Tuesday – “A BETTER Fruit”
Verse: I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:24-25
Read: Mark 11:12-14, 20-26
It’s early spring and fig trees at this time have already started to grow fruit. Jesus and His disciples are making their way to Jerusalem and Jesus notices a tree which is full bloom of leaves but no fruit. He takes this opportunity to make a statement that the disciples would have understood. Fruit and trees are often used as metaphors for Israel throughout their history (Micah 7:1; Jeremiah 8:13; Hosea 9:10-17). Israel was meant to be a place that would bear much fruit for the nations and speak of the one true God. However, as with this tree, Israel looked like it was in full bloom, but at closer examination it was clear that it wasn’t what it was meant to be. In fact, there was no fruit.
Jesus is concerned with spiritual fruit and the disciples catch on to this immediately on the way back from Jerusalem. But instead of taking issue with Israel, Jesus made it about the disciples and now it’s about us. We are supposed to produce fruit. Even if it’s the smallest, earliest fruit. Fruit should be there and it should remain and grow. And fruit starts with doing the tough stuff like forgiving grudges.
It’s A LOT easier to believe and say a prayer about moving a mountain than it is to relinquish a grudge and forgive someone. Sure, I can look at Mammoth Mountain and say, “God move that mountain” but God looks back at me and says, “Let’s start by moving the mountain of resentment between you and your wife”. Ouch! For you it might not be between you and your wife but yourself and your co-worker, your boss, or even your child.
This week is about allowing Jesus to get in close to your heart. After all, it’s your heart He gave His heart for. To fix your heart, he allowed his to be broken. To give your heart life he allowed His to die. So try to identify what ways fruit is being held back in your life because you’re not willing to do that deep work of pulling the weeds of bitterness, greed, anger or pride. Maybe this week is the week that you forgive because you’ve been forgiven. Let go because you have hold of Him. Jesus wants to cultivate not just more fruit in our life but better fruit in our life.