Easy Believism Exposed
Read Mark Chapter 4
Mk 4:13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
Yesterday, we examined four things which God never promised. After some additional thought, I decided that we should examine one of them further, in more detail. It is this one – God does not promise us an easy “believism.” In this passage from Mark, the parable of the sower (or the soils), there are some great examples of the dangers which lie ahead of the believer. In the parable, all the people described heard the same message. But the message was not received the same by everyone. Let us look at some of the perils the hearers faced, causing many to abandon their faith and abandon God’s truths.
In the first example, the hearers didn’t really “hear” the word. These are the ones who immediately rejected what they heard. That one would not apply to anyone reading this devotional. All of us have both heard and received God’s word. We won’t spend any time on that one.
In the second example, the hearers received the word with joy. It is easy to hear someone say that our sins will be forgiven and that we can have a secure future with our Lord in Heaven. What is not to like in that message? But Jesus said that those men and women “had no root, and only lasted a short time.” According to Jesus, the things which caused their demise were trouble or persecution. My opinion: these men and women expected to find, or were told there was, an easy believism. Would they have lasted if they had been forewarned? I don’t know. But they were done an injustice if they were not taught to expect trouble and persecution, and taught how to correctly handle it when it arrived.
In the third example, one can only assume they accepted the word with joy (the scripture doesn’t say that). But somewhere along the way, they too fell away. Their problems were the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things. All of these things discount the idea of an easy believism.
The things which caused men to abandon their faith in the last two examples happen to everyone. It is unrealistic for any Christian to believe that they will not face trouble, persecution, worries of this life, the allurement of wealth/power/ material possessions, and desires for other things. In my opinion, the “desire for other things” can easily include sexual pleasures.
We should not and cannot allow ourselves to believe that the Christian life does not contain the dangers presented here. Each one of us must become prepared to face them, and to face them victoriously. I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating – spiritual warfare is not for the spiritually lazy. I might add that spiritual warfare is not for anyone who is not firmly grounded in God’s word, continually building up his faith and strength in the Lord. Each of us must be continually alert to anything and any circumstance which would threaten our faith. We have to stand tall all the way through our lives, not allowing anything to cause us to drop out of the race.
Do those in the two groups who fell away represent men who are saved? I can’t say for sure, but I would think it possible that some are and some are not. But those who are saved will eventually come back to Christ. The Holy Spirit will see to that. The lesson for us today is summed up very well in the following two scripture passages.
2Ch 15:7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
Ps 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
Prayer: Lord, help us to be strong and courageous. Give us the ability to persevere under any and all circumstances.