Himalayan Balsam encroaching onto the boardwalk by Evelyn Simak

Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you has an evil heart of unbelief that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day by day—as long as it is called “Today”—so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:12-13

God wants us to live a life free of spiritual encumbrances – burdens and impediments to our shared salvation. The world is increasingly encroaching on the body of Messiah; and has already breached many congregations even to occupy the seat of power among them. Unless we tend to our spiritual life, we will become like an abandoned garden. The path before us will be obscured by untended vines and bushes that encroach on it. The same is true for our spiritual life. We become encumbered by issues of life that, if left unchecked, can obscure our spiritual journey. 

This is precisely what Yeshua (Jesus) talked about in the parable of the seed sower (Matthew 13).

“But the one sown among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word; and the worries of the world and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful”

Matthew 13:22

Encumbrance can take many forms, but they all fit well in the “worries of the world and seduction of wealth” categories Yeshua mentioned. In many cases, those areas of life deceptively disguise themselves as the real thing. There are many spiritual matters but their true nature only becomes evident when they mature and begin to produce fruit. In the parable, Yeshua said the enemy planted weeds among the wheat, and only when the stalks sprouted and produced grain did they realize their true nature (Matthew 13:26). In this same way, the enemy plants spiritual seeds that only become evident at maturity with the hope that by then they would have choked out those spiritual matters that are truly of God. 

For this reason, we must guard ourselves against deception by tending our spiritual nature through daily reading and acting on the Word of God. It is both a fertilizer and weed control for our soul without which we are at the mercy of a merciless enemy. There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed (Matthew 10:26) but why risk such a fate when we have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to keep our trust in tact and our path clear of encumbrances? 

“You reject all who stray from your laws, for what they deceive themselves with is false”.

Psalm 119:118

Scripture tells us that God rejects all who stray from His laws (Psalm 119:118) and to take care not to fall away in unbelief (Hebrews 3:12). To stray indicates that at one time we were walking the correct path. The writer of the Hebrews reiterated the fate of those who stray from the Lord. The seductive nature of the world around us sometimes offers an appearance of righteousness, but its end is destructive deception. The world cannot replicate the things of God. In fact, the world is hostile to God (Romans 8:6).

We battle against the flesh every day; some more than others. We are surrounded by encumbrances that can slowly hamper our spiritual growth until we begin to regress. The more ground we give, the more the world will take, until all we lose our way in it.

Stay focused on your salvation. Keep your eyes on the Author of our faith and the only One who can save us. Commit yourself to God and to Yeshua (Jesus) our Messiah.


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