Mark 4:5 (NKJV)
“And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.”
Have you ever had someone telling you something important, but the noise around you was just too loud and you could not hear them? Maybe you felt the directions you were given would take too long, so you decided to take the shortcut everyone else is taking? How about just wanting to try something you know you should avoid only to get overwhelmed or stuck when it goes too far?
There are times we let our personal choices and the world in general take us to places that we don’t want to be. Even if we know what we should do we can still get swept away by everything going on around us. If you really think about it, our friends, family, or even coworkers are only part of what could affect our journey through life.
The world around us also plays a large part and has its own current that can carry us the wrong direction if we don’t watch where we are going. This simple awareness is not easy because there are moments every day that can change the flow and if we are not paying attention for the warning signs we can end up being pulled into dangerous waters.
Recently on the news there was a report of a dramatic rescue of some people off the rocks above a waterfall. They were floating along having a good time till someone on the shore alerted them to the falls ahead, then it was a mad scramble to get to safety. The report showed the huge signs that they passed along the shore warning of the waterfall ahead, but they were just too caught up with their fun that they missed them. How often do we miss the signs along our rivers alerting us to the danger we are heading toward?
We all know the distractions that are around us, but years of seeing and hearing the constant drone of certain things has it blending into the background. The images that flash across the TV, computer, and phone screens can affect us in ways that we do not realize, but it isn’t just this visual input. Most of us live in a noisy world where we are also bombarded by people talking and the endless sources of audio output. Even if we try to block it out with our earbuds or headphones, our listening choices aren’t always the best.
Before I realized the affect the noise of the world was having on me, I was that person laid back on the tube and floating down the river of life. Then one day I looked around to find that a tree had fallen into the water diverting me into the part with a sign that read rough waters ahead. When I hit the rapids I was overturned and immediately pulled under the water. In some ways I was a slow learner because I would find the calm waters again but want to stay on the same leg of the river till I passed that person on the shore yelling there was a waterfall ahead.
I was fortunate like the people in the news report because I was also rescued. Not by a volunteer throwing me a rope or the local emergency response in a boat, I was rescued by Christ. He came out into the water where I was, lifted my head above the surface, then pulled me to shore. He opened my eyes to a new way of seeing and my ears to a new way of hearing.
Till this happened I never knew I needed rescuing. I thought I was a good Christian who read the Bible, went to church and volunteered to help out with different things, but discovered that my heart was still empty. I still pursued the things of the world more than I pursued Christ, but I also realized that He was still watching over me until the day I turned back to Him.
I was like the seed in the opening scripture and in Mark 4:18-19, “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” I did not notice that I was being choked and overwhelmed, so I was fortunate to make it out before it was too late.
Blindly drifting on the currents of life can be bad enough, but sometimes we can push ourselves into a corner or up against a fence. Especially if we are one of those people who need to be first or want to be recognized. While you are at that game or concert you work your way up to the stage or down by the fence. You feel that you should be up there in the spotlight or on that field too. But instead of making it there the world around us collapses and we find ourselves on the bottom of the pile.
I experienced being crushed a few times and it wasn’t until I humbled myself and asked God for the strength to endure did I find relief. My focus was on the temporary things of this world and not on the love and forgiveness being offered by Christ. It was after I decided to follow Jesus again when Romans 8:5 finally made sense, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
By pursuing the Spirit my days are much brighter and my burden lighter for I know my savior loves me and has a place for me in His kingdom. Whether you have to paddle to shore before you get to the falls or back yourself away from the fence before you’re pinned against it, join me in listening to the word of the Lord. Heed His warnings and follow His guidance as you navigate the rivers and crowds of this life. Please enjoy “The Arena Part III” as well.
THE ARENA (PART III)
Lord I can hear your whisper on the wind calling me to you,
But there are voices overshadowing it not letting it get through.
I recall the times when I thought I heard you giving me some guidance,
Then come to find out later it was not you speaking in that utter silence.
There have been moments when your words I finally started grasping,
Only to have the world overwhelm me by everything it has been asking.
It’s like I still can’t rise above the chaos and the desire of wanting more,
Show me how I can stop feeling so trapped and find what I am looking for.
Dear child, you have finally begun to realize the seriousness of your plight,
You need to overcome these strangling forces that cause you not to fight.
For the enemy will keep holding you back till you have lost your way,
Then soon you will be so lost that you can’t even hear what I have to say.
If you just be still and clear your mind to focus your prayers on me,
All the obstacles will soon fall away clearing my path for you to see.
You can trust that I will be with you, so place your hand in mine,
I will then lead you down this road to find a future that will shine.
Simple Faith Christian