What does it mean to live an authentic Christian life?
The Parable of the Sower found in Matthew chapter thirteen details part of Jesus’ teaching on this very topic. First, Jesus explains what happens when the Word touches a heart but has no platform of faith on which to land. The heart is hardened by unbelief and the influence of demons and the Word finds no place in which it can be rooted and flourish. I wrote about that condition in a blog entitled, “The Wayside.”
There are varying degrees of fruitfulness that occur when the Word is received by the hearer. Let’s look at one of those today found in Matthew 13:20-21:
“But he who received the seed (word) on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”
Notice carefully what happens in this instance.
The person spoken of by Jesus hears the word and immediately receives it and does so with joy!
“Hallelujah!! We have another convert to the kingdom!! This person is now saved and will live the life of an authentic Christian!”
Unfortunately, there are realities below the surface of this person’s life; in the unseen realm of the soul – where only Jesus sees that are called “stony places.” Jesus describes the problem as “having no root in himself.”
The person in this case is excited by the promises of the word. But, “having no root in himself” means that there is no “source” inside.
The word of God must have a “source” from which to operate. The word of God is not a “self help” book but a pathway to transformation. It changes circumstances through the transformation of the person it touches. Between the person and the help they desire in their circumstances stands a “cross.” To get the resurrection power that changes circumstances, one must die to their current way of living.
If a person wants the benefits of the word without the requisite transformation of the soul then the person has no “source” from which fruit can be produced.
So, when the word demands death to produce life, the person balks – becomes offended at the demands of the word and stumbles or abandons authentic Christianity.
This type of approach to the word is rampant in society. So many who appear to have been saved are not converted and therefore, they produce no fruit.
Do you have any root in you? Is there a source from which the word can produce transformation of your desires, behavior, thoughts, goals, and love?
There is still more that can be found in Matthew chapter thirteen regarding living an authentic Christian life. Next time we’re together, we’ll take another look!