“Can a believer NOT love God?”
Another way to look at the question might be, “Can a fig tree NOT bear fruit?”
The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it. The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!” Mark 11:12-14, 20
I believe this passage confirms how critical it is for believers to bear fruit, both in season & out of season. Jesus didn’t find any fruit on the fig tree, so he cursed it, & it wasn’t even fig season. Does this mean, if we don’t bear fruit, even out of season, then we don’t really love God, & we stand the real possibility of getting cursed? That sounds harsh, but I think Jesus used harsh examples in order to motivate us. When the disciples came back & marveled at the withered tree, Jesus replied “Have faith in God”. Then He goes on to talk about faith moving mountains, so did Jesus curse the fig tree simply to show the disciples the power of faith, or to show them the importance of bearing fruit? I think it was more than just, ‘Hey, watch what a neat trick you can do with a little faith’…but rather, ‘If you’re not bearing fruit, your entire identity is questionable’.
We have the wonderful assurance & the unfailing promise that God will never leave us. We can trust that He will always be with us, regardless of our failures. And yet this time of year, specifically the next few days, we mark the time in history when God turned His back on his beloved Son. Even Abraham, as he offered up his son Isaac, had God by his side all the way. In the end, God saved Isaac from death. But Jesus had to bear all the world’s sin himself, without God’s protection & most harshly, without God’s presence. He would not be saved from death.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Matthew 27:46
Jesus had to bear the weight & the wrath of our sin without His Father’s loving hand. He cried out, but no one answered.
Have you ever seen someone who is “rhythmically challenged” try to dance? It’s usually awkward or downright comical. Some of my guitar students try to imitate & manufacture rhythm mechanically, but some have natural rhythm that just flows out of them. When a worship leader is mechanical, or tries to imitate someone, or follow a formula, it doesn’t work. But when they step aside & allow the Spirit of God to flow out of them, it’s a beautiful thing.
It was straight from her lips to my heart.
I was strumming some chords with one of my students & I decided it would be good for him to write some lyrics to go with it, so he came up with some really good words, starting with “When the light of the Son comes shining down”. I asked if he meant “sun” or “Son” & he said “Let’s make it a church song”…
Thomas asked me, “Are you a Baptist?” so I said, “I’m non-denominational”
He said, “So you’re Methodist…that’s almost like a Christian, right?”
It wasn’t for the stupid stuff, the little acts of disobedience, the laziness. Those are just symptoms of the real problem.
It was for who I am…that’s what wounded Him. It was for the very essence of what I am, not just what I do, but what I am. That’s why He was wounded & bloodied & beaten to death.
Jesus, can you hear me? I’m in need of a friend.
And I hear you gave me something long ago…
On a hillside hung on a tree, He gave His life for you & me
All for me, He did it all for me
Did they hurt you? Did they laugh at you? Did they beat you, all for me?
But did you fight them? Did you curse them? or did you love them anyway?
All for me, He did it all for me
Do you feel like God’s love can’t reach you today? Are you too far gone? Well, I thought I was…
I wondered, “Is there a love that can cover all of my sin?” I looked around & there He was. Jesus wasn’t up on a throne, sitting with His arms crossed saying, “Poor little Joel”. No, He was down there with me, in the scum & the muck, lifting me up out of the pit & placing me on a solid rock.