The parable of the sower outlined to us the various issues we face in the process of walking in faith. The sower went forth and sowed the word.
The basis for faith is the word of God. When our faith reaches full manifestation, it bears fruit. So each time we begin to take steps in the direction of the word to release our faith, certain activities are orchestrated to divert and choke our faith. Jesus outlined 4 activities that will work to choke our faith.
Let me state the following important issues on the activity of the faith chokers:
1. We all go through the motions of these activities. Sometime we don’t understand the word, sometimes, we receive the word with joy and because we do not have a strong root, persecution and afflictions come and we are offended and give up on the word. I know that in my walk with God up till today, I have heard people say “but I am praying and studying the word, why am I going through these problems?” Some have become discouraged and dumped the source of their victory, while other have deepened their faith , understanding that the Lord promised to be with us in trouble, to deliver us and to honour us. We all go through the same things and the same process. What this implies is that it is a standard process through which we must all pass and succeed if we must have a great faith walk.
Sometime, it is encouraging when we realize that other people are going through or have gone through the same afflictions we are going through. The big men of faith we know today also went through the same. I have heard Gloria Copeland, a great woman of faith, say in one of her tapes “I did not even think that this kind of life (talking about the life of faith she and her household have walked in) was possible”. That is the reason why they can teach faith. So let’s make the following clear:
1. You are not the only one walking in faith. You are not going through these faith chokers. You are not the only one who sometimes does not understand. You are not the only one who sometimes receives the word with joy and then afflictions and persecutions, troubles, the care of this life and the deceitfulness of riches, all come to steal the word. If you stay with the word, you will see manifestation.
2. God wants us to become skilled in walking by faith. One way to make the stay in our heart is to hear it over and over. If you hear the word once, you may not understand and connect with it., but when you spend time and pay attention to the word, it will stick and you will connect so strongly to the word thatit will be impossible for it to be taken out of you.
Let’s look at the additional faith chokers:
In the Amplified version, Mark 4:18-19 “And the ones sown among thorns are they that heard the word sown in them and . . .
a. The cares and the anxieties of this world and;
b. The distraction of the age- the pleasures, the delights and false glamour, and the deceitfulness of riches.
c. The cravings and passionate desire for other things.
. . . Creeps in and choke the word that it bears no fruit.
The “cares and anxieties of the world” has to do with the concerns of life – what to eat, what to drink and what to put on. Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 6. He said, “Do not take thought about what to eat, or drink or what to put on, He said, “is life not more important than food and body more than raiment?” Do not worry, take thought or be overly concerned about these things. Worrying and focusing excessively on the cares and anxieties of life distracts us from focusing on the more important issues of the word of God, it creeps in and chokes the word. In Matthew 6: 27 Jesus said “which of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit), to his stature or the span of his life?”
Verse 31-33 “Therefore, do not worry and be anxious, saying, “What are we going to have to eat? or, what are we going to have to drink? Or, what are we going to have to wear? For the gentiles seek and diligently crave all these things and your heavenly father knows well that you need them all. But seek (aim at, and strive after) first all his kingdom and his righteousness (his way of doing and being right) and then all these things taken together shall be given you besides
How do people take thoughts and get anxious? They do so by “SAYING”. The “saying” process is the process that produces anxiety; Do you also realize that the speaking process is also the process that produces faith? What it means is this, the same system that produces faith, produces anxiety and worry. If we take thought, or worry by “saying”, then as the worry and anxiety builds up, it will displace our faith, and what we say becomes our manifested result. Jesus said that we will have whatever we continue to say. The anxiety will grow and take over your life, producing the lack and the troubles you are confessing and expecting while faith is dissipated. But instead of worrying, saying, begin to build faith saying. . . And you will have what you continue to say.
Then the other faith chokers: The distractions of the age- the pleasures, the delights, the false glamour, and the deceitfulness of riches. I like what this is called – The “distractions of the age". Ours is an age of unimagined distraction. - Television, celebrity lifestyle, all sorts of images constantly bombarding our minds exalting the "lifestyles". The biggest warfare we fight today is not divorce, it is not even gay marriage, it is a battle for the attention of men. The enemy is in a fierce battle for the minds of men, we need to build a standard in our lives against the floods of distractions. We need to become paranoid about giving attention to the word of God and a godly lifestyle. When we do that, God’s word in us to grow inside our minds and become the first word and the final word. That little leaven will grow and leaven the whole lump.
The Deceitfulness of riches: Often times when people acquire material wealth, they have a tendency to stop seeking God and developing their faith. They become deceived and start to put their trust in the riches that they have acquired. But riches are deceitful, because when you have finally put your trust in it, thinking I can now sit back and enjoy, have my fill and my soul can eat for several days, suddenly, your soul is required of you by the superior, and what you have worked for and amassed, goes to someone else. This happens all the time but it never happens until you finally say, now, let me settle down, pull down my old structure, build a new one and enjoy my life. In 2009 at the beginning of the banking crisis in Nigeria, some 8 bank CEOs who were powerful, wealthy and of high repute were sacked by the Governor of the Central Bank in a fifteen minutes meeting. After that all other bank CEOs took caution immediately, set up hand over plan and another set of 4 handed over the following year to successors. This shows how fleeting and unstable it is to trust in your wealth, but he that trust in the Lord shall not be moved forever.
Stay in faith and refuse to be distracted by these distractions of the age. Focus and give the most earnest heed to the word of God, and when you get to the cross-road of life, you can stand on the word and get the enemy fleeing from you.
The cravings and passionate desire for other things: This is as simple as it sounds – people begin to focus on other things and then develop interest for other things and soon they are simply whisked away from the faith they were walking in. Desire for alternate lifestyles, desire for the popular culture, all sorts of things that grow to create distraction from the word of God and choke the word until it stops bearing fruit.
We need to consistently keep our focus on the word of God and the things of God and refuse to be distracted from the lifestyle of the word.