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Spiritual Fruitlessness

Mon­day. [I Cor. 15:12-19; Matt. 21:18-22] The Lord con­demn­ed the fig tree to fruit­less­ness be­cause in ap­pear­ance it was so cov­er­ed with leaves that there ought to have been fruit on it; how­ev­er, none could be found. In ap­ply­ing this to the Chris­tian life, the leaves rep­re­sent out­ward works of pi­e­ty and out­ward spir­i­tu­al feats, while the fruits rep­re­sent in­ner dis­po­si­tions. This is a law: the for­mer should pro­ceed from the lat­ter. But out of con­de­scen­sion for our in­fir­mi­ty, the lat­ter should in any case de­vel­op to­geth­er with the for­mer. When the for­mer are strong but the lat­ter are not even bud­ding, a lie of life re­sults, which ex­press­es it­self like this: to seem, but not to be. At first this un­for­tu­nate state is per­haps not in one’s thoughts, but then it ap­pears un­no­tice­ab­ly and es­tab­lish­es it­self as a way of life. When one ap­plies him­self ex­ces­sive­ly to externals and be­comes pas­sion­ate­ly at­tached to them, his at­ten­tion to­ward his heart is sup­press­ed, his spir­i­tu­al feel­ings die a­way, and cold­ness set­tles in. At this stage spir­i­tu­al life freezes, and there re­mains on­ly an ap­pear­ance of pi­e­ty, but no pi­e­ty. The be­hav­iour is prop­er on the out­side, but in­ward­ly to the con­tra­ry. The con­se­quence of this is spir­i­tu­al fruit­less­ness–deeds are done, but they are all dead.

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