When your wife's pregnancy is complete and a child is born into the world they arrive with a perception of God’s reality, however it is often during life’s difficulties that some choose to reject that knowledge. This process involves a subtle decision being made, a decision whether to believe in God and to pursue Heaven, or to mentally allocate ‘spiritual’ things as unreal or unknowable.
These decisions once made will either validate our choice to believe or attempt to justify our choice Not to believe.
In the Gospel Of Mark (4:3-20) Jesus spoke a parable revealing how the truth of God’s Word reaches every person in the world in some way, and shows that it is their own responses to that truth that ultimately determine whether or not they attain eternal life. In the Parable of the Sower Jesus lists 4 different heart responses and reactions to hearing the Word of God.
The seeds that fell by the wayside
The good news of the salvation that is available through Jesus Christ (God’s Son), is spoken of throughout the whole world. For some people the gospel merely seems like a ‘fairy story’ or a ‘religious legend’ and it does not resonate within their heart, this is because they already made an unconscious decision and compartmentalised the gospel as ‘not being true’ and have therefore rejected it.
The Bible states in Mark’s Gospel that the devil comes immediately to steal the truth away from those people, lest they be saved.
The seeds that fell on stony ground
For others the story of Jesus Christ and salvation seems like a pretty good idea, so they immediately say: ‘I’ll give it a go!’ But because these people don’t take the time to consider the importance and implications of such a decision, they lack the inner strength and the commitment required for their faith to survive through times of adversity. The Bible states that these people stumble immediately when any adversity arises and reject their faith.
These people often become those who say “Been there, done that” when they are approached by someone trying to encourage them to believe and be saved.
The seeds that fell among thorns
The third heart response we see Jesus speak of is those who hear the message of salvation and accept it, but they maintain a degree of independence. The ability to live for God successfully is stifled, because the room required in their heart to love God fully is cluttered with other things. The cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things entering their hearts choke out the effectiveness of the word.
By not choosing to put God first in their lives they are unable to bear fruit for the kingdom of God and eventually they fall away from the faith.
The seeds that fell on good ground
The last heart response that Jesus spoke about identified the group of people who can succeed in this most important area of life. They are those who fully accept the truth of God’s word, allowing His will and purposes in their hearts and lifestyle. Loving God becomes their daily desire, and because they have made room for Him in their hearts they experience the joy of bearing fruit that will remain into eternity. To these people the pursuit of heaven becomes a passion which is outworked joyfully in their daily lives. To them the difficulties we all face are merely hurdles to be jumped because they have ‘an eternal perspective on life’.
Eternity holds no terrors for them for the Holy Spirit has given them an assurance of God’s goodness and mercy awaiting them in heaven.
I’m often saddened by the number of people who say they believe in God and yet by their own admission are living a lifestyle that they know does not match that belief. Some I’m sure secretly have the thought that they will live the life they choose here on earth, and then get right with God when they are on their death-bed. The trouble with this strategy of getting into heaven, is that sin has a way of constantly hardening our hearts against God, and eventually we become unable to change and choose the Christian life we know we should.
Life is full of choices, and making the right choices leads to right outcomes, while making wrong choices takes us into areas that we may very well regret. As fathers we have a huge amount of influence upon the lives of our children, and it is for this reason that I encourage all men to teach their children the Bible stories at a young age. Ultimately, they like us, will have to make their own decision whether or not to believe in and follow Jesus Christ but by teaching them God’s word we give them the best chance of enjoying eternity with us.
As someone said recently ‘Eternity is a long time to be wrong!’.
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