An Autumn Kind of Faith
"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." Mark 11:12-13
Here in the Midwest, Autumn has certainly arrived. Cooler temperatures, patches of red, orange and gold, and the days are getting shorter. Fall is known as the season that teaches us to embrace change. And the turning leaves falling to the ground remind us to let go. Though, I certainly agree those are relevant to this time of year, I think Autumn offers an even grander lesson.
Fall is a season of plenty. Nuts, seeds, and fruits are in abundance. Even an array of flowers such as Ivy, Goldenrod, and Heather are in full bloom. These bursts of life and colors have me thinking: I want an Autumn kind of faith.
What is an Autumn kind of faith?
It's the sort of faith that when life gets chilly or less comfortable, you're still able to cling to and find rest in the Lord. You'll trust Him with all your might, and know that you can still yield fruit.
It's the sort of faith that even when the days are darker and the sun isn't shining as much as you'd like, you can find hope in Jesus' presence and draw closer to Him.
It's the sort of faith that when parts of your life look barren or dried up, you can still serve others and bring Him glory. You can walk in His ways and be at peace.
It's the sort of faith that no matter what the circumstance, your faith will be rich and vibrant and abundant, providing you a lasting joy in the Lord.
That's the kind of faith I want to have.
The dry types of seasons in life, the ones in which everything seems to be lifeless and difficult, appear to offer us a reason to sit out on the sidelines, to step back from pursuing God, and to take a break from practicing righteousness. Autumn reminds us, though, that we've got no excuse. We can bloom in any season and the fruit of our labor can be ample in every situation.
When Jesus encountered the fig tree, it wasn't in season. It had a great excuse to not bear fruit. But Jesus went on to curse the tree. Like the fig tree, Jesus wants us to bear fruit. Though the fig tree is only able to bear fruit during a certain time of year, as His followers, we can be faithful anytime and all the time, whatever the season or situation. And we should be. Every day we can love others, further His kingdom, and choose to deepen our relationship with God.
When you're struggling in your marriage, or at your job, or your family is facing one battle after another, you can bear fruit. When you're fighting off sinful temptations, or your car won't start, or you get into another heated argument with your teenager, you can bear fruit. This isn't easy, I know, but it's the life God wants us to live as His beloved children. We're called to be fruit-bearers. Life will never be perfect enough, or right enough, so we live for Him anyway and do our best to bear fruit. And this expectation is for our good because He always has our best in mind.
Each season we find ourselves in we make the choice to help others, share our abundance, and foster our faith so that it can grow by leaps and bounds even in the cold, dark moments. What we learn from Jesus' encounter with the fig tree is that we have an obligation to bear fruit. God calls us to a standard of righteousness that pushes us beyond excuses and moves us toward faithful living... in every season. Put your trust in God regardless of what you are doing, resist the urge to give up, and remember how faithful God is. This is how you will begin to have an Autumn kind of faith that shines bright no matter the season.
This Week’s Reading Plan
As you read the following passages this week, ask yourself these questions:
1) What verse comforts me that I can commit to memory?
2) What word or phrase stands out?
3) What am I learning about God from this? 4) How can I apply this to my life today?
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Author: Pamela Myers Palmer
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