Keep Pressing Toward The Mark Of The High Calling

Plant in hands

“And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.” – Mark 4:7

All my life my dad has planted a big garden. In every hole he would place 4 seeds and say, “one for the ground, one for the crow, one to die, and one to grow.” You see, he knew that out of four seeds, one would likely rot or simply fail to take root, one would be eaten by birds, two would probably come up, but one of those two would usually be weak and would not last long enough to mature and produce any fruit, but out of those four seeds at least one of them would. Jesus understood this principle also and used it to identify the four reactions of those who hear the Word of God.

We are all called to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Everyone of us has the mandate to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every living thing. We may not all be called to pulpit ministries but we are all called to share the good news of what Christ has done in us, and what he has done for all mankind. However, not many of us claiming to be Christians today, actually do this. Why? Because the thorns of life have choked out their spiritual source of strength and power. One main thorn is discouragement stemming from the fact that hardly anyone tells young zealous Christians, that they won’t win them all, and that this is ok as long as they keep pressing toward the mark of the high calling and casting those seeds of truth. It may not seem like it at times but I assure you that if you keep trying truth will eventually take root in someone.

Jesus knew His disciples would be tasked with spreading the His Word once He was gone and He wanted to make sure they understood this truth clearly, as to avoid discouragement. So he gave them a parable.

“Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.” – Mark 4:3-4

Ephesians 2:2 calls Satan “the prince of the powers of the air“, so it is no far stretch to picture Jesus using “fowls of the air” devouring up the Word of God before it has a chance to take root in someone’s heart. Sometimes you can say all the right things and you words just seem to fall by the wayside. Then there are those times when, just as soon as you’ve shared the truth with someone, the devil sends someone else to speak against it with lies and deceit, bringing confusion and distorting that seed of truth before it really takes root. And sometimes still, the voice of the enemy is coming from inside the very person you are trying to set free, every thought plucking up the seeds as soon as they hit their heart and they never truly receive what you’ve said.

“And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.” – Mark 4:5-6

After many years of ministering and learning the traits of new believers my dad would often say, “watch for the pine trees“, or “they’re going to be oaks, they’ll be strong and sturdy“. He often categorized people as either Pine Trees, or Oak Trees. Pine’s grow really fast, anxious to reach the sky they shoot up tall and strait for all to see, but they are weak in places you can’t see, their roots are shallow, they can’t draw from the deep water nor do they hold tight to the rock for strength and the first storm that comes along breaks them, knocks them down, uproots them, and kills them. An oak tree grows very slow digging it’s roots down deep into the rock. An oak tree is not so concerned about standing tall quickly, it’s hidden parts are just as big as it’s seen ones. An oak tree’s root system is typically the same size or larger below ground where no one sees it, as it’s branches are above ground. It reaches for the deep water ensuring that it stays strong even in dry seasons, it takes the time to wrap itself around the rock and the roots of other Oak trees borrowing and lending them strength to endure great storms. Oak trees also produce a lot of fruit, their whole existence feeds, shelters, and tends to the needs of others simply by virtue of what they are. One MUST be rooted deep in the Word of God, taking the time to be discipled and disciplined, to learn to hear the shepherd’s voice and distinguish it from that of the enemy’s, and to grow in spiritual wisdom, discernment, and gifts, less they be easily uprooted from the truth by every wind of doctrine or be failed by their own pride.

“And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.” – Mark 4:5, 7

Sadly this is the category that most believers fall into today. Not dead, yet barely alive. Not producing any fruit, spiritually starved, deprived of the light of God’s truth, presence, true grace, and power. The thorns of busyness, entertainment, wrong friends, careers, worries, offense, keeping up with the Joneses, and lies from the enemy, compounded by the lack of true word, doctrine, and time in God’s presence has choked the life out of most believers leaving them spiritually barren, weak, and fruitless. Not hot or cold, just existing. Hearers of the word, but not doers.

“Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7:19-20

“And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.” – Mark 4:8

Yet for all those that don’t receive your witness, for all those that receive but don’t keep it, for all the discouragement, brokenness, and loss, it’s all worth while for the one that does. Though when you cast the seeds of the gospel onto the hearts of men, more fail to take root then those that do, the ones that do will, in turn, reach others and perhaps one of those others will be one that you lost. So don’t give up, don’t get discouraged, don’t loose hope, remember that Noah preached his whole life and only saved his own family, but that was enough to save the world. So run the race with endurance, you never know how your small victories, change the course of the war.

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14


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