Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God and not in God Himself.
– Muguel de Unamuno, Spanish philosopher

One morning while Jesus was traveling back to Jerusalem, He became hungry and searched a nearby fig tree for some fruit to eat.  The tree was full of shiny green leaves but had no fruit, and Jesus cursed the tree for being fruitless, or fake, and the tree withered.  Why such harsh actions?  Jesus had been dealing with the Jewish temple leaders and was disappointed to find them to be the same way.  They put on a show and talked about God but didn’t actually follow Him.  They boasted of a Messiah to come, but then didn’t acknowledge Him.  They believed only in the idea of God.  We must also be careful today that we do not fall into that same trap.

  Matthew 21:18-22 ~ The barren fig tree  

Early in the morning, as He was returning to the city, He was hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He went up to it and found nothing on it except leaves. And He said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” At once the fig tree withered.

When the disciples saw it, they were amazed and said, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?”

Jesus answered them, “I assure you: If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you tell this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. And if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

A friend once confessed to me, “I never talk bad about Jesus just in case he’s real.”  It was kind of a sad statement, and I wasn’t exactly sure where my friend stood with her faith. Though none of us are perfect in our faith, if we’re honest with ourselves, we should be able to self-examine our lives to know if we truly believe and follow Jesus, or if we just like the idea of it.  Don’t cheat yourself out of Jesus’ promises to you.  With true faith and honest prayer and Jesus by your side, you will receive many wonderful blessings.

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About the Author

Sue McCusker is a writer, Bible teacher, and web developer who loves to share the stories of life, hope, and faith she sees around her every day. She has written for Guideposts and  Angels on Earth magazines, and teaches the story of God in women's Bible study.

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