Jesus spoke a lot about living an authentic Christian life. One of the most basic and beautiful teachings about this subject is found in Matthew, chapter thirteen in what is know as “The Parable of the Sower.”
This story gives us a glimpse inside what can happen when a person hears the word of God. Some hear God’s word and don’t understand it. Folks in this categoroy can’t see how a life like the one the Bible speaks of is helpful at all in the world in which they live. Jesus compares their hearts to a hard surface like a road. The word cannot penetrate into their hearts – the seat of their motivations. The word lies dormant and is eaten up by demons whose doctrine and philosophy the person has accepted as their life paradigm.
Others hear God’s word and receive it gladly. They are excited about the promises of God but have hard places lying below the surface in their hearts. Once they realize that their lives are going to have to change to receive the promises, they become offended by the word and, because the word has no source from which to root, they become Christian in name only.
Let’s focus today on the third of four responses to the word that Jesus spoke about.
“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13:22
Things to note from this passage:
First, the seed fell on what appears to be good ground. The word takes root and appears to affect the person’s life. But, a very common problem occurs: other plants try to take up residence in the soil preserved for the seed of the word of God. Two things are mentioned:
- The cares of this world.
- The deceitfulness of riches.
We all know what it is like to worry. But, did you know that a lifestyle of worry actually works against the promises of the Word? That’s what Jesus said. Worry is not just unpleasant – it is a harvest thief! It steals precious faith from the word of God and produces a plant that works contrary to the word of God! Worry is faith working against the Word.
Another harvest killer Jesus spoke of was the deceitfulness of wealth. Did you know that money has a voice? Oh yeah, it will talk to you alright! It will say things like: “Hold on to me!” or “Use me for your pleasure!” Sounds like a lover doesn’t it?
Money seeks to steal your heart from having God as your priority. It wants priority in your life! If you give it priority, then you will live a life of greed. Did you know that money can run your life whether rich or poor? Social status doesn’t matter. Money can take a position of power and influence in life. When it does, it becomes your god. And, when that happens, an authentic Christian life blew away on the winds of greed!
Keep your heart clear of things that seek to occupy the space that only the word should inhabit! If you do, you will be on your way to producing a harvest indicative of an authentic Christian life!