Saturday, 17 February 2018

Beware the Cares in the World Choking out the Word

Many in the modern Church say that practicing self-denial, by not striving after any earthly treasures or pleasures, but rather, letting God give one such things as He pleases, in His timing and in the way He chooses, is ascetism. They call it ascetism in denouncing such as mindset as legalistic or pharasical. 

The essence of ascetism is not self-denial, but in seeking to be righteous by one's own works through self-denial, as opposed to trusting in Jesus' righteousness.

They may say that if one is able to practice self-denial in such a way, then that is good, but that it is not necessary to please God to do so. Therein lies the deception that one does not need to practice self-denial. What part of Jesus' teaching that "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24) is so hard to understand? Let me tell you what is so hard to understand about that teaching. It is that people cannot accept that but know they must accept that to follow Jesus that makes it so hard to accept. 

People often think that a life of following Jesus is harder when one has less material comfort or earthly security. No! It is when people have great material comfort or earthly security that it is harder to truly follow Jesus because of the cares in the world.

To maintain such earthly security, including to provide for a family which one must do, one has greater cares in the world. That is why Apostle Paul said that those who marry which by implications means to have a family will have many troubles in this life. (1 Corinthians 7:28). This is not to say that it is sin, but that one will have greater cares in the world which are those that most definitely can choke out the word.

Cares in the world are represented as thorns in the Parable of the Sower:

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful (Matthew 13:22).

And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
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 4:18-19).

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).

The point is not that the things for which one must care for in the world are evil, but rather that people can become so caught up with such troubles in one's earthly life, such as providing for one's family, or saving one's marriage that one becomes unfruitful in serving God. They became unfruitful not only because they are distract from focusing on God and the things of God, but they are caught up in that which adds weight which the follower of Christ must lay aside in the race of faith: 
 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).

Weight causes a person to slow down in the race of faith by failing to seek the most excellent things for their pursuit of the Kingdom of God. They causes them to fall short of being as sanctified as possible which is what it means to be unfruitful. 

Unfruitfulness in the Christian life is a very concerning thing. That it is not often spoken about simply shows how the modern Church is in such a slumber, and caught up in many thorns. 

Many people in the modern Church live lives full of thorns which need to be burned down and thrown into the fire, or else, they will fail to be fruitful and live a life not worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Living a life not worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ is deadly, absolutely deadly, for one will be thrown into the Lake of Fire should one live such a life.  

Self-denial is that which one must do in surrendering to the Lord wholly an seeking first His Kingdom.