When You Stop the Destructive Behavior
It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade. Mark 4:31-32
Oddly, I’ve heard guys in jail say that they’re glad to be there. If this is what it took for me to clean up and to turn to God, then it was worth it. I’m happier here, sober and following God, than I was out there, using, on my own. Jail isn’t a fun place, and they don’t want to remain there, but they’ve discovered that joy, peace, and meaning don’t lie in a bottle or in circumstances. It took painful consequences to get them to this point, but once they’ve disengaged from destructive behavior and began following God, his kingdom sprouted in them, growing a fantastic new life.
I would testify to the same thing. I didn’t go to jail, but I required pain and misery to get to the point where I became desperate to abandon my addiction. In turning from my way to follow God’s, he grew his new life in me. I now often find myself saying, Following God doesn’t necessarily mean material wealth, but when you stop acting like an idiot, new life explodes.
In today’s passage, Jesus continued his illustration of a seed as the kingdom of God. He said the seed may start out small, but once it’s planted, it grows exponentially, going from the inanimate and miniscule to a huge, living plant. For the seed to grow, it must be buried. Then, it must completely transform, growing into something that it was not previously. Once this has happened though, it flourishes into a brand-new life.
This is what is available to all who are tired of the old life. Jesus said the kingdom of God is calling to all of us. He will allow those who insist on clinging to the old life to remain as the seed, finding only misery and death. Those of us who are desperate for something different though, will abandon the old life to follow Christ. In doing so, we will find the joy, peace, and hope that can be found only in the new life.