A parable, when used in the gospel, is a method of instruction to illustrate things concerning the kingdom of God. In the parable of the sower, our Lord Jesus illustrates the reaction to the preaching of the Word in the hearts and lives of those who hear. We know that the preaching of the Word is a savour of life unto life for God’s elect, and a savour of death unto death for the reprobate. This truth explains the different reactions in the hearts and lives of those who hear the Word of God preached. Henceforth the good soil represents the hearts of the elect, whom God has prepared to receive His Word and to have their lives bear fruits (Mark 4:20). The other three kinds of soil (hard, rocky, and thorny) represent the hearts of reprobates, who reject the gospel and have lives which are not bearing fruit (Mark 4:4-7).
However, the parable can also be applied to the children of God when their hearts manifest as bad soil hearers. The three spiritual enemies of the children of God, which are the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh (old man), can sow evil seeds, which produce thorns that choke the growth of God’s good seeds. One of these evil seeds is the care of this world (Matt. 13:22), which is the focus of this article.
What is “the care of this world”?
“The care of this world” is an attitude of constantly letting your mind and heart be filled with earthly concerns. Such an attitude can also be escalated to anxiety, worry, and even depression. Like other young people, your earthly concerns can be the school homework, tests and exams, relationship issues with your family and friends, your physical appearance, or your personal image. For those who are working, you can be burdened with the demands of your job.
As children of God, you are to be a good testimony in your earthly callings as students and employees, but how do you not let these earthly concerns become the cares of your life on earth? Sometimes we ignore the wisdom and power of God’s Word. Instead, we find relief from the cares by seeking worldly devices. For example, you may be constantly at your computer and handphone games or other forms of entertainment to find relief from these cares. A young person who cares about his or her physical appearance and personal image may look up to worldly stars and learn their lifestyles and their fashion to make himself or herself “look good”. These ways can only lead you to greater bondage and invite more cares into your life.
Why must you not harbor the cares of the world?
Luke 21:34 says, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with …. cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares”. The Word of God here warns you to be watchful of letting your heart be overburdened with the cares of the world, lest you become unprepared for the Lord’s return. All the children of God are to be prepared for the Lord’s return. We are to be faithful servants to bear good fruits while waiting for His return. We are eager to show forth our fruits to Him, not to merit rewards, but to show our thankfulness to Him for the salvation He has purchased for us.
How shall you overcome the care of the world?
The way to overcome the care of the world is to imbibe the Word of God. This is done by meditating on the Word and asking God for His wisdom to help you deal with your earthly concerns so that they will not become thorns that prevent the seed of His Word from bearing fruits.
Here are some applications of God’s truth that help me deal with the various kinds of cares in my personal life.
Rejoice in the Lord
Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice”. The keyword is ‘alway’. It means that no matter what the circumstances are, I can rejoice. For my greatest trouble (the wrath of God) in life has been taken away. There can be nothing worse than this trouble because if God is for me, what else can be against me? All other things are but servants of my salvation (Rom. 8:28). If I find it hard to rejoice in the Lord in the midst of much cares, I ask myself if I am expecting things to be the way I want. And this truth in Romans 8:28 reminds me that I am saved for His glory (purpose), and not for my glory (purpose). So I have to, by His grace, deny my sinful self and submit to His will, because He is the God of all goodness and I have to put my trust in Him.
Pray and commit your cares to the Lord
Philippians 4:6-7: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. God promises me peace when I bring my cares to Him in prayer. I thank God for all these difficult circumstances in my life and confess that I am unable to handle them on my own. But He can, so I have to leave them with Him to handle. God will and can establish my thoughts (not a mind that is tossed to and fro) when I “roll my burden over” to Him (Prov. 16:3).
Delight in the assembling of the saints
Hebrews 10:25: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”.
I believe, as a Christian, a sign of being prepared for the Lord’s coming is a love to be with God’s people and to have sincere care for them. Our heavenly Father calls us to commit our cares to Him and focus our time and strength to diligently study and meditate on the Word of God and to serve the saints in the church. We can encourage each other with the Word of God on the Lord’s Day, during the Bible studies, and when we help the saints in church who are in need.
Beloved children, take heed to God’s Word, and you will experience His grace and power in taking away your cares of this world.
Written by: Jean Lim | Issue 50