Matthew 21:18, “Now in the morning as He returned into the city, He hungered.” The fig tree looked good from a distance; it had leaves but no fruit. The nature of the fig tree is to bear fruit and then the leaves appear. The tree looked good but it wasn’t good. When God and others examine me, is my life like that fig tree? Do they see leaves but no fruit? Is this what I look like from a distance…oh, yes, this person goes to the meetings, or that person is in the work, but there is nothing to feed the heart of God. Leaves are a product of religion. Any religious person can appear good.
I’m glad for correction. Donald said he was corrected by Paul Sharp regarding something he had said. Donald didn’t remember saying it, but if Paul said it, it is true and he was glad he was corrected but more glad because he accepted the correction, and he knew he was loved.
One of the hardest things for the workers to do is to correct you. It is hard to correct our friends. Workers are shepherds, but also sheep. Are you honest enough to go to the workers instead and ask, “Is there anything in my home, in my life or in my children that I need to correct?” Go to the workers and honestly ask if there is anything that is not according to the mind and will of God.
A couple was having marital problems. The workers had the solution and would have liked to help them, but they refused to see the workers and the marriage broke up. If you have the spirit of the Lamb this would never happen. Lambs don’t fight; two lambs can live together.
Correction isn’t punishment; correction is to save us from punishment.
It’s not appearing to be something, but being something that matters. We don’t want to be a product of religion but the product of the Spirit and Truth. Donald told of a young man who came to the gospel meetings. One night, he said he wouldn’t be coming back and walked out the door. Donald said he couldn’t leave it at that and caught up to him and asked if he’d been offended. The man replied, “You preach a Living God, and I’ve got a god already. If I walk in this way I’d have to give up my music and I won’t give it up.” Music was sitting on the throne of his heart, the place God should have. If God doesn’t have first place, He doesn’t want any place at all. God uses His servants to convict us of fig tree service. The gospel convicts us; God’s word convicts us. Are we hiding behind fig leaves? Is it just a covering, or is God going to have first place in my life? We don’t want to have just a fig leaf part because in the end the Lord will say, “I never knew you!” If the Lord is not on the throne and the fruit of righteousness being borne, it’s just religion. We need to die to self. Does the part that others see look good but the inside is full of garbage? Are we hiding behind fig leaves? May what I say in the Sunday morning meeting be from my heart that it would be a hallowed place for me.
Peter had the appearance of a good disciple but hidden beneath the leaves was a sword, a wrong spirit. Fear hidden things that make us feel strong in ourselves. If Peter hadn’t had the sword, he wouldn’t have reacted that way. It was the sword of anger. Have a deep desire to repent. Fear partaking of the emblems and having something hidden in our heart. Let the Lord examine me now. One day there will be no fig leaves to hide behind. Adam and Eve thought they could hide behind fig leaves – with no sacrifice. One day there won’t be anyone saying, “Oh yes, she goes to meetings, she’s good, she’s a real helper, etc.” It’s so easy to present ourselves in the best light, but it’s “just as I am.”
In the personal ads, people like to present themselves in the best light they can. They might say, “I’m beautiful, I’m rich, I’m slim and athletic, etc.” They don’t say, “I don’t know how to cook, I’ve got a glass eye, or I’m lame.” Yes, they present themselves in the best light.
Are we in the way but not of the way?
Jesus cursed the tree and said, “Let it die.” But God hasn’t said that to us…yet, rather, “Leave it another year; give it another chance.” Convention is like this – so we can go out from here, and when He looks at us closely, He can see fruit; He can see my spirit as one He can accept.
“Thank you for helping me see what is right or wrong before it is too late”. “Is there anything I can do for the Kingdom?” This is fruit.