Monday, August 20, 2012

Withering Away

“Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.” (Matt. 21:18-19)

            Lest you think Jesus’ actions toward this unfruitful fig tree were a little extreme, I would take you to Revelation 4:11, where the twenty-four elders in heaven declare of God: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” When God creates anything, it’s for His own pleasure. And when His creation doesn’t please Him, whatever pleasure it may bring to anyone else, it has not fulfilled the purpose for which it was created. And environmentalists notwithstanding, He has every right to let it wither away.

            Now, you probably know where I’m going with this, but I still think I need to say it. You and I, along with every other living man, woman, boy, or girl are products of God’s initial act of creation, and we have far more reason to please our Creator than any other part of it. Jesus’ death and resurrection may have provided the promise of redemption from corruption for all of creation (Rom. 8:19-22), but only to mankind does the redemption include sonship to God as joint heirs with His beloved Son (Rom. 8:17). And the whole purpose behind the plan is the glory of God and a means of pleasure for Him. When neither of these is present in our lives, is it any wonder we find ourselves “withering on the vine?”

            God the Father said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). I know that I will not be able to match that until I “see him as he is” (1 Jno. 3:2), but I still pray every morning, “Lord, please show me how I can please you today.” I want to be a fruitful vine, not a withering one. 

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