All of the battles that rage within our souls can be reduced to one struggle.
The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. Though tiny, it grows to be the largest tree in the garden. Mark 4:30. It is the seed, which falls to the ground and dies that bears much fruit. John 12:24.The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Jesus is trying to show, through parables, that the Kingdom of heaven may be reduced to one choice. One.
We spend tremendous amounts of time and energy trying to prune a tree that does not even belong in the garden of our soul. There is not room for two trees here, as in the Garden of Eden. Jesus defeated the tree of the knowledge of good and evil on the cross. He was the second Adam. He got it right, where man went wrong. If a man seeks to lose his life, he will save it. If he chooses to save his life, he will lose it. John 12:25. It will be devoured by the evil one, whose goal is to cause us to forget the simplicity of our devotion to Christ. To lose that single eye is to become double minded. Jesus warned the disciples in Mark 8:15 saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” The temptation to ‘save our lives’ will lead us to partake of one or the other type of leaven. Martha was doing ‘good’. The woman caught in adultery; doing ‘bad‘. Mary at Jesus feet was doing the ‘one’ thing needed. When we are trying to ‘save’ our lives, we’ll be exhibiting control and manipulation in every area. Whether it is in our relationship with God or others. Whether teaching Sunday school or having an affair. It will all be wood, hay, and stubble because it does not flow from the life of the One true vine.
The struggle to “live the Christian life” was not meant to be a struggle at all. The struggle was meant to be over when the ‘new life’ began. The purpose of water baptism was to demonstrate an inward decision, which was final. Death is final. The corpse does not argue with what has happened to it. Or with its Maker. We die; Christ lives.
There are a myriad of man’s teachings out there to educate us on ‘how’ to ‘live’ the Christian life, when it is not meant to be lived by us at all. HE is meant to live through us. “Sanctification” can become a way to continually prune a tree that should have been uprooted and cast into the sea. God is not impressed with our efforts to prune a tree that He does not want there in the first place. ‘Cut out television, cut off lust, cut away coveting’. In the same way we attempt to ‘graft in Bible study’ ‘graft in ministry’ ‘graft in the character of Christ’. No! Paul says, “Have DONE with…the works of the flesh.” Be they riotous living or keeping the law. If we are yielded to the seed of new life that the Author and Finisher of our faith planted within us, all of His fruit supernaturally comes with it.
I can already hear the “yes, but” resounding in your souls. There are no buts. There is: One life. One heart. One choice. One Kingdom. One destiny. One Way.
IF there is a struggle, it is simple. We have turned back from The Way. The Parable of the Sower is meant to alert us, which kind of soil our choice has allotted us.
He is merciful. He continues to prune us. He will allow unrest to possess our souls until He possesses all, for a kingdom divided against itself, will fall.
I do not say that this choice will not be made many times, in many ways. What I am saying is that it is always reduced to One choice. The “wrong” tree begins to wither of its own accord as it is overshadowed by the growing Tree of Life.