I have some news for you my friend, God did not promise us an easy life. So if your looking for an easy life this is not the path for you. He promised us abundant, eternal, life but not an easy one.
I like to watch Todd White and he recently posted a video in which he challenges his church to pray in the spirit every day. He said praying in the spirit strengthens your spirit and gives you what you need to get through the day. He related it to charging your spiritual battery. So I thought well why not and I have been praying in the spirit almost every day for about a week. Oh has my life gotten messy! Its like chaotic messy. Everything I try to accomplish has blockades in the way. Why? Well I think its a sign I’m on to something. Many times when you start something that God want you to do or accomplish because it will help you grow well life gets hard. It’s like the parable of the seeds in Matthew 13.
” Listen carefully a sower went out to sow (seed in his field) and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road (between the fields). and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and at once they sprang up because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and thorns came up and choked them out. Other seeds fell on good soil and yielded grain, some a hundred times as much as as was sown.” Matthew 13:1-8
Jesus explains in Matthew 13:20 that the seed that was sown on rocky ground “is the one who hears the word and at once welcomes it with joy, yet has no substantial root in himself but the its only temporary” He then says when pressure or persecution come because of the word, immediately he stumbles and falls away.”
Jesus knew that persecution and pressure would come once you received the word of God. So if you’ve committed to reading your Bible everyday and you keep falling asleep when you try, well that’s pressure and persecution. (I read with my coffee.) If you commit to spending time with God every morning in prayer and your mornings get busy, or you forget, or you can’t find a quiet place in your house, that’s pressure and persecution. – I pray alone in my car better than anywhere else.
Jesus goes on to say in verse 22 ” And the one whom seed was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the worries and distractions of the world and the deceitfulness (the superficial pleasures and delight) of riches choke the word and it yields no fruit.”
The worries and distractions of the world are always there. If you struggle with anxiety like I do those worries are real. They attack you. They steal your joy and they can keep you from growing in God.
But. There is hope. The seed grows in the fertile ground verse 23 “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands and grasps it, he indeed bears fruit and yields, some a hundred times (as much as was sown.) some sixty (times as much, ) and some thirty.”
So how do we keep ourselves like fertile ground? We have to do a few things. We have to be rooted in God. Which means you know who you are in Christ. I’ve written about knowing who you are in Christ and you can find that here: Who I am In Christ. You have to be in the word of God. You have to forgive others that have hurt you. Holding onto hurts makes us hard and bitter and God can’t grow a seed in hard ground. God wants you soft like potting soil. If you have trouble forgiving you can ask God to help you forgive. I can’t tell you how many times he’s had to help me.
If you are rooted in God and your soil is fertile you will have the determination to hold onto God’s truth whether it be a word from Him or a want for a deeper relationship with Him that you are trying to work toward.
In Hebrews 12:1-2 it says, “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
I was a swimmer in high school. During the season we grew our leg hair out, wore two suits, and sometimes even practiced with panty hose on. The week of sectionals we shaved, donned “paper” swimsuits and greased up our bodies with baby oil and Bengay before each competitive lap. The boys shaved their heads so they wouldn’t have to wear caps and shaved thier bodies as well. Why? We wanted to make our bodies as light and slippery as possible to slide through the water fast. All of this preparation worked as we’d see seconds sliced off our times.
I’m not a runner but because of swimming I understand what the author of Hebrews is saying. We have to “lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely.” My weights are fear and worry. I can’t run my race and hold on to them. What are your weights. Are your weights the same?
See if we can let go of these weights and make our ground fertile just like a seed we can shoot up into the purpose God made us for. We won’t be hindered and weighed down. We can be joyful because we know the end of our race. We can endure what is not easy. Because He didn’t promise us an easy life. He promised us a marathon of ups and downs of joy and sadness but He also promised us an abundant, eternal life.
The mess I’m in right now will pass and I will still be praying in the spirit. Living an abundant life means knowing God has your back. He will give you what you need, he hears your prayers and he wants you to run your race gloriously.