The Choice Is Ours
Heavenly Father, as I approach You, I need patience to wait upon You because so often to wait is harder than to work.
Read Mark 4:13-20
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Though the Scriptures themselves are light for us, …the Holy Spirit sheds more light on the original light. He helps us to hear, receive, and properly understand the message of God’s Word” (R. C. Sproul).
Jesus clearly felt an urgent need to ensure that his apostles understood this parable, which is why he provided a simple explanation for their ears alone. He was preparing them for hard times. Jesus needed these 12 very hopeful but fallible men to appreciate that his way was not a way of easy triumphs and quick gratification. It wasn’t until the trial and crucifixion that they finally grasped this fundamental reality.
Through this parable Jesus was explaining what it means to really hear God’s word. Fundamentally, to hear God’s word is to choose, and keep on choosing, to keep walking in Jesus’ footsteps. It is about radically altered priorities and values. It is about the transformation that begins with an encounter with Christ and continues under the influence of the Spirit. This is the hearing that Jesus was demanding of his disciples—the commitment of the entire person, a successful life in relationship to God. To really hear is to choose to love and obey Christ, for this is the prerequisite for communion with God (John 14:23,24).
Not all of us can point to a specific time when we decided that it was Jesus we wanted to follow, but we all know that this is a choice that continues to confront us. Each of us also knows of former companions in Christ who have chosen to listen to alternative voices, voices which we, too, have heard, and which often begin their subversive campaign with the faintest of whispers. The pressures and counter-attractions identified in the parable are not unknown to us. Moreover, we experience times of deep confusion, disappointment and impatience with God, sometimes even despair. Jesus knows this, and continues to love and challenge us through such times.
Pray for someone who’s struggling to be faithful to Christ. If that’s you, remember all that Jesus has meant to you in the past, and quietly listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Dear Father, keep me firm in my commitment to follow Jesus. I’ve made that choice and I want to re-affirm it every day by the way I live.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.