Out from Among the Thorns

7 – a new book that I’ve just started reading.  Just another book in the string of “you don’t have it together yet” books to help me readjust my attitude toward worldly things;  Crazy Love, The Forgotten God, Radical, The Hole in Our Gospel and now 7.

I was reading this morning in Mark chapter 4 about the parable of the sower.  I’ve read it many times before and studied it thoroughly, but God’s Word is living and active.  Praise God (all glory to Him), His Holy Spirit is active in me, showing me new things and affirming God’s truth.  I am working to submit all things to him so that He can change my heart and renew my mind.  I desire to know Him more.

But…

That little bit of doubt always manages to creep in.  I have my ugly, old self days on occasion, and I don’t like them.  I see my tight grip on things and on bank accounts and on my wants.  Lord, help me to let go and get out from among these thorns.

IMG_3765Mark 4:18,19

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.

I know that some of God’s Word has produced much fruit in my life, but there seems to be a part of me still stuck in the briars.  I’ve started to slowly twist and yank my way out of this field of nettles by God’s grace, His gentle calling for me, and the words and encouragement of other wiser brothers and sisters who have managed to break free from the snagging vines that have entangled me.

I now have eyes to see that what America calls the “working middle class” is actually what the majority of people on this globe call very wealthy.  I see how much God has given me (and that I routinely squander on things that do NOT matter in God’s Kingdom).  I see how I have neglected the poor because I wanted to get my nails done or go for a massage because my back hurts.  I see how I rationalize our “need” for a vacation.  I see our waste, our excess, our subjecting ourselves to the “world’s opinion” of who we are and how we should be.  I see how we set aside Your standards because “we want” (the desire for other things) to watch that show or see that movie.  I see and I don’t like it.  I want to change; I am changing by God’s grace.

Lord, strengthen me so that my focus is on You alone.  Help me to break free from these things that have entangled me and that hinder me from bringing glory to Your name.  Let my desire be only for more of You.  Let Your Word produce fruit 100 fold in my heart and life for Your kingdom.  Help me to share my excess with those in need in the name of Jesus.  Thank you for giving me eyes to see the deceitfulness of the riches of this world.  Amen.

Psalm 121:1-3

I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip – He who watches over you will not slumber.

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