Sunday, September 20, 2015

Parable of the Fig Tree: The Cost of Hidden Sin

“And He began telling this parable: "A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?' And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'"”         Luke 13:6-9 NASB

This is the fifth day in our "fig tree" series, although I've written about fig trees before because mine has been such a problem over the years. If you're just joining us, here are the links to the previous posts in the series: The Fig Tree With No FruitLiving Like a Barren Fig TreeCut It Down, and Removing the Cancer of Hidden Sin, as well as links to other "fig tree" posts: The Come Back TreeThe Lesson of the Fig Tree (One of my fav's), and My Daily Fig. (They'll open in a new tab)

I went to Memphis for my monthly ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) chapter meeting yesterday. This is a great opportunity to connect with other writers and a chance for me to learn more about writing. After I returned home, I changed clothes and headed to the barn. The mostly-cut-down fig tree was, mostly, on the ground, but something caught my eye. Ripe figs. The pathetic little figs that were nothing more than hard green orbs had ripened overnight.

The odd thing about these ripened figs is that they were on branches that had been cut away from the tree. I've pondered this for a while, and, though I am no botanist, I've devised a theory. The sickness in the tree prevented the figs from ripening. There was enough life left in the limbs to allow the figs to ripen once the proximity to the gnawing disease was removed.

As I ate the ripe figs and thought about what the disease had cost the tree in terms of productivity, I wondered what the disease of hidden sin has cost me. How much more fruit could I bear if I allowed God to remove the disease of sin in me? How much more joy could I have? How much more of God's mighty power could I see?

How much more effective could the body of Christ be if, corporately, we allowed God to remove our hidden sin? 

I call the sin hidden, but it's not, really. God, of course, sees it all. In an odd way, the world sees our sin, too. They see the ineffectiveness, the lack of joy, the hardness in us, even if they don't "see" our specific sin. The world knows, even when we believe they do not, and it robs us of our validity as disciples.

 When the world hears us speak of freedom in Christ but sees us bound in sin, what are they to think? Can we fault them for thinking that we are either hypocrites or liars? 

If the gnawing sin within us is robbing us, why do we allow it to continue? Do we believe that it is easier to continue in sin than to repent? Do we think that relinquishing our sin will change nothing?

Let's be done with these besetting sins that steal our joy, hamper our witness, hold us back from the fruit God had planned. Once freed, let's embrace the freedom, the joy, the peace, the love God intended for the body of Christ. 

Let's choose freedom and live free.
Our Father, forgive us our sins, especially the ones we try to hide as we cling to them like precious treasure. Help us to see the price our sins have extracted from us and to be done with them. Help us to repent and embrace the cross and the freedom it brings. In Jesus' name, Amen.
#JesusChrist #disciple #theBible #parableofthefigtree #cancerofhiddensin #repent #costofsin