Friday, June 29, 2007

Open the WORD!

I have been thinking a lot about the Inspired Word (as a whole) lately, mostly because I have been teaching on this topic in Sunday school but also because I have been pondering the fact that so many people don't take God's word seriously. Why is it that believers today will claim scripture as the full authoritative Word of God, but they don't read it? The very breath of God revealed to man and we let it sit on our night stands and collect dust or at best, we’ll open it up every now and then.

As John Piper states in his book, Desiring God, “the Bible is the source of life and faith and power and hope and freedom and wisdom and comfort and assurance and victory over our greatest enemy. Not to pursue our joy every day in the Word of God is an abandonment of the revealed will of God. It is sin” No wonder Christians are walking around defeated today. We are busy, depressed, stressed, confused, full of anxiety, discouraged, lonely, exhausted and completely empty inside. Why? The answer is simple. We have abandoned the Word and are trying to do things our way. Guess what?…..It’s NOT working!

There are some however, that are reading the Word, but there is no change in their lifestyle and there is no fruit being produced. What is going on with believers today? The church as a whole is dead. There is not much evidence of people living the abundant life and having a zeal and fire for the LORD. Today we live in a culture where we have many LARGE churches and we have impressive worship services, great music and teaching but the church itself is not a living, vibrant, effective church. What is going on? I think there are several reasons why this is true, but I want to address only one today.

Matthew 13:22 says, “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” Listen to what Chris Tiegreen says:

Many Christians begin with zeal in serving the Lord, but find only a few years later that their lives are consumed with possessions, debts, and busy schedules bent on maintaining a certain lifestyle. We must be wary of one of the enemy’s primary weapons-clutter. His intent is no so much a disorganized home, as we often think of clutter, but a disorganized, encumbered life. The enemy wants to give us as much baggage as possible-materially and spiritually-in order to render us fruitless. We must not let him.
Have you ever found yourself considering a certain ministry or service, only realized it’s impractical because it would involve too much of a change in lifestyle? Or wanting to five more to ministries of the church, but realizing you can’t; you owe too much to other people, or have too many plans about how to enhance your own environment? It’s an uncomfortable position to be in, but it’s an accurate reflection of today’s verse. And many of us are there. The deceiver keeps us striving after an elusive contentment in status and things. He keeps us thinking that an adequate lifestyle is just around the corner. But it never comes.
Imagine standing before the Lord one day and explaining our fruitlessness. How defeated we will sound if we have to say, “Lord, I would have served You there, but I couldn’t get by on that income. I would have given to that ministry, but I needed the money to insure my possessions. I would have shown others how to have peace in their hearts, but I was so worried about just surviving. “ Be on guard against the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth. We will have to answer for them. Better to weed them out before they choke God’s Word in our hearts and the enemy uses them to render us unfruitful. Take up your pruning shears today. "

God’s Word is not being lived out, because it is choked the minute we receive it. This is due to the condition of the soil of our lives. It is full of thorns (worries, possessions, debts, and busy schedules bent on maintaining a certain lifestyle.) God’s Word will never bear fruit in our lives if we are consumed with the things of the world. We have got to seek God with all our hearts and begin asking Him what in our lives need to “go”. God is looking for those that will set their lives completely apart for Him and Him alone. If you are serious about this, most likely this will be a painful process. What kind of soil is the Word of God falling on today? Is the Word choked by thorns? I don’t know about you, but I want to live in victory and have a life that bears much fruit to the Glory of God. Let’s take a long hard look inside to see where we stand today, open up God’s Word and start living the abundant and effective life that God has called us to.


Anonymous said...

This is a great word to us as Christians. Thank you for the honesty in this post and your challenge to us to dig deep and reap the benefits of all that God's Word has to offer. And you're right...oh how painful it is when we try to "weed out" all the "stuff" that clutters up our lives. But I am so thankful for a God who does not give up on me and continues to work in me so that my life will be a reflection of HIM and Him alone!