Every time I make a trip to India, one thing I pester my friends to make sure I eat a few times is Anjeer Badam ice cream. Anjeer is the Hindi word for figs and Badam for Almonds. I remember my first time watching them eat it and not being accustomed to the flavour or combination, I twirled my nose not wanting to even try. My next trip over there I dared to try it and boy oh boy, I just loved it! I wish it was available in Sri Lanka. Well, I hear dried figs are available here now and since I have a kitchen and my blender, well one day I guess I will just have to venture out to do so.
Not knowing all this, what does my neighbour decide to give me as she was munching away on them? It sparked conversation to the Bible about the incident of the fig tree. So here I am totally ‘figged’ out! I was fasting and praying.. and I wondered whether God wanted me to meditate on that. Then I decided I should just try to work on one of my books so I decided to do some research on a particular topic. Out of all the verses that popped out, a verse from Matthew 21 leapt out. Interestingly my last study had been from Matthew 20 and I had pressed the forward button on my phone bible software. So Matthew 21 was open already. I decided to read from the beginning to get the context of the verse that I wanted.. and goosebumps (or should I say figbumps?), the incident of the fig tree was in that CHAPTER too!!
Knowing this was no coincidence I reflected on the discussion we had. Why did Jesus CURSE the tree instead of blessing it to yield fruit by the next time they pass by or in a particular time period? I personally feel that there are a number of lessons to learn – and of course God’s Word is alive and active and the next time we read any passage again we get yet more revelation!
Jesus shows the disciples the right to ‘curse’ to make ineffective. All this happened instantaneously! Jesus then said that if you ask with faith whatever you ask for in prayer will happen! This verse also needs to be taken in context of His Word which then leads to whatever we ask for in accordance to His Will, it will be given to us!
Interestingly at the time of meditating on that scripture portion I had no idea that in just a little while I would have to wage spiritual warfare, an intensive session at that. Thank God that He brought my prayer partner and neighbour along to help with the deliverance. Just like Jesus cursed the fig tree, we are able to curse the enemy to make his schemes and approaches ineffective, to make his plans wither or to thwart his plans.
When the 72 returned from being sent out by Jesus, He told them that that they had the authority to trample over the evil one (serpents and scorpions all are symbolic here) and over all the power of the enemy and that the demons / spirits were subject to them by HIS name!
On the other hand this fig tree incident also holds warning for you and me who believe! He makes it clear that if we do not yield fruit, if we are not effective in doing what HE has called us to do, He will eventually – at least on judgment day – call for the tree (the vessel) to ‘wither’. This is not an isolated reference in the Bible. Jesus says that the vineyard (the Kingdom of Heaven) will be taken away from those who do not give fruit in season and given it to those who do… Interestingly Jesus says this parable to the Pharisees (religious leaders). In yet another instance Jesus speaks of the Father being the Vinedresser while Jesus Himself is the Vine and we are the branches. Each branch that does not bear fruit will be chopped off and thrown into fire. We also read of the five foolish virgins (set apart for God) being locked out from the banquet hall with the bride groom because they weren’t ready.
Many say that salvation can never be taken away. Yes, we do not receive salvation by our works and it is only by His grace. However if we TRULY believed then our words and our actions will follow suit; they will go hand in hand. Inevitable we will then yield to loving God with ALL our heart, soul, strength and mind (that will obviously yield relationship & intimacy with God).. We will desire to seek FIRST His Kingdom and His righteousness – not secondly or thirdly but FIRST. As we do so, the more rooted we become in HIM the greater the increase of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control)
Our intimacy will also become inevitable on one’s face! Our faces will not be long or withdrawn – even if in physical pain or momentary afflictions, nonetheless,
“Those who look to HIM are radiant!” – Psalm 34:5
- What are your choices today?
- How will you face the ways of the enemy?
- How do you place your priorities of life?
- Where do your words and your actions and your thoughts stand?