Matthew 21:19 ‘And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently, the fig tree withered away
Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him two fold more the child of hell than yourselves
Zechariah 8:16 These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor: execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates.
Jesus could not tolerate hypocrisy. He would not allow people to present themselves as what they were not around Him. And yet He spent most of His time around the weak who ran after Him; misfits who felt comfortable coming to Him to make them whole again; and loved the company of people considered sinners by society as long as they sought His company. He had no problem with people who wanted to get better than they were. He just hated faking. His ability to accept people who wanted to reach higher was so intense that a bleeding woman aspired to touch Him and got His commendation. Such is the mark of those who love truth in the innermost parts. They accept the weak who want better, but reject those who think they are ‘better’ but produce no value.
God desires that we are comfortable in our identity – whatever it is. Just don’t fake it. So Jesus teased the bluthering sons of Zebedee he hang out with in the nick name ‘Boanerges – sons of thunder’. And when Peter had scaled up in learning and spiritual maturity and recognized him as Messiah, He changed his name from ‘reed’ to ‘rock’.
You are good. But you can be better. Just know that to pretend to be what you are not will only draw the ire of the Lord. If you present yourself as a full leafed fig tree, then give us some fruit. Let it be as it seems to be.
His gentle touch assures us that it is okay to be comfortable in every identity. Appreciate that you are a particular mold, though without it all. Acknowledge where you are weak and seek help to improve those gaps. Above all, give of your best in all your different parts – no matter how weak or strong those parts are. And celebrate those strong parts that bring you shining!
In the story of how Israel defeated Jabin and his hosts of chariots and men led by the warlord Sisera in Judges 4 and 5, we find incoherent characters who were not what they presented themselves to be. Barak was given ten thousand men and the assurances of God to lead a war. He was willing to accept the help offered and be declared the general of an army, but he refused to move if someone else would not share the danger. God declared him unfit for glory. Heber was related to Moses by marriage and expected to be an ally of Israel. But he was the one who betrayed them. God showed sarcasm in giving Heber’s wife Jael the glory of ending Sisera’s terror.
In the same story, the bright spots shone on a prophetess who was a judge. A lady learned in the law and who could not be expected to be a soldier. But as leader of the nation, when there was no helping it, and men balked, she squared up her shoulders and led a war. While doing that, she never lost her innate spirituality as a prophetess. She declared the future with conviction. And events panned out as she declared them. And when the fighting was over, she sang and composed poetry – with the same man she had rebuked and prophesied against. What a mixture of roles! What truthfulness from the inner parts! Each facet of her character flowed smoothly and brightly because they were played in truth and authenticity. Without guile and false bravado.
Sometimes we may feel overwhelmed by the diverse sides of our lives. So we get stuck in only one role and refuse to let the other sides of us function. But in each role, Deborah did not pretend to have it all or know it all. She mobilized as much help as she could get. Acted her best in each moment. And shared the limelight while telling the story just as it was.
Prayer: Lord, may I tell the truth not only with forthright words, but in how I conduct my relationships and execute my works. I believe that every part of me is valid and has a right to be expressed. And every part of me is good and ought to be developed for your glory.. I bless you.