Last week, we looked at the parable of the seed and the sower. We saw how the “seed of the gospel” might be received by some, but later they lose interest for different reasons.
I think it is important that we look at the “traps” that can cut off believers from receiving the Lord’s best.
“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.” -Mark 4:18-19
In these verses, Jesus gives us three things that can keep us from enjoying Him and His Word:
- The worries of the world
- The deceitfulness of wealth
- The desires of other things
Who of us has not fought on these three battlefronts in our walk with God?
I believe they move in progression. If we open ourselves up to the “worries of life,” we will focus on the “if onlys”—if only we had money, we could buy whatever we want. Then we become convinced that wealth would satisfy us and we would begin to desire other things.
Let’s look at each one as a trap to steal God’s joy—causing us to miss His plan for our lives.
God tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6a). God has promised us that He will meet all the “needs” we may have if we seek His face first and foremost.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” -Matthew 6:33
God’s ways are totally different from the ways of our culture and the corporate world. That means that seeking God first requires faith in the promise of the One who controls heaven and earth.
There will often be times when life doesn’t go as planned, and we will worry—getting lost in “if onlys” and “what ifs.” It’s easy to begin thinking that God doesn’t care, which is what happened to the disciples before Jesus calmed the storm later in Mark 4.
But the lesson for all of us from this story is that when the worries of the world come crashing in on us, we must trust God with them and not money or other worldly solutions.
The situation may be bad, but God asks us to pray—specifically that He would intervene.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7
No matter which boat we are in or how bad the storm, if we keep our eyes on Jesus, He will be our rescue—not the “deceitfulness of riches.” If we choose to run to Him by seeking His way first, He will always meet us with His presence and provision.
So when the pressures of life start choking off the “seed” of God’s promises, run to Jesus and not to riches. As Jesus said, riches are deceitful, but His presence is your abiding protection.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.