Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Cares of Life

And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. (Luke 8:14)

And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. (Mark 4:19)

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (Luke 21:34)
What are the "cares" of life? In Strong's Exhaustive Concordance the Greek word translated "cares" in these verses specifically refers to distractions. A distraction is something which turns your attention from one area to another. Both the books of Luke and Mark list a few of these distractions: riches, pleasures, and lusts. However, I think we, as church people, have read this parable so much that these words have become too generic in our thinking, and subsequently we fall prey to the very thing Jesus was trying to protect us against.

The verse in Mark 4 uses the phrase "entering in". Things that "enter in" to our lives will in some measure alter our future, whether we deliberately put it there for that reason, or, what is most likely, by coming in through our lackadaisical actions. Notice in Luke 21 it says "so that day come upon you unawares." If we will be unaware of it, then simply put we were not paying attention to it as we should have been. We were distracted.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ephesians 6:13-18)
Ephesians six describes the armor God has given us for our daily protection. Notice first of all, in verse thirteen that we have to take it up! God is not going to stand us up and dress us! That is something we have to do. We see this thought repeated in verse fourteen where the understood subject of the sentence is the word "you". "[YOU] stand therefore..."

Okay then, we are standing by our own action. Why are we standing? In faith for something? Yes, and this verse does apply to using faith to believe for an answer. Jesus said, "Ask and I will give it to you." (John 15:16) But notice both verses sixteen and eighteen. Verse sixteen tells us faith will quench, or destroy, the devil's "fiery darts", and verse eighteen tells us to keep "watch". We are standing to watch for the "fiery darts" in order to prevent them from affecting our lives!

Here again, I need to stop and ask a question. What are the "fiery darts" that we are watching for? They are the "cares of this world", the "cares...of life"! They are those things in your life that "enter in" unsuspecting.

"I didn't think saying that would hurt her. It just slipped out!"
"What goes on behind closed doors doesn't harm anyone, right? After all, if no one knows..."
"But I needed a new cell phone!"
"I was just too tired to go to church."

Well, what does it say in both Luke 8 and Mark 4? First of all, it says these things "choke" the word in our lives, and as a result, we "become unfruitful". We "bring no fruit to perfection." It all comes down to saying "no". Sometimes we just have to refuse to do the things that everyone else is doing. I'd hate to think I was working so hard toward some goal and yet will never achieve it because I am not protecting myself from those things that will "choke" my faith.

It also means more than living our lives to not hurt others. It's living our lives to not hurt ourselves. That is what the "cares" will do. Speaking one dirty word will lead to speaking many more dirty words. Skipping church becomes easier and easier to do, spending money almost effortless. Then when we hit a brick wall in our prayer life or have some great need, we can't figure out why we can't find the answer. It's because we've put too much stuff in between ourselves and God. We "can't see the forest for the trees."

I don't want anything to stand between me and God. When He speaks, I want to hear it. I want to live in the joy He has promised me. But this only comes when I am watching over myself. After all, what does the Word say?
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15)

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:12)
That is where I want to be! Sitting in amongst the promised inheritance of God! But to get there, I have to refuse to "be slothful". I have to "take heed". And I have to do it daily. Then when I exercise my faith, God will answer!

Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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