Concerning the life of a blessed man, the Scripture says, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3). The divine order is clear:
- God shall plant him.
- God shall produce fruit in him.
- God shall preserve him and his leaf shall not wither.
- God shall prosper him.
These are the glorious fruits of abiding in the Lord. If you were to inspect the man’s life, you would find that there were two kinds of separation. First, he separated from negative influences: he “…walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.” He “…standeth not in the way of sinners.” Also, he “…sitteth not in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:2). Next, he separates himself to the Lord. Verse three says, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD: and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” This is the open secret of his power with God.
There is fruit that remains in his life. God has saved him, and this man is working out all that God has done in him (Philippians 2:12-13). His life is a beautiful thing! And with a humility provided by the Spirit of God, he looks at his life and says, “But by the grace of God, look what God has done!”
Look, then, at the words of Matthew chapter twenty-one. The Bible says, 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 henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! (21:18-20)
The Scripture says here that Jesus found, “…nothing thereon, but leaves only.” Leaves are good, for Psalm one promises that the godly man’s leaf shall not wither, but the importance of the leaves came after the inspection of his fruit. You see, what our Lord was looking for was not the outward appearance of the fig tree but fruit upon the tree. He was not looking for a fig leaf but a fig to quell His hunger. Therefore, our Lord pronounced judgment on the tree that it might forever wither away, for it were better to have no tree at all than a tree that looked healthy enough for fruit bearing and brought forth no fruit.
We all find it easier at times to look like a “blessed” believer than to actually be one. Suffice it to say, it is easier to put on our church clothes, place our Bible under our arms, and plaister a smile on our face upon entering into the sanctuary than to live consciously in the presence of our Lord and do what is necessary to bring forth fruit. It is harder to delight and meditate upon the Scriptures, to make ourselves happy in the Lord Jesus, than simply to put spiritual “make-up” over our sickly appearance, but it is better. It is harder to be a real Christian in the secret place than to feign sincerity in the public place, but it is better! It is harder to bear fruit, but it is better! John chapter fifteen simplifies the matter of fruit bearing where our Lord said, “Abide in me…and my words…abide in you.”
The Christian life is FRUIT FIRST. The Christian life is far beyond people’s perceptions of our spiritual life. It goes deeper than the outward man. It runs farther than our ability to fake genuine Christ-likeness. It is a matter of what God knows us to be. He knows the true nature of our Christianity, and as a refiner’s fire, shall someday separate the “leaves” from what “lasts” for all eternity (I Corinthians 3:12-15).