- Mark 4:13-20
Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown."
The thorns did not stop the seed from growing, but they just made sure that it did not grow up to produce fruit. In the same way we can look at Christianity in the West and conclude that the devil has not stopped it. There are more churches, Bible schools and theological seminaries than in most other places in the world. Most of the European countries even have Christianity as their state religion.
But still Christianity in Europe has a big lack of power. We have more knowledge about the Bible, history, and philosophy than other continents, but we lack the spiritual fruits that should follow. We know that Jesus healed the sick and cast out devils, that the spiritual world is real and that the first disciples walked in the same power Jesus operated in. But the supernatural dimension we read about in our Bible is just not part of our daily life.
To explain the obvious lack of power, many Christians create doctrines about why we don't see the same supernatural manifestations today. This prevents us from feeling guilty or searching our own hearts for why there is such an obvious lack of power.
When Jesus explains the parable to His disciples, He reveals that there are three things that choke the word of God and make it unfruitful.
- The worries of this life
- The deceitfulness of wealth
- The desire for other things
If you don't worry about things concerning this life, like work, study, a place to live, food, clothing and so on you are quickly looked upon as irresponsible, even though Jesus directly tells us not to worry about this life.
- Matthew 6:25,30-31, 33-34
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear... If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?... But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
God has put you here on earth with a purpose, and it's not getting a PhD and being able to enjoy luxury. He has put you here on earth because He wants you to be His co-worker. God has an agenda and He has invited you to help. It's not because He's not able to do it alone, but He has given us the privilege of participating in His mission.
When we join Him and focus on fulfilling His plans, He has no problem with blessing us – but He wants our focus to be right.
The Bible has strong warnings when it comes to our attitudes to the world we are living in, and it's not without a reason.
- In James 4:4 it is written:
You adulterous people,t don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
- And in 1. John 2:15-17 it is written:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Fathert is not in them.For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
In the same way our life is like a garden placed in the middle of a forest. There are weeds everywhere, and if we don't pull up the weeds by the roots daily, they will take over our garden in no time.
The result will be that the Word of God planted in our heart will grow up together with weeds. This will deprive the Word of its power to transform our life and make us unfruitful in the eyes of God. We might have the right knowledge and know all the right answers, but there will be no spiritual power.
Remove the weeds before seeking new revelation
So often we go from conference to conference, searching for some kind of new revelation that will boost our spiritual life and bring a change. But the problem is that as long as our hearts are full of weeds, the new revelation will not produce any lasting change. We might sow a new seed, it might grow up, but the thorns will “... choke the word, making it unfruitful”.
Before we seek a new revelation or go to a new Bible school we should prepare the soil of our hearts by removing the things that Jesus said would choke the Word. We should examine ourselves and make sure that the worries of this life, wealth and desire for other things are not filling our thoughts. Instead we should constantly renew our minds, so that we will be able to understand what God wants.
- Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Don't just live thinking that everything will work out in the end. You are living in a world that is in opposition to the Kingdom you have inside of you. If you are walking around with your guard down, you will be conformed to this world. If you don't pull up the weeds as soon as they appear, they will take over your garden. Take heed to the warnings the Bible gives us because they are just as relevant today as when they were written.