There are moments in this walk with God where a believer does not “feel” His presence. There are moments where the glory of God seems painfully far away. The devotions, church attendance, worship, praise, prayers, and all the things that one does to “feel” near to God seems to no longer work like they once did in the past.
The questions that come up in these moments are ones that are relational. They are ones that forces the believer to challenge where their heart is with God and His word. More specifically, the questions are about where God and His Word is with a person’s heart.
Jesus takes a moment to talk about various groups of believers and the condition of their heart. He discusses how men and women enter into the hearing of His word and how they respond to His Word. He illustrates that the Word of God enters the lives of humanity but it does not necessarily enter their hearts. Jesus paints an image that His word engages hearts that are along the roadside of faith, hearts that are shallow and stony, hearts that are full of thorns and thistles, and hearts that are good and healthy.
In His illustration about those along the roadside, Jesus states that they are individuals who have heard His Word. They have engaged His Word. They believed His Word. However, their adversary (2) came and robbed their hearts of the message of God (3). The thief came and stole the Word from their hearts with the purpose of robbing them of faith in the Messiah and the hope of salvation. Jesus shares with His disciples that there are men and women who have spent their lives hearing the Word of God, serving houses of worship, and engaging the people but His Word is not in their hearts.
These are those who are on the sidelines in their hearts. They are no longer participating in conversation with the Lord; no longer engaging in relationship with Christ; no longer engaging the working out their own salvation (5). They are on the sidelines.
They are on the sidelines because they allowed something else to become more valuable to them than their walk with God. They allowed something to separate them from the love of God (6). Eve allowed the serpent to beguile her (7). Spouses allow things and people to put asunder what God has joined together (8). Having the Word stolen from the heart is a systematic process where a relationship with something or someone else becomes more frequent, consistent, desirable, and important than a relationship with God.
Jesus points out the reality that there are many whom He will come in contact with. They will serve Him faithfully. They will attend services, go to meetings, sit in pews, be on stages, and He will stand right with them and be in their lives. Yet, they will never let Him into their hearts because their adversary is constantly marketing and advertising how much more valuable other relationships are than their relationship with God.
Resist the sidelines.
1. Luke 8:4-15 AMP
2. 1 Peter 5:8 KJV
3. Luke 8:12 AMP
4. John 10:10
5. Philippians 2:10
6. Romans 8:38-39
7. Genesis 3:1-7
8. Mark 10:9