Now early in the morning, as Jesus was coming back to the city, He was hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree at the roadside, He went to it and found nothing but leaves on it; and He said to it, “Never again will fruit come from you.” And at once the fig tree withered.
When the disciples saw it, they were astonished and asked, “How is it that the fig tree has withered away all at once?” Jesus replied to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have faith [personal trust and confidence in Me] and do not doubt or allow yourself to be drawn in two directions, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen [if God wills it]. And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:18-22
Jesus is hungry. Spots a fig tree with leaves. Goes to it - no figs. Curses it and it dies. Why would He do that?
I love doing research and I read that if a fig tree has leaves, it has fruit. The leaves come with the fruit. It’s a given. They go together. But, this specific one had leaves - but no fruit. It was a hypocrite fig tree. A pretender. A fake. A fraud. Fortunately, people are never like that. Right?
The truth is, we see them everywhere. If you’ve been in church for any length of time, you know exactly what I’m talking about. People who are holy at church but the opposite everywhere else.
Of course, they don’t just exist in church. How many times do we see people on social media who have it all together and seemingly perfect lives - yet in private, they are struggling to keep their heads above water!
If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit to being a hypocrite too. Yikes. Me? A hypocrite? A pretender? A fake?
Sometimes I don’t think we do it purposefully. Each of us has a desire to present the best parts of us to the world. It’s why we women put on makeup, right? Praise Jesus for makeup!
We’re taught to hide our flaws and cover imperfections. To appear to the world that we have it all together and everything is grand. However, in reality, our lives are falling apart and we feel lost and broken.
We can all be hypocrites sometimes. Jesus makes a very blunt point of what He thinks about being fake. Of pretending to be one way, but the opposite in reality. It’s safe to say, He doesn’t like it. He has no use for it. He can’t work with it.
Fortunately, He cares about us so much more than a fig tree. The only way that we can be useful to Him - is to be real. Are you broken? He can deal with that. Are you hurting? He can use that. Are you lost and flailing? He can steer you.
So, my encouragement to each of us is to be more real, with God, in our marriages, with our kids and at church. And maybe even social media.
Real is good.
Real is messy.
Real is hard.
Real is where God shows up.
What areas in your life do you need to release to God and get real about? Pray for the courage to do that this week.