The Cares of this World

As a pastor, I’m alarmed at how the “cares of this world” is a major reason why people are generally spiritually unfruitful.  And others, “lacking depth,” seem to fall away at any sign of trial or hardship. In these two cases, the person has heard the word and it even seems that they’ve received it. However, the real proof is in their fruitfulness. In the words of Jesus recorded by John, JN 15:8 “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” In other words, as stated by James, JA 2:18 “But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” Obviously, John and James are not making a case for a salvation by works theology. In contrast, they are making the case that a truly “saved” or “born again” person will be plainly recognized by their spiritual fruitfulness, or works as James explains it.

Over the years, I’ve had people tell me that they love Jesus but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence other than words. In fact, their lifestyle, attitude and even language tells a different story. With that said, how do we know we love Jesus? There is only one way according to the Bible. JN 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  Again, there is always evidence of our faith and love. It isn’t difficult to know and understand the condition of your spiritual well-being. Take a moment and stand in front of the mirror and ask yourself a few questions. Where is my heart Lord? Is it close to you or far from you?  How much time and energy do I commit to obeying your commands? What evidence of my faith is demonstrated by my priorities, the use of my time, the use of my talents, and my management of money and resources? Some say you are what you eat. Well, not exactly. You just end up looking like what you eat. In reality, you are what you do and say. After all, a Christian is what a Christian does. So, who are you really?

Read on . . .

MK 4:13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

No time for worship? No time for Bible study? No time to fellowship with other Christians? No time to serve in the church? Any desire for such things? Maybe . . . your problem is that “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” If this is your problem, you should be as alarmed as I am. Why? In the words of Jesus recorded by Matthew, MT 7:20 “Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

A Work in Progress,

Pastor Gene

Gene StocktonComment