By: Richard D. Eutsler, Sr.
Are you free from fear and worry? Too many people today live in one kind of fear or another, including Christians!
The Apostle Paul said:
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Read that verse a couple of times. Let it sink in. Fear is a spirit! It is not an emotion but a spirit! If it is a spirit, then what kind of spirit is it? Demonic! That’s right! There is only one way to say it: It is a demonic spirit! It’s sole purpose is to rob us of what God has to give: 1Power, 2Love and a 3Sound Mind! To Fear God is Righteousness, to fear anything else is Idolatry!
1Power: This is the Power of God through His Holy Spirit Working in and through the believer.
2Love: This is the Agape’ Love of God. Not an emotion or feeling, but the believer ‘choosing’ to serve God and His Word, nothing wavering.
3Sound Mind: A sound mind is a mind that stays steadfast and does not wonder. Is not moved by fear or anything other than The Word of God.
If you ponder that verse for awhile and think on it, you begin to see that there is a whole lot of message wrapped up in that one little verse. The whole Gospel of Jesus Christ is found in that verse. Or to put it another way, you can’t walk in the Gospel of Jesus without, the power, love and the sound mind that Paul is talking about.
Most Christians know the parable of: ‘The Seed and The Sower’. (You can click on the link to read the whole parable.) But I wonder some times, how many actually understand it? Even though Jesus explains it to the disciples, most people just don’t ‘get it’.
Before I get into this, I would like to mention one thing that is often overlooked: The sower went out to sow. That’s it! He didn’t go out to judge the ground to see if it was worthy to receive the seed! He just sowed the seed and went on about his way.
The part of the parable that I want to focus on today is the seed that fell among the thorns. This is where I see most ‘Christians’ today. Yes, I said Christians! Not unbelievers! Read the parable:
- One fell on the wayside. Satan steals the Word. (Not a Christian)
- One fell among the rocks. Tribulation brings offense and the person gives up on the Word. (Not a Christian for long.)
- One fell among the thorns. It does not bring forth fruit. (Has the Word, but doesn’t do anything with it. Most Christians today!)
- One fell on good ground . This one brings forth *fruit. (I don’t see this in many Christians today.) *Note: This fruit is Jesus!
We will be dealing with this particular verse today, because this is where I see most of the trouble in today’s Christians. They can’t bring forth fruit unto God in Jesus Christ. Remember, it is His fruit that we are looking for, not a cheap imitation!
18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful
Look at verse 19. First I want you to notice that they become unfruitful. They don’t start out that way! Are you a Christian? Do you remember when you first came to The Lord? Were you on Fire for Him? Did you go and tell everybody who would listen (and sometime who would not) about Jesus Christ and what He did for you?
What are you doing now? Do you still have that same fire that you once had? Are you still telling everyone who will listen about Jesus Christ? Do you have the three elements of Christ in your Christian walk? Power? Love? Sound Mind?
Jesus said that if you believe The Gospel and are baptized that you will have signs following you! Read Mark 16:15-20. This deals with the Power aspect of being a Christian. Notice that in Mark 16:20 it says:
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
- They went forth.
- They preached every where they went.
- The Lord confirming the Word with signs following!
This is the Power portion of the Fruit that Christians are to bring forth. But they are being robbed! They, (maybe you) are being robbed by a spirit of fear! Many are even afraid to believe in this power because of what some teach. (Have you ever notice that the only ones that teach, ‘there is no power today’, are those who don’t have any? And then to cover up their own lie, they tell you that those who do are not of God! Let them all repent or be Anathema!)
The next part of the equation is Love. This Love is described in 1 Corinthians 13. It is the ‘Agape’ love of God. This is not a love of emotions (as some seem to think), it is the conscious decision to put God first in our lives, and others before ourselves. Without this kind of Love in our lives and our ministry, it really doesn’t matter what we do. We either do all for God and Jesus Christ our Savior for His sake, or we do it for ourselves. If we do all for Him, then we please Him. If we do anything to glorify ourselves, then we are not operating in the Love (or Charity) that is of Christ Jesus.
A good example of that can be found in Matthew 7:21. To do the Work of the Father is to Glorify the Son and do all things in Love. The workers of iniquity, do all things to glorify themselves!
The last part of this equations is to have a sound mind or to put on the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. And again, Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. And again, Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. And again, Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
These are but a few scriptures that deal with having a sound mind. We could talk about what James says about ‘a double minded man’.
So what is robbing some Christians of their Power, Love and a Sound Mind? FEAR!
Let’s take a look again at what Jesus said in Mark 4:18-19:
18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
First, look at the word ‘cares’. In this sentence it is a noun. It means: Fear, Worry and Mental Anguish. So, some may say, “I don’t have any fear!” Really? Most of the people in the Churches today that I have met are so full of fear that they can’t (or won’t) see it. They are afraid of what others think about them or what they might look like to others. They do all kinds of things like the keeping of traditions, laws (that don’t even apply to a real Christian: Read Galatians 1:6-12) or other such things, because they don’t want others to think ‘bad’ of them or they want to think that they are ‘better’ than others. You don’t have this problem? Well, then try this. Get a cross, say about ten feet high. Take it out to a public place and just stand there with it. Take some tracts and if someone comes up to you, invite them to take it and be ready to preach the Gospel to them. What’s that? You couldn’t do that? Why not? Embarrassed? If you would be embarrassed to do such a thing, then you have fear. The type of fear that would keep you from producing fruit. I know that seems to be ‘way out there’, but think about it. Are you ashamed of the Cross of Jesus Christ? Do you worry about how others see you? The only persons that we are to be concerned with is Jesus Christ and God The Father! Fear is the Faith Killer that is running rampant in the Churches of Jesus Christ today. It comes in so many forms and shapes that it is sometimes hard to keep track of (not that we are to spend all of our time trying to keep track of fear, but we are to question our own motives for why we do things).
