How is it Possible to Render God's Word Powerless?
Some people, 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)
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)
The above two verses teach us that you can prevent good teaching--even THE Word--from having an effect on your life. If you allow life's worries, riches, pleasures and the desires for other things to enter your life then the word of God will get choked out and you will not bear fruit like a true Christian (click to read about the good fruit in a true Christian's life).
Does your lifestyle cause the good teaching you have heard to be wiped out, nullified, thwarted, and undone in your life? While teaching you good things, does your church also condone and allow lifestyles that will make all their teaching of no effect? Many churches teach the basic facts of the Bible, but they also promote or tolerate lifestyles that contradict the Bible and grieve the very heart of God. Be warned: God says that a little leaven will leaven the whole batch of dough (1 Cor. 5:6).
Examine the following to see if you are nullifying good teaching that you receive. However, please don’t be tempted to think that we are “harping” on “bad things” that you need to “stop doing”. We are simply mentioning a few outward things that might be indicative of a more serious heart problem. If we can live our lives not caring enough to consider our actions, then maybe we don’t care about God as much as we think we do. The following is merely a list of a few outward, shallow things to consider:
- First, ask yourself if you receive good teaching. A few
- Jesus is the Son of God.
- Jesus died for our sins.
- Jesus rose again.
- Jesus is coming back.
- We should obey all of Jesus' teachings.
- Next, ask yourself if you desire other things: Have you
allowed other things to become more important to you, especially
other things that compete directly with your affection for God?
- Do you go to movies that promote impurity, filthy language and violence? Do you tell yourself that God doesn't mind?
- Have you allowed professional sports to become more exciting to you than God? You may even stay up late to watch games, read about the latest sports news, and you may even find yourself getting angry or prideful. When have you stayed up late because you were so concerned about the things of God? Can such actions be indicators of something not right between you and God?
- Maybe there are other things you do that Jesus wouldn't... consider.
- Are you motivated by pleasures?
- Although the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles endured great hardships for their faith, do you keep telling yourself that you deserve to live a comfortable life?
- Do you take “vacations” that don't center around God? What I mean is this: do you take time to “get away”, but your vacation is practically a vacation from God?
- Do you listen to sensual music?
- Do you compare what you have to what others have until you would like a bigger house, newer car, and more fashionable clothes, etc.?
- Honestly, do you find yourself wanting more money?
- Have you convinced yourself that you deserve more money at your job so that you are discontent with your pay?
- Does your life reflect that you believe what Jesus said: "it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 19:23)
- "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1 Tim 6:10).
If you can remove all of your personal biases and if you will take a good, honest look at yourself you may find that your lifestyle goes against sound Bible teaching. Perhaps you are wondering why so many professing Bible believers around you live the same lifestyle as you. Perhaps you are frustrated that your church never challenged your lifestyle.
If you are asking yourself, "What do I do now?", then you are asking the right question. PLEASE do NOT try to make lists of rules that Christians “can’t do”! That’s NOT what it is about. The Christian life involves God working in us to cause us to want to obey him and to give us the power to obey him (Phil. 2:12-13). It involves a person being filled with awe over how good God is! Out of a pure love for God, we purposely consider how we can live for Him. Above, we listed just a few outward symptoms that indicate something is wrong in your heart. If you have the symptoms, then there is a very good possibility that there is something wrong in your heart and that you do not see God for how wonderful he is. If you saw the Goodness of God you would put more care into how you live your life. If you give up all your sin and put your full faith in him, then the blood of Christ will cleanse you and he will empower you to live a life pleasing to Him. God will work powerfully in you. The question is: are you willing to cast off anything that might be "choking" God's Word out of your life? (Heb. 12:1). Please don’t be one of the many who are “choking” and yet enjoy being choked.
Turn your heart to Him! Turn your affections toward him. Ask him to show you how worthless and counterproductive are the things that are competing with God for your time and affections.
I can't stop writing this without at least mentioning the harmful affects that "traditions of men" have on millions of people.
"You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men" (Mark 7:8)
Please examine the links to the right under "Additional Resources" for some much needed help with avoiding the harmful ideas and practices that originate in religious institutions of men instead of in the mind and heart of God.