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No More Figs On My Tree

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For the last two or three days, I have been dreading going in my back yard. It is a beautiful back yard with a nice pergola, lush green grass, and beautiful plants. So why would I dread going to such a restful and soothing space?

I dreaded it because there is a huge fig tree back there as well. We got the tree from our city’s local Arbor Daze celebration probably 8 or 10 years ago. The Parks Department was selling cuttings of the first fig tree that was ever grown in our little town in Texas and we bought one. We knew nothing about growing trees, much less figs. We read a little and planted our little sapling in front of the do-it-yourself greenhouse that we built about the same time.

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Every year since about the third year after we planted it, it has produced. And produce it does. It is an ever-bearing fig tree which means that we get several crops each year. We eat a lot of them raw, give them to friends and neighbors, make fig preserves, and even trade them at the local Middle Eastern market for olives and baklava. We prune it every spring, take cuttings and grow more fig trees to give to our friends. It is a wonderful tree. In the peak of summer, the expanse is so big we can’t see the greenhouse.

So why would I dread it so? I feared that it was covered with ripe figs, again. We have picked three or four large colanders of figs already this year. I didn’t want to make fig preserves because we still have some left from last year.   Mostly, I just didn’t want to have to figure out what to do with them. Give them away, freeze some, eat more?

So I bravely got my colander that I use when I pick figs and went out there, dreading that I would find many, many ripe figs. I reasoned that it would be better to do this dastardly deed before it got too hot.   I would find some that were just right, but many overripe ones that the birds had pecked or I had neglected. I would feel bad, knowing that I had wasted perfectly good fruit.

Much to my delight, I could not find one ripe fig on the tree. I don’t know if the Holy Spirit spoke to me or it just dawned on me, these figs are like my sin. When God looks on the fig tree of my heart, He doesn’t find one sin. At the cross, Jesus picked them all. God is not trying to figure out which sins I have confessed, which ones are overdue, which ones I am not sorry enough for, which ones are still going to need forgiveness. He removed them

as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

I am like my fig tree. He delights in me. I produce good fruit that others are blessed by. There is a place for me to confess my sins to others and claim His forgiveness, ask for prayer that I not do that again. But sins are forgiven by blood, not remorse, confession, promises to do better, or suffering the consequences well. Jesus bore my sins on the cross and I have no fear of judgment because perfect love casts out fear.  “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the Day of Judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. (I John 4:17-19)

In a few days, I will go out with my colander again, expecting to see ripe figs. I will pick them and do something with them but I hope I never forget what I saw this morning.   God doesn’t have a colander, bucket, or box that he collects our sins in, ready to deal with them when we are. 2 Corinthians 5: 21 says that, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God.” God put my sins on His Son and that is where they are going to stay. No ripe figs on my tree, no sin in my account.

Posted on August 5, 2016