Mark 11:20-25 (MSG) In the morning, walking along the road, they saw the fig tree, shriveled to a dry stick. (21) Peter, remembering what had happened the previous day, said to him, "Rabbi, look--the fig tree you cursed is shriveled up!" (22) Jesus was matter-of-fact: "Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, (23) and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, 'Go jump in the lake'--no shuffling or shilly-shallying--and it's as good as done. (24) That's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you'll get God's everything. (25) And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it's not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive--only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins."
In this passage, two unusual incidents are related: the cursing of the fig tree and the clearing of the Temple. The cursing of the fig tree was an acted-out parable related to the clearing of the Temple. The Temple was supposed to be a place of worship, but true worship had disappeared. The fig tree showed promise of fruit, but it produced none. Jesus was showing his anger at religious life without substance. If you claim to have faith without putting it to work in your life, you are like the barren fig tree. Genuine faith has great potential; ask God to help you bear fruit for his Kingdom.
Fig trees, a popular source of inexpensive food in Israel, require three years from the time they are planted until they can bear fruit. Each tree yields a great amount of fruit twice a year, in late spring and in early autumn. This incident occurred early in the spring when the leaves were beginning to bud. The figs normally grow as the leaves fill out, but this tree, though full of leaves, had no figs. The tree looked promising but offered no fruit. Jesus' harsh words to the fig tree could be applied to the nation of Israel. Fruitful in appearance only, Israel was spiritually barren.
Embracing this "God-life" means accepting and obeying God's Word and conditions. If we want to flow in the Spirit and have a right relationship with God our Father, then we MUST forgive, in WORD and ACTION. Then our prayers become very effective.
James 5:16 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
If you want your prayer to be something to be "reckoned with" then you MUST embrace this "God-life" God's way!
The kind of prayer that moves mountains is prayer for the fruitfulness of God's Kingdom. It would seem impossible to move a mountain into the sea, so Jesus used that illustration to show that God can do the impossible. God will answer your prayers but not as a result of your positive mental attitude. Other conditions must be met: (1) You must be a believer; (2) you must not hold a grudge against another person; (3) you must not pray with selfish motives; (4) your request must be for the good of God's Kingdom. To pray effectively, you need faith in God, not faith in the object of your request. If you focus only on your request, you will be left with nothing if your request is refused.
"Lord, I choose today to EMBRACE this "God-life." That means that I will forgive anyone that I hold a grudge against. Way too often, I nurse that grudge instead of killing it. Please forgive me for allowing bitterness, hurt, offense, and the lack of forgiveness to keep me from embracing the life You have for me. Today, I let go of the past. I let go of the hurt. I choose to forgive. I will not allow bitterness to rob me of the blessed life. I will not allow the flow of the Spirit to be hindered any longer because of my desire to please the whims of the flesh. I die to my flesh this morning and walk in, and embrace, the God-life! In Jesus name, amen!"
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 9:26 AM