February 16, 2013 • By Ed Wrather
Now in the morning, as He returned to the city,
He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found
nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, "Let no fruit grow on you ever
again." Immediately the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it,
they marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither away so soon?" So Jesus
answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do
not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you
say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done.
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." - Matthew
Fruit trees are expected to eventually bear fruit. The
age of trees before they actually do bear fruit varies. Apricot, peach, plum,
and cherry trees usually begin to bear fruit at three years from planting. Pear
trees take even longer to bear fruit with it sometimes taking six or seven
years before they will bear fruit. Apple trees can take even longer, taking as
much as ten years before one of those trees will produce fruit. (umaine.edu -
Just as, fruit trees are expected to eventually bear
fruit, so are Christians. Maybe this is one of the lessons we learn from Jesus
and the fig tree. It seems to be a strange scene, Jesus apparently is hungry,
but when He finds a fig tree He finds no figs. Jesus responds by supernaturally
zapping the tree and it instantly withers away. If nothing else, it should be a
warning to all fruitless Christians that God expects you to bear fruit, and it
appears that there may be consequences if you do not bear fruit.
Why do fruit trees fail to bear fruit? Again from the
helpful University of Maine website I found that there are four general reasons
for failure to bear fruit. Trees may fail to form flowers, there may be flower
bud death from cold injury or frost, lack of pollination, and insect damage to
fruits. We can relate this to why Christians sometimes fail to bear fruit.
First, the failure to form flowers. Why does this happen
to fruit trees? It can happen from a lack of the proper nourishment. Trees need
fertile soul and some water. Christians fail to form flowers for the same
reason through a failure to maintain proper nourishment. The nourishment that
Christians need comes from the Word of God. As Jesus says in Matthew 4:4 NKJV, "It is
written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds
from the mouth of God.'"
Second, bud death from cold or frost. In trees, it simply
happens when the bud freezes, or becomes cold enough to cause damage. A similar
thing can happen to baby Christians. An older Christian, or someone that has
been a Christian longer can have a damaging impact upon a new Christian.
Discouragement can happen any many ways. One of the most frequent is hearing
Christians being hypercritical of others. A fruitless, heartless, mean-spirited
person that presents themselves as being a faithful Christian can cause immense
damage to the young children of God.
Third, lack of pollination. There has to be interaction
between the trees with the spread of pollen between them. It occurs through the
wind, bees, and birds. For Christians to grow we need to have interaction with
other Christians. That is why the Bible tells us in Hebrews
10:24-25 NKJV, "And let us consider one another
in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of
ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so
much the more as you see the Day approaching."
Fourth, insect damage to the fruit. Insects can wipe out
a fruit crop; wrecking immense damage. False teachers can do the same to young
Christians. In 2 Peter 2:1-2 NKJV we are told, "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as
there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive
heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift
destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the
way of truth will be blasphemed."
Are you bearing fruit in your life? If not,
check for how the fruit in your life may have been damaged. Then begin to make
repairs by giving yourself what you need to produce fruit, and protect yourself
from what will damage the fruit in your life.