Don’t choke your faith!
Don't let the worries, riches and pleasures of this life destroy your relationship with Jesus.
Jesus was great at using everyday life to explain complex spiritual issues. On one occasion, he talked about how a person’s faith can either be nurtured or destroyed. Here’s how he put it:
"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown." (Luke 8:5-8)
Let’s take a look at what Jesus meant, while keeping in mind that the seed is the Word of God — the Gospel, the message about Jesus, the Good News. (Luke 8:11). There's four places the seed can end up:
1. The path
This is people who hear the gospel and then “the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved” (Luke 8: 12). Perhaps you’ve known people like this in your life. They hear the gospel, they seem to get it, but they never really make the commitment to Christ. Pray that God may soften their hearts.
2. The rocky ground
Jesus says these are “the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.” What’s the key point here? You need to get deep with Jesus! Don’t be a shallow Christian, or you will struggle to survive the storms of life. But when your faith is deep, you can withstand anything because you are firmly connected to Christ.
3. The thorns
This is the biggest danger for most of us: “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.” Have you ever had a small plant that seemed to be growing well, and then for some reason it just faded away and withered? This can happen in our faith too. Here’s a few things that can choke your faith:
- Loving anything else more than God
- Thinking too highly of yourself
- Wanting the approval of others
- Addiction to pornography
- Wanting a boyfriend/girlfriend so badly, you compromise your faith
- Thinking school grades will give you security
- Not meeting with other believers at church, youth group etc
- Not feeding your soul by reading God’s Word
- Not talking to God
- Chasing wealth
- Being obsessed with fame
- Living a sheltered life
- Worrying about the future
- Giving in to your doubts before you’ve really examined them
- Not confessing your sins to God
- Constantly comparing yourself to others
I’m sure you can think of many other things too. Beware, the good and bad of life — the worries, riches and pleasures can all choke your faith. Don’t let that happen to you.
4. The good soil
This is where we want to be! If our hearts are open and we honestly desire to live for Jesus, he will grow us beyond our wildest imaginations. We may not become successful in the eyes of the world, but our inner lives will be amazing. We will develop the fruits of the spirit. We will love others. We will love God. We will find joy in suffering. We will be able to persevere through any storm.
Good soil takes work. But the end result is beautiful. I pray you won’t take the easy way out by giving into the worries, riches and pleasures of this world. They’re all going to fade away. Humbly give yourself to God, be the good soil, and you’ll be amazed by what he does in your life.