As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. -- Matthew 13:22
Pamela is a rock. She knows and understands the gospel. Her faith is evidently deep and meaningful. She is growing, albeit slowly. She's in church (whenever she can make it) and she faithfully gives (when she can afford it) and she faithfully prays (when she can find the time).
But work is just insane at the moment. There's a credit crunch and everyone's a bit worried about their job, Pamela included. So she's putting in some extra hours.
And she's a concerned about her image, so trips to the hair dressers are a big deal. And her nails. And that little bit of teeth whitening - oh and slight straightening.
She's the one you can depend on - she almost always says yes when someone asks for her help.
And she keeps up with her non-Christian friends, but she's usually too tired to even think about, must less talk about, Christian things and so she just enjoys their company. Which helps keep relationships running smoothly.
She's angling for a promotion and putting a lot of work into getting it.
She's afraid of being lonely, so she's always got a boyfriend. It doesn't really matter that he's not a Christian, he's "sympathetic" and he's a man. Her man.
Pamela's problem is that she hasn't understood that Jesus is enough. That he is sufficient.
She is unable or unwilling to cast her burdens and worries on the one who cares for her (1 Peter 5:7). The ambitions and desires that she has absorbed from the society and culture that she lives in matter almost as much to her as Jesus - and they're starting to crowd him out.
She needs to see that her life and priorities must be assembled to God's specifications not her own. There will be things that she fears; things that she loves - but they must never be allowed to displace the stuff that is more important than life itself.
When Jesus explains the most important commandment in Mark 12:29, he starts the quotation with "Hear O Israel, the Lord, the Lord your God is one." The understanding that God is one, that God is sovereign, that single-minded devotion to Jesus is all that is required is central to dealing with the fears and temptations that pull us towards the worship of multiple gods.
Solomon was man of unparalleled wisdom. Yet too much time hanging out with hundreds of hot heathen wives seduced him; he began to engage in the idolatrous worship of other gods.
In contrast, Paul (Php 3:14) was guided by one thing, one ambition, one goal. One pure and holy passion ruled his life. He refused to be side-tracked or diverted from being sold out for Jesus.
- What do I spend my time worrying about? What do I allow to crowd out my devotional time with God? What saps my passion for the gospel? What do I need to cut loose because it impairs my ability to follow Christ?
- What is my friend involved in that is diluting the impact of their faith? What should I be praying for them, for their desires? Where and how should I be provoking them to be more dedicated to their Lord?