I’ve been fooled before. I know that it’s well and truly winter, but suddenly an unusually warm day appears and I think, “Well, this winter won’t be so bad, after all.” Inevitably it turns out that I was mistaken, and Jack Frost shows his true colors with a vengeance. Winter, you got me again!
Have you felt taken in by someone? That a person’s demeanor seems to promise kindness, friendship, loving care—only to find that the person in question wasn’t that way at all? Humans can be pretty good at showing only what they want you to see in order to get something from you. Imagine how the Lord felt when he went to his people looking for fruits of good works and light, only to find hypocrisy, legalism, and an exclusivity that prevented people from turning to him.
As Jesus approached Jerusalem he saw a fig tree in leaf. Even though it wasn’t the season for figs, the presence of the leaves promised fruit. This was an empty promise, for, aside from the leaves, the tree was barren, and he cursed the tree so that it withered and died. No fruit, no life.
We are called to be fruitful, but if all we have is a show of righteousness we are just as barren and worthless as that fig tree. A lush, green, leafy fruit tree that bears no fruit just isn’t much of a fruit tree. And a Christian who goes to church every Sunday, reads the Bible, and believes all the “right” doctrine, but lacks the fruit of love and good works, just isn’t much of a Christian, either.
That’s something to think about.