I’m shocked these days as I look around. Everyone it trying so hard to be something their not. It’s no wonder we’re racking up so much debt. We all want to look like we have it all together. We need to have the nicest car, the nicest home or the nicest clothes.

I remember when I was younger and I wanted to get a job, I would pad my resume just a little bit. I wouldn’t quite lie, but I would stretch the truth a little bit. In stead of saying that I helped move shingles up to a roof, I said that I had roofing experience. You see I was trying to make it look like I had some experience, but really I had none. I was less then I appeared.

Our churches are not much different. Our churches are full of people who are pretending to be who they think they’re supposed to be, instead of just being who God made them to be. These people are not thinking about what God sees, but what their outward appearance is. Maybe they don’t want people to know about their marriage troubles, or that their kids have a drinking or drug habit. The people go to church and make it appear that they have it all together.

Jesus encounters a group of people like this in Mark 11:11-26

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.

12 On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. 13 Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. 15 Then they *came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. 17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERS’DEN.” 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.

19 When evening came, they would go out of the city.

20 As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. 21 Being reminded, Peter *said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus *answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. 25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”

If that passage seems a little disjointed, it’s not. Mark was trying to teach us something here. Jesus walked into the Temple and took around at all the people. To the disciples and others in the Temple, everything looked good. People were praying, and sacrificing just like they should. But you see, Jesus saw into the motivation behind what the people were doing, he would see the attitude of their hearts, the real reason they were doing what they were doing.

The next day, oh his way back to the Temple, Jesus condemned a tree that had no fruit. The tree was full and leafy and looked great, but it had no fruit on it. Now I know and Jesus know’s that it was not the time for figs, but he’s trying to get a point across to the disciples. At this point they don’t get it, they just think he’s a little off because, it’s not fig season.

The point Jesus is trying to make becomes clear when we begins to teach the people in the Temple, and says his “HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS.” The people in the Temple had been going through the motions, they had been praying, but their prayers were out of duty instead of sincere desire to commune with the living God. They had been sacrificing, but because it was what they were supposed to do. In other words they were leafy, but were not bearing any fruit.

What is fruit?

For the longest time, I have been told that fruit is the number of people that you’ve lead to Christ. But I have a different idea of what fruit is. I think that Jesus’ measure of fruitfulness is tied to our desire to know and have genuine relationship with Him.

The tree that Jesus cursed looked good on the outside, it was full of foliage, well waters, and appeared healthy, but when he pushed away the foliage, there was no fruit. He saw the same thing in the Temple, a place that looked like things were good and healthy. Prayer, sacrifice and fellowship, but it was hollow and showy.

2 Chronicles 16:9 says:

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.

True fruit is a heart and a lifestyle that is truly devoted to the search for Him and for His truth. He doesn’t care what you look like on the outside, because He sees to the core of who you are. He see the attitude of your heart.

When Jesus chose the discples he didn’t choose the smartest, or the best looking, I think he picked the ones that he knew would sincerely want to learn. The ones that would seek to have genuine relationship with him.

The same is true today, God is looking for those of us who are more than meets the eye. Those of us who search for him sincerely. Those who long to have a genuine relationship with him. Those who search for him as he searches for us.

Is there more to you than meets the eye, or are you less than you appear?