Making Better Thought-Movies One Truth At A Time

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The Parable of the
Barren Fig Tree


The Parable:

Luke 13.6-9

"He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.


The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree:

  • The leaves were plenty, but the fruit should have come onto the tree before the leaves...
  • So, the leaves appearing now reveal fruit failure
  • Fruit on a fig tree can take three years to appear
  • There is a cost to have a tree in a vineyard - it takes water, soil, energy, fertilizer, weeding, and when there are no results - then removal is in order to save a further labor costs, and space that can be used for trees that will produce fruit.
  • There is no return on investment for a failed tree - no fruit is the defining measurement

  • The "imagination" is a whole world inside the mind...

Parables are powerful "word-pictures" that are meant to be engrafted into our thinking...as mental pictures do control our thought-life.

That's where the "imagination" gets involved. The imagination allows mental exploration of the past, present, future. It is the ability to see pictures and images in the "movie theater" of the mind. The imagination is the "workshop" of the human mind. It is the only thing in the world we have complete control over. That's why GOD takes great interest of what goes on there, and judges what we allow to grow there - Genesis 6.5


There's a "hidden" part of this parable. Here it is...

  • The fig tree vine-dresser pleads for one more year
  • His plan of action is interesting
  1. Dig around it
  2. "Dung" it!

On the surface, the word dung is used for fertilizer, or manure - but there is more to this than at first glance...


Why does the Holy Spirit of GOD say "dig around the fig tree and dung it?"

The reason for a fruit tree is to bear fruit!

I know that is a shocking statement, but if a farmer puts seed into the ground, using labor and work to properly prepare the soil - then it is unacceptable to have a "no fruit" yield.

The tree owes its' existence merely on how much fruit shows up on the branches.

This was a "barren fig tree" and the vine-dresser wanted more time to execute a plan to save the tree from being "cut down"...


Let's throw some scriptures into the mix here and see if we can see something...

Galatians 5.22-23

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.There is no law against these things!

There is no argument here. We are to show these in our personal life...


John 15.8

"When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father."

We can understand this.

But, look at this verse...

The Barren Fig Tree

Philippians 3.8

" Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," KJV

"Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ" NLT


Let's look at the "Dung Gate"

What was the Dung Gate?

  • It was a designated place in Jerusalem where the inhabitants of the city were able to dispose of the garbage and refuse, and body waste
  • After disposal of the waste, they washed themselves and returned home  

I suspect we have piles of "spiritual dung" that needs to be disposed of, and failure to do so will prevent any fruit of the spirit to grow in our lives...



What is "dung" to the believer in Jesus Christ?

  • Matthew 15:11-20 "Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man... whatsoever enters in at the mouth goes into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man…"  [more]

    Many unfruitful believers collect "dung!"

They allow:

  • Bitterness
  • Resentment
  • Unforgiveness
  • Share "dung" with any busybody available
  • Enjoy the smell, makes them feel clean
  • They dwell on "dung" and refuse to let it go



How to "dung it!"

2 Peter. 8-9

"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.


Christians must learn to pray for those who hurt them -

Matthew 5.44 "But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

The main core truth of Christianity is forgiveness.

  • Jesus came and died to forgive, and we must learn to do the same.
  • We are told to pray, “Forgive us our sins just like we forgive each other.” In fact, if we harbor an unforgiving spirit - we are unwittingly asking God NOT to forgive their own sins! 
  • Forgiveness of sin was why Jesus came into this world and the reason he suffered and died.
  • If someone has wronged you and you cannot forgive them, you too are committing a very serious sin, and unless you repent, your own sins can not be forgiven. 
  • Forgiveness includes forgiving yourself. This is very important and sometimes easily overlooked. Some of us find it easy to forgive others but extremely hard to forgive ourselves for our own failings. This is where real "faith" comes into play...

So, take the "dung" to the dung gate. Get rid of it. Put it under the blood.

When the Holy Spirit gets our obedience in this matter - we will produce fruit!


1 John 1.9 "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."

The more garbage we take to the "dung gate" - the more we fertilize our life to grow and produce the wholesome and desirable fruits of the Holy Spirit of GOD.


See 40 things we must "put off" and 40 things we must "put on" to be fruitful...

Return to 75 parables

Making Better Thought-Movies One Truth At A Time

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