Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
- Matthew 13:22
Some of the greatest battles we face come when God has prospered us. When we have been blessed and exalted, there is a danger of life becoming overcrowded and filled with stuff that seems important but doesn't really matter. The drift into materialism is subtle but real. When life is filled with abundant blessing, the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches can cause us to think more about our stuff and less about God.
The Bible is filled with examples of people who had to reach through the crowding and the "stuff" to grab hold of Jesus. Here's two examples:
- Zacchaeus climbed a tree to see Jesus over the crowds. Zacchaeus was a rich tax collector. His life was filled with the pursuit of wealth, to the point of cheating people to enrich his own pockets. When Jesus came to town, the crowds were so huge that Zacchaeus climbed into a tree for a glimpse of Him. After talking with Jesus, he gave away half his riches to the poor and promised to repay anyone he had cheated by fourfold. (See Luke 19:1-9)
- The innkeeper in Bethlehem had a business doing so well he had no room for Jesus. When Mary and Joseph knocked on his door, he said, "Sorry, Jesus, but we're full today." His inn was so prosperous that Jesus was crowded out. The innkeeper turned away the Savior of the world. (See Luke 2:4-7)
The devil absolutely loves to entangle us with the cares of life and enthrall us with riches. Of course, prospering isn't evil. Possessions aren't evil. But when those things begin to take over our lives, Jesus becomes something tiny and unimportant. Our houses, cars, businesses, social life, and our important connections fill our thoughts and our time.
If we're not careful, Jesus becomes crowded out.
What are we missing with our overcrowded lives? What power is available to us but left untouched? What miracles are in God's hand ready to be released but we are too busy to seek and receive them? What happens to our peace, our joy, and our influence when we live lives crowded with the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth?
We need a good spring cleaning, a spiritual housecleaning to make room for Jesus in our lives, our homes, and our families. He wants to bless us and anoint us, but it can only happen when we come out of the "stuff" of our lives and make room for Him to work.
Remember the story of Israel searching for their first king? God chose Saul to be king, and Samuel called the people together. He was ready to anoint Saul, but Saul was nowhere to be found. When they asked the Lord where Saul was, God answered:
"Behold he hath hid himself among the stuff" (1 Sam. 10:22).
It was time for the anointing, but Saul was hiding in the stuff of life. He had to come out of the stuff to receive his anointing and to step into the plan God had for his life.
What is keeping you from what God wants to give you? Are you so busy you have no time for God? Is your mind consumed with your own plans and rarely concerned with God's plan?
When the things of the world become the most important things in your life, it covers up the seed of promise and purpose, and you find yourself just living in "stuff" instead of living in revelation.
Read more about Don't Let God's Blessings Crowd Him Out of Your Life on The Christian Post.