Saturday, September 19, 2015

Parable of the Fig Tree: Removing the Cancer 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 fourth 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 Fruit and Living Like a Barren Fig Tree, and Cut It Down, 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)

The parable above is being lived out with my own fig tree this week, as it has refused to bear fruit for the last two years. No, that's not completely accurate. It's had a few figs, but they've failed to ripen. The lush harvests of the past years are gone. No fig jam this year. No fig preserves.

Yesterday, I made the decision to cut down the tree. My goal was to remove the diseased part so that the healthy part could make a strong recovery. The further down the trunk we cut, the more we realized the extent of the disease. You can see from the photo above that the trunk has a deep split as a result of disease. It wasn't visible from the outside because the bark covered it.

There was more disease in the tree than I realized. Only severe, radical pruning can save it. 

If we could cut ourselves open and glimpse our hearts, would we see a deep infestation of sin? Would we find that we have carefully disguised sin-sickness inside us, hidden it behind an attractive "bark" exterior? 

Would we find those less-visible sins like critical, judgmental spirit, covetousness, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness? Even when we hide them behind a smiling exterior, hidden sins still do a work of destruction in our lives.

Do we want to bear fruit? If so, we must be sure our "inside" is as healthy, spiritually, as our demeanor looks to the world. A big smile cannot erase the destruction sin can cause. Laughter cannot eliminate the gnawing cancer of bitterness or unforgiveness. 

There is only one treatment. Removal. Those sins to which we cling must go, so let's be done with them. Let's ask the Great Physician to do the work only He can do.

The objective of removal is not to leave a gaping hole. The objective is for the Great Physician to fill that hole, once occupied by sin, with the Holy Spirit's presence so that we can bear good fruit that lasts.
Our Father, our Great Physician, do your work in me today. Remove the cancer of hidden sin and purify my heart. Make me more like you so I can bear fruit that pleases and glorifies you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
#disciple #JesusChrist #Bible #bearfruit #parableofthefigtree