“And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 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.” Mark 4:18,19 (ESV)
Today’s verse is taken from Jesus’ interpretation of the well-known parable of the sower. You will recall that there are 4 types of soil in the parable. There is the hard packed soil, the rocky soil, the thorny soil, and the soil that bears fruit.
As I read the parable, the soil I fear being most is the thorny soil.
I don’t want my life to be choked by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. These are things that compete for my affections. They seek to seduce me to become my motivations.
Therefore, it is helpful for me to periodically evaluate my motivations in following Christ.
In the best book I’ve found to date on spiritual formation, which I frequently reference, is Conformed to His Image by Ken Boa. In this book, Boa outlines 7 motivators that are found in Scripture for following Christ. They are:
No other option
Love and gratitude
Our identity in Christ
Purpose and hope
Longing for God.
I want to spend some time dealing individually with these motivators, starting with no other option.
The most common time for us to need this motivation is during very difficult times in our lives, such as the unexpected death of a loved one. The loss never makes sense and it certainly doesn’t seem to fit with the actions of a loving God.
Therefore, our faith can be called into question and we begin to doubt the existence of a loving God.
But when we take the time to think through the options…such as a universe without a God, we realize that option is far worse. As so many philosophers have pointed out…a universe without God is a universe without meaning. It is a universe that is cold, unfeeling, and filled only with pointless matter.
Without God, all purpose in life dissolves.
This is when we turn to God even when He doesn’t make sense, recognize our own inability to understand… and simply believe.
Prayer: Lord, support me through those difficult times to learn to simply trust in You.