Pulling Up Old Stumps
Matt.13:1-17; 21:28-32; Mark 7:9
So many of you tell your friends in despair: “He (or she) is a hopeless case. They have NO religion whatsoever! You’ll never see that reprobate in a church! How on earth am I supposed to get an ATHEIST saved?
Beloved, it is much more complicated to convert a so-called religious person than a supposed atheist who professes no religious belief. During My earthly ministry, it was the RELIGIOUS leaders, the learned scribes and the Pharisees who gave me the most grief and presented the biggest challenge to Me. They were so religious they didn’t even think they needed any repentance at all! They thought they’d made it spiritually and were miles above all the rest in their society. The self-righteous religious hypocrites thought it was beneath them to befriend an outcast tax collector or some Jew who didn’t meticulously keep all the jots and tittles of their oral traditions. The non-observant “am-ha’aretz” (people of the earth) were considered mere scum to be spit on. A Pharisee would dart away quickly, lest the fringes of his robe brush against the dirty cloak of an “unclean” person, or, worse yet, a Gentile. Those Pharisees kept many HUNDREDS of ceremonial regulations, most of them invented by men, not given by God.
The scribes and the Pharisees were hardened ground, but more than soil density was involved here. The soil of their souls was ALREADY planted with doctrinal tares which appealed to their pride in the keeping of them. They turned a deaf, hostile ear to what I had to say about the proper way to love God and your neighbor. The danger of the tare is it has an almost identical appearance to wheat. But a tare cannot provide nourishment. Tares actually poisonous to man, and their consumption can even result in death. Tares take up valuable space in a farmer’s field. Their long roots entangle themselves round the roots of the true wheat and hinder its growth. Beware of tares in your lives, My children, especially RELIGIOUS ones!
People who are steeped in false religions, cults, or nominal churchianity have more mental blockages than so-called atheists and agnostics do. Those without a religion are free of hang-ups and complications which have already been deeply planted in the souls of people in dead religions. People who have no false belief system to flee to in time of trouble are much less likely to shut me out. They are also more likely to respond to the Voice of My Spirit Who longs to sow into their hearts the good seed of the Word of God. Certainly, the enemy has sown seeds of sin in the lives of every sinner on earth, but it is much easier for these potential converts to be made AWARE that they are spiritually hungry and needy. When I spoke of how very difficult it is for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, I wasn’t just referring to those who had a great deal of money, but those who possessed counterfeit spiritual wealth as well! How can anyone receive from Me with both hands already full?
Religious people have already eaten their fill of puffed up spiritual cotton candy which can offer their precious souls no nourishment. “Respectable” religious people think they are satisfied. But just like empty sugar shuts off a healthy appetite for real nourishment, their false religious rituals have numbed them to their own desperate need of a Living Savior Who alone can deliver from sin and death. They are unaware that they are spiritually dead and cut off from My life. Those in cold, dead congregations who look unto MEN to save them are starving to death just as much as the rumpled reprobate in the bar who swears he’ll never, ever have anything more to do with “church” or supernatural things.
It was much easier for me to reach thieves, tax collectors and prostitutes than the religious people of My day. The “sinners” who came to Me in repentance did so because they could more clearly see the ugliness of their natures, so they did not cling to the bad things planted in their lives by satan. It was much less difficult for Me to pull up the tares in their lives than to help the Pharisees and scribes. Their tares had been carefully nourished and cultivated and allowed to grow through clinging to centuries of tradition which conflicted with the true Word of God. They, in effect, said to Me: “Get lost! Mind your own business! Leave us alone! We LOVE our religion! If these traditions were good enough for our forefathers, they’re good enough for us too!” False religion based on twisted interpretations of Scripture played a big part in sending these deluded men to hell. They refused to let Me sow the good seed of My Word in their stony hearts.
Whenever a farmer wants to plant a food crop in a forest, he must first cut down the trees taking up the room on his land. But that farmer isn’t finished yet. He has to struggle to pull the heavy stumps out of the soil. Then there is the extensive root system of the trees down in the soil. Bad doctrine reaches its ugly roots deep down into the soul, leading to pride of practicing “deeper truths” than one’s brother or sister. Any doctrine or ritual which dethrones Christ in a person’s life is idolatry, even if it is believed to be based on the Bible. When and if that person realizes that only I can offer them life and they finally turn to Me for deliverance from doctrinal delusions, full restoration usually takes time. I must diligently clear the soil of all the bad religion which was so carefully cultivated by the one who was involved in it for so long. Only then can the genuine truth of My Word take root and thrive in that person’s life.