How should we understand “the cares of life” and “the deceitfulness of riches” as an existing root system that chokes the Word so that It does not produce what it was sown to produce?
Jesus says this system exists before the seed falls upon this otherwise rich soil. This soil is producing something already, but it not producing what the Word of God produces. Jesus says this existing root system overpowers the life of the Word and chokes it.
Now, that isn’t what you want to hear, and some of you are already quoting some faith statement back at Jesus thinking you are quoting it back at me. You don’t wish to entertain the reality Jesus describes because you think the Word has magic powers to make the existing root system disappear. It does not, according to Jesus.
The seed is the Word of God. In this sense, it is not just the Bible. (Another group of people just clicked out of the blog.) Jesus does not say that the Bible is sown. Jesus speaks of “how things really work in the kingdom of God.” These comments in no way diminish the Bible. They tell us how the kingdom, the rule of God, operates in people’s lives.
In each of the other instances mentioned, the seed has no magic capacities. Demons eat what falls on top of the ground, and it is as if the Word was not even spoken.
So. sowing is speaking.
When the seed falls on shallow soil, scattered over rocks previously removed from the field, what grows lacks the strength to survive common testing. The sun comes up every day to test the growth, and this rapid response reveals a reverse gear. The person quits when it is difficult.
So, soil represents a condition for producing purpose or intended fruit and harvest in the individual who hears the Word. The condition of the soil is the heart of the person, and the outcome is not measured by the Word but the condition of the heart of the one who hears It.
Existing Root System
When Jesus describes this third type of soil, He says that everything is ready for fruit production, but the soil has an existing roots system that overcomes the Word. The end result of all the first three is the same: no fruit. Nothing of the intended purpose of the planting becomes available for harvest. In each case, the Word available fails to produce the fruit anticipated.
This is “failure” when measured by the plumbline of Jesus, but this is “how things work in the Spirit” when the kingdom of God operates. Revelation has no automatic guarantees of success. Other factors and conditions can make the Word spoken and heard unfruitful, and the conditions upon which they are fruitful are not the most common conditions in the field.
In nearly fifty years of ministry, and in any reading of kingdom history, the teaching of Jesus is confirmed. The Word of God is not magic. Sowing is not automatic. Speaking or hearing is not an endpoint. Communicating the Truth is not enough. Talking about it and creating awareness does not mean we will harvest the intended purpose of God for any individual.
The Cares of Life
The existing root system sucks the life out of the Word of God through distraction. The “distractions of this age” refer to the prevailing spiritual conditions that set priorities or values for people alive in any given moment. So, at this moment, a root system in this world drains away from the fruit producing life of the Word of God through distraction. The word translated “this life” or “the world” is about the priorities and values set by satan’s systems, not by the King of the Kingdom.
If a person chooses to live by these values and priorities, his life will never produce what God wants.
These are not sinful practices per se, though they certainly include sinful practices since the priorities and values of this spiritual system are sinful. The point is not to identify “I don’t smoke, and I don’t chew, and I don’t go with girls that do.” The point is that something other than the King tells me what is most important in my life.
The investment of emotional energy measure by time and passion point to something other than the fruit God said He wanted. The Word is God revealing what He wants. The existing root system sets a different point of reference, usually a deception with respect to what the person thinks he wants. In any case, it is an “anything but what God wants” outcome identified by basic values and priorities.
“I just never got around to that” could be a headline for failure in a person’s life when the cares of life choke the Word.
The Deceitfulness of Riches
We could understand the concept by the term “mirage.” The English word comes from both Arabic, Latin, and French roots and speaks of the distortions heat cause on the floor of a desert producing an appearance of water in the distance. There is not water, but the thirsty traveler can be easily convinced it is there
The Arabic root speaks of a ladder, steps, or a way up as the Latin simply means “wonderful.” In other words, something better is out there that I will never reach although I run that direction all day long.
The enticement cost many of pioneering traveler his life chasing that floating attraction, the appearance all he must have to live, that draws him into a place the wheels of his wagon can never traverse. The deceitfulness of riches is not the accumulation of mere money. It is a great sucking sound drawing out all that a man is, emptying him of soul, and leaving him searching for something he will never find because it not there in the first place.
A poor person can suffer this hollowing of the heart as easily as someone with a bit of wealth or a wealthy person who can never get enough. The deceitfulness of riches leads to the having of it instead of the purpose of it.
It is deceitful because what drives a person to possess it can never provide that person what makes him want it.
A man bent upon proving himself richer may have a family but leave them without something owed them because his heart always puts them in second place. He thinks they will be whole because he is rich, but they will never feel genuine love because he is invested in something nonexistent.
The Word of God
How does a person rid themselves of these root systems? What deep plowing and clear-cut uprooting must be done to eliminate these demanding distractions and deceitful drainings?
- Forsake this world. That word “forsake comes in two parts: “for” and “sake.” It is a word of priority applied to a decision that divides. The sword of division produces an integrated whole. What you cut off is as important as you allow to remain. A decision about what we remove points to our personal purposes. To be free from these roots, forsake what gives them a right to possess your soul. Displace what demands your highest to put in place God’s revelation of what He wants. That means forsaking everything, so God puts everything back into proper order of value and priority.
- Sacrifice yourself to God and break the mold of this world. The cosmic order operated by satan cannot capture you when you are an offering. You are the priest bringing the offering. You are the worshiper approaching the altar. You are the sacrifice laid out for consumption. You give away the right to yourself. You lie there as the transformation comes through the renewing of your mind. You prove them by producing fruit what the Word of God planted in you provides. You are surprised by that harvest. God is not surprised at all.