A Divided Heart
In the past few weeks we have been looking at the factors that influence revival, as described in Jesus’ parable of the seed and sower. Today I’d like to focus on the third type of soil described in the parable which helps explain why the season in which He revealed His glory in the church I pastored was not sustained. Jesus described it this way:
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain”
(Mark 4:7). His interpretation is found in verses 18 and 19 of that same chapter. Notice the three things represented by thorns:
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.”
This is describing a heart that is worldly, divided, double-minded and distracted. We would do well to heed its warning.
Hundreds of things, which, in and of themselves are innocent, become hell’s little helpers and poison to the soul when we set our hearts on them.
Distractions of all kinds are in constant competition for the chief place in our affections. They become idols when they mean more to us than Jesus does. Yet Jesus said,
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money”
If the devil cannot have you as a non-believer, he will attempt to make it so that Jesus Christ is not the all-consuming passion of your life. He will try to keep you from having Jesus be the center of your life, the main thing. This battle for our affections may be the biggest fight of the
Christian life. It is crucial that we win this ongoing battle.
The world continually attempts to persuade us to pursue leisure and entertainment. For older Americans the message is to travel, enjoy that RV, watch television, play BINGO or Bridge. Younger people are often entertained by, and distracted from, eternal things through social media, surfing the net, texting, ipods, television and electronic games. None of these things are sinful in and of themselves, but they can lure us away from the things that are truly valuable such as loving God wholeheartedly and loving people.
I sometimes receive flyers in the mail advertising satellite TV or a cable package that includes ESPN and various sports stations. And I think to myself: I could kick back every evening and watch my favorite teams play. There are so many stations to choose from that I could always find a decent sporting even or show to be entertained by. I admit: it is tempting!
Then one day in heaven I could hear Jesus say to me: “Well done good and faithful football fan!” (Just kidding)
I encourage you to resist the bombardment from the world that is trying to persuade you to let entertainment be your god. Let’s not let the trivial take us away from the more important matters of life, the eternal priorities. Let’s not waste our lives on things that won’t ultimately matter.
Paul wrote: “
Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things”
When my children were young, I used to take them to a video arcade. There was a game there that illustrates the kind of battle we fight. The player held a gun that shot a laser at a screen full of circles that randomly flashed. Each circle was numbered one, two or three indicating the number of points you earned by hitting it while it was lit up. After playing a few games, I realized that when I was shooting at the one’s, I missed out on the two’s and three’s that had lit briefly up. The best strategy for getting the maximum score was to totally ignore the ones and to only concentrate on shooting twos and threes.
Being preoccupied with shooting at insignificant “one’s” is a great picture of what this world does to us with its preoccupation with entertainment and leisure. We can become so distracted that we lose our focus on the eternal. I observed this happening in some of the people who had been touched by the move of God’s Spirit.
How about you? Have you been duped by this world into concentrating on lesser things? Or is your energy being invested in those things that are eternal and significant in God’s eyes?
Copyright Ed Skipper 2013