Four days before Jesus was crucified, He saw a beautiful fig tree and cursed it to death. What’s the real story? The real story is that this was a serious moment and time was short. He needed to drive some points home with His disciples, and He wanted them to remember the fig tree vividly. He used this experience to teach the disciples about faith. They marveled at what was done but Jesus told them that if you have faith, not only can you put a fig tree to death, but you can move mountains.

Jesus was also focused on the evil of the Pharisees. You’ll see it if you read through the story particularly in Matthew 21. Jesus cast the money changers out of the temple and called them thieves. He gave two parables. One was the Parable of The Two Sons and the other The Parable of The Tenants. Jesus is driving home this message that God is not happy with empty religion (fig trees without figs) and religion without God is evil, especially in the case of the Pharisees.

But here’s the great news for you and me. We don’t have to settle for an empty religion! Jesus told the Pharisees that they were like whitewashed tombs, clean and white on the outside but full of death and corruption on the inside. We don’t have to be that way. You might not feel clean, but God’s grace can cleanse you and keep you clean. The important thing is that we give Him access to the innermost parts of our hearts and minds. You can’t expect Him to cleanse your heart from the outside. But what an amazing thing He can do when you allow Him to come into your heart and consider Him in all your thoughts.

Make some time to be intentional with God. Prompt yourself by setting an alert on your phone to pray. Set your alarm twenty minutes early and make a habit of having a good talk with God before you allow yourself to get out of bed in the morning. Use time spent waiting, for a table at a restaurant or in a doctor’s office to text someone a kind word or count your blessings and thank God for His goodness. Don’t let a day go by without showing gratitude to your Creator and Savior. Remember that you are God’s conduit of love to your family, your coworkers, and your friends. Make the most of a clean heart and don’t give it up for anyone or anything.