Another way that fear works among Christians is worry. To many Christians worry about their bills, or whether or not God will provide for them. Don’t confuse this with the ‘deceitfulness of riches’. We will cover that in a minute. How many people do you know in church (you may be one) who worry about where the money is coming from to pay this bill or that one? Who are constantly worrying about God providing for them. Fear has robbed them of their faith. Worry (Fear) can not stand in the face of Faith any more than darkness can stand against the light!
Another reason Christians are not producing much fruit is the deceitfulness of riches. Now you might say that I covered that when I talked about worrying about money, but I assure you I did not. The key here is not worry, but deceit. That is, riches deceiving you. Some examples would be:
- I would be happy if I had enough money.
- Look at all the great things I could do if I had enough money.
- I can’t serve God because I don’t have enough money.
- If I don’t work full time and earn enough money I will starve.
These are just a few examples. There are many, many more. It is also interesting that the deceitfulness of riches disguises its self in some funny ways:
- I can’t preach because I don’t have a church.
- I can’t preach or witness because I can’t afford to buy tracts.
- I don’t want to dishonor God by preaching without all the right stuff.
All of these things and many more come under the terminology of: deceitfulness of riches.
The final problem with those Christians that fail to produce fruit is the lusts of other things entering in. We as Christians have to constantly guard ourselves in this area. The flesh is weak and will constantly war against the spirit. We have to set our affections on those things that are above in heaven, not on the things of this earth. Read Colossians 3:1-2. It is very easy to fall into the “I’ve got to have it” trap. By allowing other things to crowd into our lives, we become ‘bogged down’ and can’t seem to find the time to do what we are called to do. Serve God!
[Newly added: I remember a time years ago when I was doing a Revival in Harold Harbor, Maryland. I was a young minister and eager to serve God, but I was ‘troubled’ with the deceitfulness of riches. I was preaching in an open field in the shape of a ‘V’. It was just down from a bar that was pretty much filled every night. My platform was a 4’X8′ sheet of plywood on the ground. My P. A. System was a converted stereo system what was completely open to the weather. My ‘Congregation’ consisted of about 40 or so people. But there were around 300 people surrounding us, yelling and shouting and making fun of what we were doing. I remember getting angry and calling on God to bring judgment down on them. (Not very Loving, would you say?) The next thing I knew it began to rain and the wind began to pick up. Now remember, I was standing on the plywood holding a microphone (metal) hooked to an amplifier that was totally open to the rain. I began to get a little nervous so I asked God to keep the rain off of myself and those that were with me. Almost immediately it stopped raining on myself and those who were with me. The wind pick up to a horrific speed and the rain came down hard with hail in it. Those who were coming against us began to run for cover calling me ‘The Devil’. I thought that it was funny that they didn’t believe in God, but they did believe in the Devil. The next day there was an article in the news paper saying that “An Atmospheric Phenomenon appeared over Harold Harbor that could not be explained”. That night I went out onto a pier over the Severn River to pray, but mostly to feel sorry for myself and complained to God about how terrible everything was and how much better it would be if I had a tent and a real P. A. System and a real Platform to preach on. (Looking back, I have to laugh at myself, but at the time I didn’t think it was funny.) It was about this time, I notice a glow coming over the water towards me. I felt strangely at peace and all of the fears and worries seemed to just fade away. The glow stopped about ten feet from me and there was a form of a man, which I could not make out in the midst of it. When He spoke I immediately recognized His voice. I wanted to hide for He said, “What are you doing? Why are you complaining? Haven’t I been with you? You have more than I had when I preached to the people whom The Father sent me to. I did not have a car to drive, I walked. I didn’t have a pa to speak with. They called you names but they Crucified Me! Now stand up and be not afraid! Put this foolish talk away from you! Remember, you have Me and I am all that you need!” With that said, He faded away and I was alone with myself. I began to sob because I had forgotten what it was all about. I promised myself that night, that I would never forget that it is ALL about Jesus Christ and Him Crucified!]
Now is the time to be honest with yourself! It does not matter what I think. It does matter what our Heavenly Father thinks. If you have found that some of these things are ‘weeds in your garden’, then it’s time to get out God’s Divine ‘weed eater’! Confess these sins to God and ask in Jesus’ name to be forgiven. Renounce and rebuke the spirit of fear and begin to walk by Faith in God and His word. Do something that will lead you in the right direction with God. Remember:
Get rid of the fears that bind you up and keep you from being fruitful in Jesus Christ.
Written by Richard D. Eutsler, Sr. to those who ‘have ears to hear’.