Things that choke – Part 2
“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” NIV
In the first part of this message, I drew attention to Jesus’ warning to us that the word of God is only going to do us good if we receive it, obey it and allow it to have its way in our lives. It will flourish and abound to our great benefit if we are careful to ensure that it is not choked off. It is not enough just to hear the message or even know about it. The thing that makes the difference is whether we act on it and allow it to act on us! The more we receive the message, yield to it and allow it to be rooted in our lives, the more fruitful it becomes in us, the more we truly enjoy the kind of life our Father desires for us to live.
One of the big challenges we face in yielding to the word of God is what Jesus called “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth.” These worries come from a wrong perception, a perception sowed by the enemy of our souls – that wealth secures for us a better life. Therefore we spend our lives pursuing wealth and in the process we neglect our relationship with God, compromise on His Word, and put aside His commandments. We become so preoccupied with these things that it squeezes God out of our lives. It is so deceptive that many don’t even know they are being deceived; but look at how much time they have for God each day; look at their spiritual passion for the things of God; look at their lifestyle, and you can tell. God puts before us a different way: He said that if we seek Him first, if we get our priorities right, He will take care of all our needs and we will be free to enjoy the life that God has given us to the fullest. That is the promise of Matthew 6:33.
We have a choice to make in this matter: we can take God at His word and trust that if we put Him first, we will enjoy that abundant life that Jesus promised, or we can depend on ourselves to accumulate wealth and find success. Make no mistake though – one way leads to God, the other leads away from God. One way leads to a rich harvest, the other way leads to thorns.
Beware those thorns. They have a habit of growing up where we lest expect them. The “deceitfulness of wealth” – the mesmerizing, captivating idea that money alone brings success, security, happiness – is a powerful force that seduces and ensnares. No one is really immune from its captivating ways. To stay free of those thorns, we need to stay close to Jesus – sit with Him each day in prayer and communion, keep planting His Word in our hearts, make sure our hearts are fully yielded to Him, keeping laying everything before Him. It’s not a hard thing to do; it’s a lot easier than trying to handle the thorns.