Rooted Firmly and Bearing Fruit

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

February 19

Rooted Firmly and Bearing Fruit

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 28:1-9 | Leviticus 7:28 – 9:6 | Mark 3:31-4:25 | Proverbs 10:5

Today’s Scripture Focus: Mark 3:31 – 4:25

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. [4] As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. [5] Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. [6] But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. [7] Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain (Mark 4:3-7 NIV).     

Jesus parable reminds us that there are many obstacles to our spiritual growth. God’s word given to us does not always produce a bumper crop. Sometimes the word is stolen. Sometimes because of “rocky soil,” the word gets started quickly but withers. Sometimes the thorns choke the word so that it does not bear grain.

Our first obstacle is Satan himself. He steals the word. If we don’t read or hear God’s word, he has already won the battle. No wonder he works so hard to keep us from reading and applying the word to our lives. Never underestimate the enemy. He is very good at tempting us with even good things that keep us from the best. He knows our weak and vulnerable places and he focuses on those. Stand firm and resist him.

Another obstacle to fruitful Christian living is “trouble or persecution.” As we go through the tough times of life, some who had started well lose ground. Anger, bitterness, discouragement and a whole host of other emotions cause our faith to wither. The word without faith only withers and dies. Yet the very same trials are intended to bring maturity and growth. Keep your eyes on Jesus in these trying times so that you do not lose hope. Persevere to the end.

Another obstacle to fruitfulness is “the things of this world.” Our possessions can easily become objects of worship. Materialism often makes thorns of houses, cars and other possessions. Hedonism produces thorns as we become consumed with the pursuit of pleasure. Jesus also mentions worry as a thorn. All of these thorns choke out the word and keep us from being fruitful.

Open your heart to Jesus and allow him to make your life fruitful. As you hear and obey his word, resisting the temptations, you will bear much fruit.

Almighty God, help me to be a fruitful disciple. Enable me to stand firm against all the schemes of the Devil. May neither the blessings nor the difficulties of life get in the way of the path of growth you have for me. May your word sprout and grow and be fruitful in me. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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