Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Am I that fig tree?

Have you noticed how easy it is to fall into the trap of self-judgement? Okay, so there is a place for accepting responsibility and owning our mistakes and failures, but we so easily take on the mantle of the worst of sinners that I think it gets in the way of a more realistic understanding of who and what we are in Christ.

Yesterday my reading in Luke was the story of the fig tree that hadn't borne any fruit for some time. The solution was either cut it down now or give it another year and then cut it down if things haven't changed. Hands up who feels like the fig tree. But is asking, "Am I the fig tree?" the right question? I'm not so sure. Perhaps some days it is, but most of the time it's not the most helpful question to ask. It only leads you to judge yourself unworthy and of no value to the mission of God in the world he created and for which he sent his Son as the Father, and for the Son died as a Saviour. If God thought we were worth that kind of effort, who are we to argue?

So, here's an alternative question to ask having read about the fig tree.

How am I living intentionally for the kingdom of God in ways that have the potential to bear fruit for that kingdom?

Or, as I seem to recall Rick Warren putting it: Are you living on purpose and with purpose? Or words to that effect. It's the spiritual equivalent of David Allen's, "What is the next physical thing I have to do to get this thing done?" It's a motivator not a demotivator. Too often our spiritual questions are laden with guilt. But the goal of our lives is not to wallow in guilt and the almost inevitable self-pity that follows, but to pursue God and in pursuing him to be found by him. Can I really do that if most of the time I'm worrying that he will cast me aside like the fig tree in the story?

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