Keep an eye out for choking hazards

Published 10:34 pm Friday, October 10, 2014

Back during the peak of garden season I had to water my vegetable plants to keep them productive during dry spells.  I have always been satisfied with the water pressure at home, but one day I noticed that the water from the garden hose did not have the force it once had.

It made me wonder if there had been a fire somewhere in town that had consumed large amounts of water, or if the water company had cut back on pressure for some reason, or perhaps there was something wrong with my water line.

Surprisingly, after a few days I discovered that a valve had been accidently partially closed on the line leading to the outside faucet that I was using.  Once I opened it completely my irrigation issue was corrected and the flow of water returned to normal.

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That valve did what it was designed to do—it choked off the water supply and restricted the flow through the water hose.  It made me think about life and our walk with God; there are many things that can choke us off from experiencing the fullness of what God has available for us.

Christ often used parables to make important spiritual points.  These illustrations taken from everyday things in life that His hearers could identify with enabled them to understand the important spiritual truths that He desired to convey to them.  In Luke 8 He told a parable about a farmer who sowed his seed on various types of ground, several of which were not conducive to good crop production and yielded little or no harvest.

His point was not to instruct them on effective farming practices but to remind them of the importance of the Word of God falling on receptive hearts so that It can transform the lives of those who hear.

In the parable, Christ said that “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants” (Luke 8:7, New International Version).  As He explained the parable to His disciples, He said, “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear [God’s Word], but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature” (Verse 14).

Even though He spoke those words over two thousand years ago, we still struggle today with those same three choking hazards in our spiritual lives:  worries, riches and pleasures.

Worries hinder us from trusting God’s Word, riches cause us to value temporary things more than God’s eternal riches, and pleasures pull our attention away from what is truly important.

They have the ability to choke out our trust in God and prevent us from becoming spiritually mature and productive.

We must be on our guards against such choking hazards; they might seem innocent, but they are dangerous.

Instead of allowing the impact of the Word of God to be choked out of our hearts, we must seek for our hearts to be like the fertile soil that Christ described as He concluded the parable:  “Still other seed fell on good soil.  It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”  He later explained:  “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the Word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (verses 8, 15).