Category Archives: Discovering God in Nature

Fruit? Or Just Leaves?

WHAT DO OTHERS SEE WHEN THEY LOOK AT US?

Social media is prevalent in our society today. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are places on the social network where people meet to chat, mingle and gather information. We post our best edited pictures, family activities, and the other exciting things that happen in our lives. But what do those posts really tell the viewer about us? Are the posts a true representation  of who we are? Or… are they a smokescreen for the real person behind the network appearance?

shutterstock_108724526That was the challenge Stacy McGinnis laid before the small group of women that met for breakfast, worship, and a lesson from God’s word a couple Saturday’s ago.

Her message?

“God wants us to be more than a Facebook status. He desires us to be more than a collection of our best edited pictures.”

So how does that happen? What would that look like?

Stacy used the parable of the fig tree to teach us God’s desire for our lives.

In the parable of the fig tree, Jesus and his disciples were leaving Bethany. Jesus was hungry and upon seeing a fig tree with leaves on it, he approached the tree in search of fruit. When he reached the tree, he discovered there was no fruit. Jesus then cursed the tree. It withered and died.

Seems harsh, doesn’t it? I always wondered what the poor tree did to deserve being cursed and killed.

In Stacy’s research of the parable, she discovered the fruit of the fig tree appears first, and then the leaves. She also learned a fig tree produces several yields of crop during the year. When Jesus approached the fig tree covered with leaves, there should have  been figs left from a previous yield. In essence, the appearance of the tree led Jesus to believe it was something  it was not. Its appearance lied about its character.

What does our appearance say about us?

Do we bear fruit? Or are we just leaves?

Stacy suggested when we lay our lives bare before others, we are most able to teach them about Jesus. The ugliness of our struggles and perseverance during them testify to our faith in God which carries us through our circumstances. God’s mercy and grace become tangible and believable. We become more than just a collection of our best pictures and stories. We’re normal people who struggle with life like everyone else. It is how we handle the adversity that makes a difference.

God sees our secret sins (Pslam 90:8-9) and warns of wrath and judgement.  He sees our struggles (Romans 8:28) and promises good will come from them. God promises us we are not alone and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-39). When we walk in His light, we will bear fruit naturally. And our fruit will display the truth.

As you contemplate your life and the image you display before others, you must make a decision. What do you desire others to see in you?shutterstock_378423466

Will your life reveal fruit? Or just leaves?

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2, NIV)

Perhaps God is pruning some branches in your life. What is He cutting away? Will others be able to see the results? Share with us your thoughts in the comment section below.
TWEET IT:  “God wants us to be more than a Facebook status.” Stacy McGinnis (Click to Tweet)

Prayer:  Dear Father, we want to be more than just a collection of edited pictures. We want to show others Your love and the mighty works You do in our lives. We can only do that by being vulnerable to share our struggles and hardships. Encourage us to be brave and live a life laid bare for all to see. Work through and in our lives to reveal the fruit You promise we’ll produce. We love you Father. In Your Son’s name we pray, Amen.

The lesson of the fig tree can be found online at www.gotquestions.org, "Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree?".

The parable of the fig tree is found in Matthew 21:18-22 and Mark 11:12-14, 20-25.