The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?"
21 Then Jesus told them, "I assure you, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can say to this mountain, ’May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and it will happen. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
It grabs your attention that Jesus cursed something because we’re used to reading about the many times He blessed people and things in the New Testament.
This is the only miracle of judgment performed by Jesus during his earthly ministry.
So, at first, it seems this miracle doesn’t fit the nature of One so loving and compassionate. He could have just as easily used his miracle-working power to cause the fig tree to produce fruit immediately. Instead, he cursed it then and there. So we ask ourselves, "Why?"
We know that Jesus didn’t judge the tree out of anger over his hunger. We’re talking about the Son of God who once went 40 days without food and afterwards was able to reject the most challenging tests that even Satan himself could hurl at him.
We’re left with the obvious fact that the cursing of the fig tree was an object lesson.
Jesus had just cleansed the Temple the day before. He was heartbroken and angry over what was being done there.
Here’s more of the story from the Bible.
Matthew 21:12 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the merchants and their customers. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the stalls of those selling doves. 13 He said, "The Scriptures declare, ’My Temple will be called a place of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!"
The thievery involved overcharging religious pilgrims for animal sacrifices and further exploiting them financially in currency exchange - all in the name of religion! Jesus did not stand for this behavior in the House of God.
Then, after Jesus cleansed the Temple, He did something else that made the religious leaders angry.
Matthew 21:14 The blind and the lame came to him, and he healed them there in the Temple. 15 The leading priests and teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the little children in the Temple shouting, "Praise God for the Son of David." But they were indignant 16 and asked Jesus, "Do you hear what these children are saying?"
"Yes," Jesus replied. "Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ’You have taught children and infants to give you praise."
Jesus was illustrating what is supposed to happen in God’s house. The sheep aren’t supposed to be fleeced there - they are supposed to be helped there! The house of God should be a place of encouragement and uplifting of spirits, not a place of judgmentalism and exploitation.
No wonder Christ was so perturbed!
The cursing of a fig tree followed the cleansing of the Temple on purpose. Christ cursed the fruitless tree as a warning - a warning about the emptiness of a fruitless lifestyle - the emptiness of a life without a real relationship with God.
Now what affect did his object lesson have on His followers?
Like so many other times, Christ’s teaching didn’t phase his followers at first. Just like we don’t always get all that God wants to teach us at first either. Its good to know God is patient with us.