Barnabas Bulletin ~0211
THE DANGER OF A SHALLOW CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE
Recently, as I was reading my Bible on the Parable of the Sower, the following Scripture struck me afresh:
“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Matthew 13:20-21, NKJV).
This Scripture clearly reveals that shallow-rooted Christians will not endure the hard times. They have no strength “to stand against the wiles (“schemings”) of the devil” (see Ephesians 6:10-20). They may be joyful right now and flowing in with everything other, more mature Christians, are walking in; yet within their lives is a shallowness that will find them out when the hard times come. And they come to every one of us. We are living in a day when true Christianity is being more and more opposed and persecuted. So we need to be strong in the Lord, walking and living in the power of His might. To survive the enemy’s onslaughts we have to be deeply rooted in the principles of the word of God. We need a daily relationship with Jesus Christ where He is Lord of our lives. That means we need to have a daily devotional life where we spend time in prayer and God’s word, seeking to do His will, denying ourselves so we can prove the will and purpose of God for our lives. This is what the Scripture tells us: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
If we are not fully committed to Jesus Christ, then we are living a half-hearted relationship, which means it is a shallow relationship and not deeply rooted in the purposes of Christ. That means that we will not survive to God’s glory in the testing times (which come to us all as we go through life). We only prove the power, blessings and benefits of Christianity when we are totally dedicated to the cause of Christ.
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
If you look more closely at Matthew 13:18-23, you will see that there are different results of Christianity, depending on where the seed of the word of God falls: 1. the wayside, where the seed is snatched away before it gets established in the heart of a person. 2. Stony places, where the roots cannot go down deep. 3. Among the thorns, where the seed gets choked through the mixture of the world still being in a person’s heart, and that person becomes unfruitful, and 4. Good ground, where the seed is understood, nurtured and brings forth fruit in abundance. Notice that it is our responsibility to nurture, guard and allow the seed of God’s word to grow in our hearts and lives. We demonstrate by our life-styles what kind of ground we really are. We are known by our fruits; by what we are producing (see Matthew 7:13-23). God wants us to be the good ground!
And that takes total commitment to the purposes of Jesus Christ. There are no short-cuts.
How committed are we to the teachings of Jesus?
THE WISE AND FOOLISH MAN
In Matthew 7:24-29 and Luke 6:47-49 we have recorded about a wise and foolish man. Jesus summarized His teachings of Matthew Chapters Five to Seven by giving us this illustration. The wise man was wise because he heard what Jesus taught and did what Jesus said. The foolish man was foolish because he only heard what Jesus taught, but did not do what Jesus said.
They both built a house ~ one was a success and the other a failure. Why? The wise man was successful because he “dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock” (Luke 6:48). This is a different rock to that of Matthew 13. In Matthew 13 the rock was a blockage, a hindrance to that person letting his roots go down deep, and the result was he did not stand in the day of adversity. The rock of Matthew 7 and Luke 6 are the solid teachings of Jesus which give us a firm foundation to withstand the storms of life.
The foolish man heard what Jesus taught, but thought he knew better, took short-cuts and built upon the sand. When the storm came, his house was destroyed because it was not built on a firm foundation. The house was under-mined and destroyed because the foolish man thought he knew better than to do what Jesus told him. Do not build your life on the sands of life!
I have a manual entitled “Bible Basics” which covers the foundational truths and principles of Bible Christianity. We printed it for distribution in the prisons in Kenya. I use it as an E-Book to send out to individuals on our E-Mailing list. A large number of those on our E-Mailing list are Christian Leaders. It has shocked me the number of Christian Leaders who have responded to that E-Book by telling me they have never taught their people the basics of the Bible! The whole purpose of a Christian Leader is to be able to plant and teach their people in the foundational truths of the Bible and Christianity so they can grow strong to fulfil the calling and purpose of God for their lives. If we do not do that, then we are actually setting our people up to fail and fall, because they are only shallow-rooted!
In summary, we need to ask ourselves what our Christian life is like. Are we standing firm and strong in the teachings of Jesus Christ, or are we only a shallow-rooted person who goes to church, but we are not a fully devoted follower of Jesus and His ways? Each of us holds the key to our future by what we do, or do not do, with the teachings of Jesus Christ. The decision is in each of our hands. What will it be? ~ Rodney W. Francis.
Bible Reading: James Chapter 1
Prayer: “Dear Lord God, I come to You in the Mighty Name of Jesus, and I ask You to give me more wisdom, discernment and understanding of Your ways, and the importance of my obeying what You say. Please convict me of anything in my life that is a hindrance to what You have taught, because I do want to be a fruitful vessel in Your Kingdom. l do not want to be wrecked when the storms of life come against me. Help me to give priority to Your ways so that I will be a living example to others of what a true Christian really is. Thank You, Lord, in Jesus’ name; I am believing You for my most effective and fruitful ways in the days ahead. In Jesus’ Name I pray these things, Amen.”