We read in Mark 11:11-21 of Jesus cursing a fruitless fig tree, cleansing the Temple for a second time, and the fig tree dying from the cruse. This fig tree represented Israel during Jesus’ day and time, fruitless. The lesson of the fig tree is clear, that those who do not bear fruit will face God’s judgement. The inverse is also true that those bearing fruit will receive God’s blessing. However, how do we bear fruit? This is the question we want to address in this article.
What fruit are we talking about here? There is such a thing as bad fruit. God through the prophet Isaiah said to Israel that “He expected [them] to produce good grapes, but [they] produced only worthless ones” (Isaiah 5:2b). They had produced fruit that had no redeeming qualities to it. We do not want to bear bad fruit for God, do we? No! Our desire is bear good fruit that is useful to the Master. This good fruit can be seen in Galatians 5:22-23 and 2 Peter 1:5-8 where the Scriptures speak of the fruit of the Spirit and the Christian virtues. Of both of these Peter’s words fit well, “if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8). So how do we produce such fruit?
First, we need to start with our roots. The Psalmist in Psalm 1:3 says of the blessed man that “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does he prospers.” What made this man have such strong roots? The word of God. In v.2 we read “his delight is I the Law of the Lord, and in His law, he meditates day and night.” If we are wanting to bear good fruit, we need to dig our roots deep into God’s word daily.
Secondly, if we are going bear fruit, we need to make sure we are nourishing our roots with good quality food. In the parable of the fig tree (Luke 13:6-9) the owner wanted to destroy the tree because it had born no fruit. The attendant protested and said to the owner, “Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put fertilizer; and if it bears fruit net year, fine; but if not, cut it down” (Luke 13:8-9). What was the solution to the tree having not born any fruit yet? Better food! So, if we are wanting to bear good fruit, we need to make sure we are eating spiritually good food. Food such as sermons, books, and studies that get us into the Text, that challenge us to live more fully in the Gospel and deepen our knowledge of God.
Finally, if we are going to bear fruit, we need to embrace the Lord’s pruning. Jesus has told us in John 15:2 “and every branch that bears fruit He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” What is the Lord’s pruning? Every time we read His word and we are convicted by it, every time it tells us of what we should be doing, every time it exhorts us to live by the high calling to which we have been called, that is the Lord’s pruning. He is actively working on us so that we can become more like His son. To grow in holiness. His pruning will always achieve its results if we submit to it like clay in His hands (cf. Jeremiah 18:1-6).
We can bear fruit and not be like the baren fig tree in Mark 11 if we are willing to dig deep with our roots, feed them well, and embrace God’s pruning.