We live in a culture that is obsessed with the outward appearance. Billions of dollars are spent on the latest fashions and styles, cosmetics, surgeries, and other treatments in order to improve our outward appearance.
It is not a sin to attempt to improve your outward appearance, that is, as long as it is within reason, and all other areas of life are held in balance.
Jesus had a way of bringing all things into accountability. In His encounter with a fruitless fig tree, He brings our attention to the fact that what really matters is what is on the inside. Jesus, in cursing the fig tree, was illustrating how Judaism had a great deal of “window dressing”, but inwardly it was lifeless and empty. John Calvin wrote that Jesus intended “to present in this tree an outward sign of the end which awaits hypocrites, and at the same time to expose the emptiness and folly of their ostentation” [Calvin’s Commentaries, XVII, 18].
In our passage (Matthew 21:18-23) Jesus addressed the subject, FIG TREE RELIGION OR FAITH, of outwardly dressing the part of religion and having real faith. It is my prayer that we will all become more interested in the inward reality of our faith in Christ than we are concerned about anything else. When that happens, we will begin to see mountains being moved in our lives.