Advent Devotional 12/4
“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”” (Mark 4:20, NIV)
Spiritual growth is not automatic. It takes work! We can help or hinder what God is doing within us through our habits. Unproductive habits can hinder while healthy habits can help. Reading this devotional is a great step toward building a healthy habit in your life. Engaging God daily in prayer and in his word is an essential habit for a growing Christian. Spiritual conversation with other believers and simple obedience to what God is convicting us to do are a couple of other essentials.
In the parable about the soils (Mark 4:1-20), Jesus describes ways in which the seed (word) God plants in us can be unproductive. Birds can come and take away the word. These are the distractions and deceptions of the Evil One. Rocky soil is shallow. We can deepen our spiritual soil through regular spiritual disciplines. Thorns choke out the word and prevent growth. These are worldly pursuits and cares.
Fasting is an important spiritual habit that helps free us from distractions and worldly pursuits. Perhaps you have already decided to fast in some way this Advent. I want to encourage you to be strong and see your fast through. If you are not fasting, I hope you will consider fasting something this Advent. It could be a meal, or an activity that is distracting you. I am personally fasting from digital media because I find media and especially the Internet to be a distraction machine. I am enjoying reading and exercising more!
As we pray into the vision of growing as a congregation to 200, what will get us there is if all of us are spiritually productive. Whether you realize it or not, you are an important part of what God will do at Kardia next year. And the way for you to maximize your impact along with your brothers and sisters at church is to maximize your spiritual productivity. The best way to do this is to instill good habits, such as fasting and prayer, in your weekly rhythm. May God work in you, and may you work with God, to produce a spiritual harvest of thirty, sixty, even a hundred times what was sown! If each of us do that, 200 will be easy.
Lord God, give me the discipline and determination to grow spiritually in the next year. Help me to respond to your word with faith, and nurture your word through fasting and prayer and other spiritual disciplines so your word can be fully productive in my life.
I pray also for my brothers and sisters at Kardia. Make them fruitful and productive. Shield them from the distractions and deceptions of the Evil One. Free them from worldly cares. Help them to instill great habits that keep them in position to grow. Help us not to move backward. Close doors of unproductiveness behind us. Shut down the detours of life and help us to keep moving forward. Open vistas of spiritual enjoyment. May our prayer and fasting be sweet.
We ask that you would make us, the community of Kardia Church, very fruitful in 2020! To your glory!
In Jesus' name, Amen.