What’s keeping you from being effective? Productive? Fruitful? Healthy and mature in your relationship with Christ?
All this month, we’re talking about harvest… looking at the Scriptures that speak to this theme. In the four Gospels, Jesus told the Parable of the Sower. The seed – which was the life-changing, life-giving Word of God – fell on different kinds of soil, or hearts. Some seed grew quickly, but just as quickly withered and died. Some never took root at all.
But some “fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.” (Luke 8:7)
This is the verse that I think should really grab our attention today – those of us who are committed Christ-followers. The seed has taken root, so we’re not in danger of being hard soil. And we’ve survived the initial challenges to our faith. It’s here to stay.
But how healthy is it?
Jesus explained to His disciples just what the thorns were and what they could do:
“Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.” (Mark 4:19 AMP)
Luke 8:14 puts it just a little differently, sheds even more light: “And as for what fell among the thorns, these are [the people] who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked and suffocated with the anxieties and cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not ripen (come to maturity and perfection).” (Luke 8:14 AMP)
I think every one of us is always in danger of our spiritual growth being “choked,” of being suffocated or distracted, of neglecting our relationship with Jesus. Always in danger of putting other “gods”—other desires, other priorities, other relationships – before Him. It’s how our hearts work.
So this week during my quiet time, I’m asking myself some tough questions … and then taking steps to tackle whatever issues I find.
I thought I’d share the questions and the steps with you: