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Three Wolves

There is a malevolent spiritual being that stalks us. He was called by Jesus both “satan” and “devil”. The first means “accuser”; the second means “liar or false accuser”.


Jesus said that this fallen archangel “lives to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10a). He employs three main techniques to cause us to have miserable lives, that I call the “Three Wolves”: “the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19) I call them the “Three Wolves” because they stalk us on the enemy’s behalf.


If we paid attention to the things which hassle us...make us unhappy and discontent and which are the topic of much worry among us, these three will come up over and over: 1) the cares of this world, 2) the deceitfulness of riches, and 3) the desires for other things.


There is but one antidote and the antidote is where our focus MUST be:


“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:33-34)


If we will take heed to ourselves...and to one another, shake off the things that hassle us, and set our focus on God and His kingdom and His righteousness (which was given to us to be our own!) those things will never take hold in us.


May THIS become our credo:


“I will lift up my eyes to the hills; from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.” (Psalm 121:1-3)


The LORD. HE is the answer.


Let’s look at those three wolves in Mark 4:19 a little closer so we can see how hurtful they are. For one thing, they appear in the Parable of the Sower and the Seed and represent the seeds sown among thorns.


“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19)


The term “the cares of this world” is an interesting one. The word “cares” is the Greek word “mérimna”; it means anxiety which brings disruption to our souls. Have you noticed now much anxiety there is among us these days?


The word “world” does not refer to the earth or even the system of the world. Rather, it refers to a duration of time. The term “the cares of this world” is an interesting one because Jesus doesn’t label them as “our cares”; He refers to them, basically, as “temporary anxieties that will pass by”.


“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)


Virtually every distraction like this will eventually pass us by. As the eternal beings we are as Christians, these have nothing to do with us. Let’s commit to stop focusing on temporary disruptions aimed at causing us to become unfruitful – spiritually barren.


“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19)


The words “deceitfulness of riches” refers to the delusion that an abundance of anything will protect us and provide for us. Whenever the enemy sets our focus on things of the earth he has lured us into a trap that is SO EASY for him to spring because ALL these things are limited and finite. These are EARTHLY and, therefore, temporary. Trusting these is truly delusional.


“Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” (Psalm 147:5)


…and…


“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)


It is so much better for us to dwell on our God Who is infinite and is forever.


“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19)


The word “desires” comes from the Greek word “epithumía” which refers to an irregular and inordinate lust. The devil will cause us to lust for “other things”, a term that literally means “residue”.


The Bible is clear that God monitors our needs constantly.


“…our Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8b)


And, the Bible is also clear that God supplies what we truly need.


“…my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippian 4:19)


Because this is true, we know that we have what we need and that the “other things” around us are residue…or something that remains after a part is taken, separated, or designated. In other words, the “other things” which satan causes us to lust after are nothing more than cast off bits and pieces of anything the Lord considered to be unnecessary or, even, detrimental to us.


“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19)


These are the “Three Wolves”: “the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things.”


Jesus said satan’s wish is that these wolves will infiltrate our minds and, literally, “strangle what God has spoken to us” that we might not trust Him and, thereby, not have all we need: “entering in choke the word”. All to what end?


“…and it (‘the word’) becomes unfruitful.”.


The devil lost a great battle when Jesus rose from the dead. He looked on with horror as the Spirit baptized new Christians INTO Jesus and the Father placed the Holy Spirit inside them. Satan’s back-up plan is to use the “Three Wolves” to cause us to become unfruitful because that is how he intends to limit the movement of God’s influence from heaven through us to the earth.


“…the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” (Romans 14:17-19)


The devil fears God manifesting His glory through us in the form of what Paul calls “the fruit of the Spirit”: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)


What better way to quench that fruitfulness than for him to rip our focus OFF the God who manifests that through Christians and placing it ONTO the “the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things”, causing us to become “unfruitful”?


“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19)


Let’s resolve in our hearts to be aware of what Jesus so clearly warned us would happen: “temporary anxieties that will pass by”, “the delusion that an abundance of anything will protect us and provide for us”, and “lust after anything the Lord considered to be unnecessary or, even, detrimental to us”.


Let’s resolve to stop worshiping our enemy by being obsessed with “the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things” and, instead, worship our Lord Who came to destroy the “Three Wolves” and everything else satan throws at us.


“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8b)


May we partner with our King in this!



Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

© November 28, 2020

(for use with permission)