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[Eph. 2:19-3:7; Mark 11:11-23] The fig tree covered with leaves was splendid in appearance, but was not honoured with approval from the Lord because there was no fruit on it, and there was no fruit because there was no inner fruit-bearing power. How many such fig trees there are in the moral sense! In appearance all is proper, but on the inside there is nothing. They are orderly, honourable, and fulfil all that is Christian, but they do not have the spirit of life in Christ Jesus; that is why they do not have living fruit. And what is in them only seems to be fruit, but is not. In what lies the spirit of life in Christ Jesus? To this we say: one part in this is from the Lord, and the other from us. What is from the Lord essential ly is a fruit-bearing spiritual power; while what comes from us is just the receiver of this power. Concern yourself more with the latter. The root of this is the feeling that you are perishing, and that if it were not for the Lord, you would perish. From this you will have a heart that is broken and humbled, in every thing you do, throughout your life. Further, since the future is un known, there are many enemies, and you can stumble every mo ment, fear and trembling accompa ny salvation, along with the unceas ing cry: “O Thou Who knoweth all things, save me.” Woe to him also who rests on something other than the Lord; woe to him who has worked for something other than the Lord! Ask yourself, you who la bour in deeds which are considered God-pleasing, for whom are you working? If your conscience boldly answers: only for the Lord — it is good; but if not, you are building a house upon the sand. Here are sev eral indications of a fertile inner spirit. You can understand many other things according to this.
Saint Theophan the Recluse