Tuesday, March 7, 2023

          In Matthew 21, not long after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem for the last week before Good Friday, Jesus cursed a fig tree.  It seems to be a rather unusual occurrence.  Matthew recorded this experience in this way, “Early in the morning, as Jesus 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” (Matthew 21:18-19).  The disciples watched this unusual scene unfold and questioned why the fig tree withered so quickly.  Jesus had an answer for them.  And Jesus characterized his answer in terms of faith.  The Lord said, “Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer’”  (Matthew 21:21-22). 
            Likely, Jesus wanted His disciples to be fruitful and faithful which was notably different from that fig tree.  Even today, faith is a matter of trusting God, serving Him and seeking Him.  A life without faith is as barren as that fig tree that did not yield figs.  An unfruitful fig tree serves no real purpose.  It could easily be cut down.  Likewise, we do not want to become unfruitful followers of Christ.  We do not want to see our faith wane or weaken.  Faith is trusting God when circumstances might suggest otherwise.  We trust God to provide, to answer and to heal.  We trust Him to act in ways that are in keeping with His will and character.  Faith is not trusting God to do only what we ask or wish.  Faith is trusting God with the answer that He believes is most right and good.  You may often find yourself in places where all you can do is trust God to answer or to provide. 
            Faith can be expressed in serving God.  We believe in Him so we serve Him.  We are His people so we serve at His leadership and direction.  We use our blessings and gifts in faith to serve Him.  We serve Him because He is worthy to be served. We serve Him because He has saved us.  Our gratitude for what He has done for us compels us to serve Him.  We serve in faith—in ways and times where we may not always see results or outcomes.  We know that our time is not wasted when we devote it to serving the Lord.  The Bible says that faith “is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). 
            Faith can be seen in seeking the Lord.  We trust that He is alive.  We believe in the miracle of Easter.  So, we seek the Lord.  We look to draw near to Him and to walk in relationship with Him.  We do not seek after the things we do not believe in.  No one seeks dragons, unicorns or werewolves because these things are made up tall tales.  But the Lord is real, so we seek Him.  We want to know Him better, love Him more and lean upon Him more deliberately.  We read His Word, pray and worship by faith as we believe these activities will help us to build our faith and grow deeper roots.
            As surely as winter turns to spring, our faith can move from dormant to vibrant, from unfruitful to fruitful and from complacency to urgency.  May we present fruitful hearts and lives to the Lord for His glory.  May the Lord not find our faith lacking or fruitless when He conducts an inspection.  May we trust, serve and seek Him with fire and fervency.  Have a great Tuesday.  Our Sunday worship can always be found and shared with others at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.      

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