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What’s Choking You?

Today’s verse is from ‘the Parable of the Sower’. The seed which falls on the path doesn’t do anything, because it’s snatched away from the hearer. The seed on the stony ground doesn’t last long, because it lacks depth to survive. The seed on the good ground bears much fruit. But, I found myself drawn to the verse above. It represents those who are saved and start off so well, but ‘stuff’ gets in the way. This isn’t the persecution mentioned in relationship to the seed on stony ground.

The thorns that choke the seed of God’s word in the lives of the people represented here are not persecution, but subtler, yet very powerful, factors. If Satan can’t stop us following Jesus, he has other tools to use in his extensive toolbox. They may not seem powerful, but they are if we let them. Life’s worries, riches and pleasures.

They all have one thing in common. They can totally occupy our thinking. Thinking leads to action, and that creates behaviour. Behaviour affects destiny. Worries or concerns about our family, our health, our job, our work, and what people think of us, fill our minds. The list is almost endless. The more we think about them, the bigger those concerns become. Yet Jesus said not to worry in Matthew 6:34.

Riches and pleasures seem the opposite of worries and concerns. But again, they fill our minds. How can I become richer? How much money is enough? Pleasure is like a drug, and for some it’s exactly that, as their lives are addicted to chasing after it. All three fill our minds to overflowing, and they’re our first thought when we wake up, the last when we go to sleep, or they occupy our minds, making sleep difficult. The idea of these things choking the spiritual life out of us is a vivid one.

So what about you? What about me? What’s choking us? What’s growing alongside our desire to follow Jesus, and slowly taking over? What’s occupying more of our thoughts than God? What’s taking up more of our time than God? It doesn’t happen immediately. It’s often a slow and steady creep of the enemy, not tackling us head-on, but working by stealth to enslave us. The seed of the Word of God in this soil is notable because of its lack of fruit. Nothing fruitful grows here. There’s no time for it. Yes, we’re still saved, but we’re unfruitful. Our talent (to refer to another parable) is buried, not intentionally or wilfully, but neglectfully.

In the natural realm a seedling can’t change itself. But we can choose to change. We can choose to stop the Word of God being buried amongst the thorns and choking our spirituality to death. With one bound we can choose to be free, by repenting of filling our minds and our lives with worries, riches and pleasures. We can turn to Jesus, asking Him to make us fruitful. It isn’t easy, but which would you rather do, end your life being filled with the things the enemy wants, or fruitful in the service of God? It begins and ends with our mind, and what we focus on.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I repent of allowing the enemy to fill my mind with worries. You’ve told me not to worry. I repent of filling my mind full to overflowing with worldly riches and pleasures. You alone are all I need. Your grace is enough for me. If You choose to bless me with wealth, then help me to use it to bless others, as well as enjoying what You’ve given me, for You’re a good God, desiring to bless Your children with good things. Today I choose to change my focus and fix my eyes on You. Amen.
 

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Scripture

"The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature."
Luke 8:14, NIV

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Today's Writer

Philip Asselin is on the associate ministry and teaching teams with Glyndley Manor. He, and his wife Gillian, attended the second Healing Retreat at Glyndley Manor in 1992, and were greatly helped. They have 2 grown up children and one grandson, plus a step-granddaughter (both in California).

Philip Asselin


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