Jesus hates fruitlessness

In today’s post, I would like to share with you a summary of a message preached by Reverend Balisasa (if I remember the name right) that has stayed with me for about 7 years. I cannot remember the title he gave to the message, but what I remember is this; he explained to me why Jesus cursed the fig tree…, it was not because of His hunger, it was because the fig tree deceived him.

I am sure that if you have lived a few decades on earth already, you may know that old saying; all that glitters is not gold” or more importantly, you may be getting used to the fact that most people are not what they appear to be once you get closer to them. But if there is something I have come to understand about the Lord Jesus, He never seemed to get used to that, in fact, he seems to have hated it.  For example, He called the Pharisees “whitewashed” tombs, white on the outside, but inside was dead man’s bones. And from Reverend Balisasa’s expose’ on the fig tree, Jesus cursed the fig tree not because of His hunger but because it did not have what it claimed to have.

Fig-tree-Umm-al-Hedamus-tb060403141-bibleplaces

In his message, Reverend Balisasa highlighted some important characteristics of the fig tree that helped to expose a deeper understanding of what Jesus did in cursing the fig tree. Firstly, even though figs bear fruit twice or thrice a year, depending on the climate and other conditions of the area, figs can fruit up to ten of the twelve months. Secondly, an interesting characteristic of the fig tree is that its fruits appear before its leaves. Finally, because its fruits remain green for a long time and its leaves were broad enough to cover them, the fruits can easily blend into the leaves. (supporting sources:https://www.gotquestions.org/curse-fig-tree.html, http://www.bibleplaces.com/fig-trees/)

Since I promised you a summary, I will make it this way; 1. Since the fig fruit appears before fig leaves, it is easy to assume that a leafy fig tree has “fruity” fig tree. 2. Since some fig trees could fruit early and some almost throughout the year, a leafy fig tree should be either one of those early fruiters or prolific fruiters, yet this one, in Jesus’ case, was none of the two.

The Lesson: Jesus may be attracted by our and your visible display of religiosity (prayer, church attendance and contribution and may be evangelism) to look for fruits (love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, patience, faithfulness and self-control) on the day of His hunger, and as true fig trees, let’s be sure to bear  fruits before our leaves.

 

 

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MAKING IMPACT IN MINISTRY II

In our last post, we began a series on how to make impact in ministry. Our focus for this series is to provide important guidelines that can be followed in ensuring that we remain fruitful in ministry and that our fruits remain.
As the bible says,
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pe 1:8).

Beyond the qualities directly pointed to in the scripture above, we will discuss other important qualities as outlined in the bible for effective ministry. We will therefore now move to the second point in our discussion;

2. Be Prepared (Make Your Calling Sure)
As Jesus narrated in his parable; Then he (the king) said to his servants…Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage… But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; … Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth’. For many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 22: 9 -14).
As is revealed in the passage above, it is important to “suit up” for the occasion to which we are called.

Barnabas, an apostle of God, is one man that was evidently “suited up” for the occasion of his call. The bible described him as “… a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith” and by his ministry at Antioch, “a great number of people were brought to the Lord…” and “… the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch”(Acts 11: 22-26).
One key ingredient for Barnabas’ success in ministry was his personal disposition or character; he was a good man. The bible in 1 Pe 1:5 – 7 prescribes certain personal traits that are important for a Christian to fruitful and to make his calling and election sure (1 Pe 1:8 – 10).

In addition to our faith in Jesus, the bible prescribes that …make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love (1 Pe 1:5 – 7, NET bible). Being spirit men, these personal characteristics are essentially spiritual reactions to situations and circumstances around us. It is therefore clear how these personal characteristics are evidently like to the fruits of the spirit which include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. It is therefore clear that;

The fruits of the spirit are the primary indicators of spiritual sustainability

Another very important factor is the gift of the Holy Spirit sent by the father. He is the primary source of equipment and skills in ministry. In addition to being recreated spirits at birth (when born again) and thus must live by the spirit and bear the fruits of the spirit, it is important to be guided by the Holy Spirit throughout our lives as Christians. The Holy Spirit is the instructor of the spirit life and the seal of our salvation. Additionally, the Holy Spirit when he comes upon you for ministry endues you with the power necessary for living your authority in Christ Jesus. The power supplied by the Holy Spirit is manifested in the form of gifts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit include, message of wisdom, message of knowledge, faith , gifts of healing, performance of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, speaking of different kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues (1 Cor 12: 8). The gifts serve as tools through which we make our calling or ministry functional and thus accessible for the building up of ourselves and those around us (1 Cor 14:4).


Being prepared for ministry therefore essentially refers to nurturing the fruits of the spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that we can move from one glory of manifestation onto another for the perfection of ourselves and the Saints. Nurturing the fruits of the spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit involves primarily employing effective and efficient study of the word, prayer and fasting. In our next post, if the Lord permits, we will move to a third guideline in our series Making Impact in Ministry. God bless you and do not forget to leave your comments and contributions.