Daily Reading & Prayer

Mark 11

July 9, 2024

Read: Mark 11

Mark 11:12-14 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard him say it.”
Mark 11:21,22  Peter remembered and said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!’ ‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered.”


Many people find Jesus cursing the fig tree surprising and uncharacteristic. The tree was “in leaf,” which means it should have had some fruit, as fig trees produce their first figs before their leaves. This is likely why Jesus approached it, expecting to find fruit, and when he found none, he cursed it.

This story makes me think of the time I once took a large bite of a shiny, red apple only to realize it was fake, made of plastic. It looked perfect on the outside, but it was completely useless on the inside. Similarly, the fig tree appeared healthy and fruitful from a distance, but up close, it was barren. Fig trees typically produce small, edible buds called "breba" figs before the leaves fully develop. If a tree has leaves but no figs, it signals a problem.  

This serves as a powerful reminder to us. How often do we look spiritually vibrant on the outside—attending church, reading the Bible, praying—yet lack the true substance and fruit of a genuine relationship with Jesus? Galatians 5:22 reminds us of the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. During this season, let’s think about our lives. Are we merely going through the motions, looking good from the outside but lacking true spiritual fruit? Unlike the fig tree that had no figs, our faith should produce visible results in our actions and character.

This fig tree story challenges us to examine our spiritual lives closely. Are we just putting on a show, like the shiny but fake apple, or are we genuinely growing in our faith? Are we going through the motions – staying spiritually busy – or are we leaning into Jesus and allowing him to produce true spiritual fruit in us? Let’s strive to cultivate a deep, authentic devotion that bears real fruit, reflecting the transformative power of a true relationship with Jesus.

“Busyness is the enemy of spirituality.  It is essentially laziness.  It is doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing.  It is filling our time with our own actions instead of paying attentions to God’s actions. It is taking charge.” – Eugene Peterson


Are you showing signs of genuine faith, or are you merely going through the motions? Be honest with yourself about areas where you may be lacking true spiritual fruit. Take concrete steps to avoid the trap of superficiality – join a Bible study, volunteer in a serve group, share your faith.


Heavenly Father, help me to move beyond superficial actions and truly cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in my life. Guide me as I seek to know you more intimately and live out my faith in a way that glorifies you. Transform my heart and mind so I may produce fruit that honors you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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