Summary: Too often, Christians can become so busy in their lives that they choke the word of God out of it. Too many of us are the thorny soil at times. This sermon helps us remember what our priorities should be.

Often as Christians, we need to take a step back from our busy lives to examine where we are as Christians. We need to ask ourselves many questions: Have I been growing? Is that growth visible to others? Am I more holy this month or year than I was last year? These are all important questions we need to ask on a regular basis. This morning, I would like us all to examine ourselves with another important question; one that we need to honestly examine ourselves with. That question:

ARE YOU (AM I) CHOKING SPIRITUALLY? Are we in need of a spiritual Heimlich maneuver?

"And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: 5 "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold." As he said these things, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (Luke 8:4-8)

Jesus here and in the parallel accounts in Matthew 13 and Mark 4 speaks of 4 different kinds of soil. He shares with us later on that the different soils are the hearts of individuals that receive the seed of the word of God. When the word of God goes into a heart, it can give each person one of the four different responses that Jesus speaks of in detail in verses 11-15. But I would like to pay close attention to this morning one of the soils that I believe we far too often if we were honest would classify ourselves under.

Luke 8:7 "And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it." Jesus describes this soil as “those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature (8:14). Matthews account says that the word is choked out of their lives and they prove to be unfruitful.

I always looked at where it says worries and pleasures of the world, and thought that it was only speaking of sins that we can commit that can choke the word out of our lives. But I realized in my own life that the cares of the world can actually be things that are not bad in and of themselves. For instance:

• Is it wrong to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers play football or the Pirates play baseball?

• Is it wrong to watch “appropriate” television shows or to read a good fiction novel?

• Is it wrong to do gardening and landscaping at home?

• Is it wrong to go out to dinner with a friend, or spend a weekend on vacation?

• Is it wrong to spend time on the internet checking out all of your social media websites such as Facebook, twitter, YouTube, Google+, etc.?

Are any of these things wrong? The answer to all these questions is no. In and of themselves, these things are not wrong. But I’ll tell you one thing that is true: If we keep piling up more and more of these things our priority that we claim to have of following Jesus will get narrower and narrower till we just squeeze Him out of our lives. When we commit too much time to these things; time that God has given us to be stewards of, we can choke the word out of our lives and be fruitless in our service to God.

It can get to the point where the spiritual things that are supposed to be our highest priorities as a Christian are coming in a distant second to our own non-spiritual activities. It is easy to be taken away by the cares of the world.

It would not surprise me one bit if it were true that close to the majority of those who claim to be Christians here in America fall into this category of soil. The reason why is because we just make ourselves too busy and let the things that should be our highest priorities slip through the cracks.

So let’s ask ourselves this question: What should be our highest priorities, especially in the time we have that we would consider “free time” when we are not spending time fulfilling our responsibilities to our families, such as working and being the husbands, wives, and children that God calls us to be? What kinds of things should we desire and enjoy doing in our free time to be fruitful servants of God?

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