In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus explains to his disciples the parables he had just finished speaking to a crowd of thousands. Part of one of those parables explains why after hearing God’s word many people fall away from the faith and their lives have little fruit or impact on the world around them.
22 And the one on whom seed was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the worries and distractions of the world and the deceitfulness [the superficial pleasures and delight] of riches choke the word, and it yields no fruit.
It strikes me that these same three “spiritual fruit killers” also to our marriage relationships. There are many marriages between Christian spouses that fail to accomplish their primary mission – to bring God glory – and co-exist in a state of longterm selfishness, unfulfillment and mediocrity.
- The worries of the world – think about it. What are the things couples worry about most? Money (paying the bills, getting a better paying job, owning more and better things, vacations, saving for retirement, decreasing their piles of debt….etc.)
- The distractions of the world – these should be easy to name. Entertainment, ie: television, internet, movies, sports, hobbies, travel, etc. Think of all the things that draw your attention away from God and quality time with your spouse. Technology alone captures more and more of our attention every year – cellphones (sending/receiving texts; calls; messages; images; internet); the internet (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and on and on). Think of the hours the average couple spend focused on these things and away from God and each other……
- The deceitfulness of riches – While very few of us will ever be categorized as having “riches”, compared to the rest of the people of the world – we are indeed rich. In spite of this, we seem to spend the majority of our lives wanting and pursuing more. Higher paying jobs, bigger homes, newer vehicles, nicer vacations, early retirement – our years are consumed with a pursuit that ultimately will be divided among our kids and sold in an estate sale.
Jesus goes on to say that these things “choke the word” (his word) and make our lives fruitless (we produce nothing of lasting or eternal value). They also choke our relationships and make our marriages lifeless and mediocre.
I would encourage you to read this Chapter again and see what Jesus said will bring life and fulfillment to our lives and our relationships. Don’t be deceived into following the deceitful path the enemy has laid down that seems so attractive and fulfilling. It is a mirage. Your life and your marriage will only thrive as you set aside the distractions of our world and seek Him and His kingdom.
Remember – we are not of this world – and our lives and marriages are designed to bring Him glory.