Withered and Choked

“Some fell on rock, 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.” (Luke 8:6-7)

What makes an oak tree able to survive a serious drought? The answer lies in its roots–roots that reach down deep to the moisture! Such is the abundant life of the Christian–roots that go deep. One purpose of trials and tests is to strengthen our roots so that we may increasingly demonstrate and prove the reality of our faith. What do we do when trials come our way? Do we bolt and run? Do we wither away and die? Is our allegiance to the Lord only valid when times are good? Much of life is made up of things that are hard–that fact is even acknowledged in scripture!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. -Ephesians 3:14-19

Jesus tells us to expect troubles and difficulties, but to be brave because we serve the Victor! We are on the winning team! Christ is looking for disciples who will stand in the heat of adversity and flourish within it. James puts it this way:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

I don’t know about you, but I want to be mature and complete and not lacking anything!

Peter adds:

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faithof greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by firemay be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7)

In our verses for today, the Word was given and received with joy. As life progressed, and it always does, trials caused the plants to wither. Our roots must go down deep into the Living Water in order for us to withstand the hardships of life.

Jesus gives the meaning of the verses for today to His disciples later in this same chapter of Luke:

“Those on the rock 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. 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 8:13-14)

Those described here are people who go about their daily affairs of life without giving heed to the Giver of it. This passage is a lesson on lordship. Jesus is looking for wholehearted devotion. What are the “worries” in your life? Riches? Your job? Fame or popularity? Beauty? Companionship? Your spouse (or the desire for one)? Friends? Children? Knowledge? The list is virtually endless! The secret is to identify what is on the throne of our lives. Anything but Christ and we will be weighed on the scales and found wanting.

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
-2 Chronicles 16:9

Take It to Heart

We may be very interested in the message of Jesus but refuse to accept it because of our devotion to whatever is in the world that draws our affections. Life’s worries, riches, and enjoyments often take precedence, choking out truth, preventing us from reaching maturity or attaining God’s intended goal for our lives.

It takes more than emotional fervor to stand with Christ during difficult times–we need to be rooted and grounded in His Word!

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