I’ve always loved The Parable of the Sower. The Holy Spirit seems to be speaking through it so powerfully. At least, that’s my experience. It opens our eyes to see what hinders our spiritual growth and what helps us to grow into maturity.
The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. (Luke 8:14, NLT)
What does hinder our spiritual growth?
Life can be that busy that we don’t feel we have time to seek God. Also, too much worry can do that to you. (Yet, I believe that’s exactly when we should turn to God. We don’t need to do this life alone and God has plenty of power and grace to help us along the way.) And I can understand that the riches can woo you when you feel invincible and self-sufficient. But I had not thought that the pleasures of this life can do that to you too. Aren’t they what makes life what it is?
I think simple pleasures are blessings. Just think about a cup of your favorite hot beverage first thing in the morning. Isn’t it divine? I think so. But, we are not talking about simple pleasures here. We are talking about things that suffocate your faith life. We can so easily get caught up with leisurely activities and entertainment that eventually there is not much room for Jesus in our lives anymore. A life that looks good to others might contain some things that hinder our faith. What is that pleasure (or some other thing) that prevents your faith from maturing?
The result of this fun-seeking, pleasure-hunting life is not then that great or what do you think? What if we never grow into maturity? When we always choose pleasure over service, riches over sacrifice, worry over trust, we do not mature. Our faith does not produce a crop if we continue to do whatever we want at any given time. We are not called to only have fun here on this earth. And, don’t get me wrong, fun is good. But if fun is all we ever want; our faith does not mature.
What to do then? How to grow into maturity?
With the words of Jesus:
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. (Luke 8:15, NIV)
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matt. 6:33, NLT)
Prioritize God in your life. Listen to his guidance and act upon it. Hold on to God’s Word no matter what and you will produce a huge harvest. The only way to grow into maturity is to abide in Jesus. Always and every day. Then there is no more need to worry about tomorrow and making more money or finding new pleasures. Because in Jesus there are all the answers and pleasures we ever need. And don’t even let me start about joy in the Lord. It’s endless and there’s nothing better in this universe.
Forgive us for thinking this world and our lives are all there is.
Help us to discern what is meaningful and what’s harmful and then choose wisely.
Enable us to trust you so firmly that we do not need to worry about tomorrow.
Fill us with your Spirit, Lord.
Let us see what a joy it is to live our lives with you.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Q4U: What is that pleasure (or some other thing) that prevents your faith from maturing? How do you deal with your tendency to surround yourself with pleasures? What does help you to grow into maturity?