This morning we continue our series entitled “Leveling Up with the Word!” We have been looking at the parable of the sower. Let’s get back to it today.
Setting the stage:
(Mark 4:13-20 ERV)
“The farmer is like someone who plants God’s teaching in people. Sometimes the teaching falls on the path. That is like some people who hear the teaching of God. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them.
Other people are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching, and they quickly and gladly accept it. But they don’t allow it to go deep into their lives. They keep it only a short time. As soon as trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching they accepted, they give up.
Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. They hear the teaching, but their lives become full of other things: the worries of this life, the love of money, and everything else they want. This keeps the teaching from growing, and it does not produce a crop in their lives.
And others are like the seed planted on the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and produce a good crop—sometimes 30 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 100 times more.”
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. Understanding the Bible is not an easy task at first.
I keep honing in on the fact that satan can come and snatch the Word from your heart if you don’t understand it. Understanding the Bible is critical. But I also know how frustrating it can be at first.
I run into people all the time who tell me that they don’t understand the Bible. They try to get started, but it seems so confusing at first. Here is some practical advice on how to get started in your Bible reading:
a) If you are new to the Bible and you want to read it, don’t start reading in Genesis. I know you think starting at the beginning makes sense, but it won’t at first. It is better to start with one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). I recommend you start with the Gospel of John. John paints a clear picture of Jesus, and you will hear Jesus in His own words. Then read the letters from Paul to the churches. After that, you will be ready for some of the history books of the Old Testament.
b) When you are new to reading the Bible, please make time to pray as you read. You will need to give the Holy Spirit time and space to speak to you. Remember, He is the author of the book. As you read His book, He wants to explain it to you, but you have to give Him the space to do so.
c) Take your time. Applying the Bible to your life should be a lifelong journey. You don’t have to read it all at once. Read portions. Pray over them. Meditate on what you read. Let God speak to you about it.
d) Apply the Bible to your daily living. At first, you may not know how to do this. This is where people like me come in—you need Pastors and teachers. Couple what your leaders teach you with what you learn yourself. The more you read the Word for yourself with the intent of applying what you read, the more the words of the Bible will leap off the pages and get down in your heart. Further, as you put the words into practice, what is in your heart will become your reality.
2. God is a spirit, and He can give you spiritual understanding.
Jesus mentions four types of soil. Thus far we have only covered the first: the soil along the path. This soil represents the people who hear the Word of God, but do not understand it. Because their understanding is unfruitful, satan comes immediately and snatches the Word from their hearts. We have been reading from Mark. Let’s read Matthew’s account.
In Matthew’s account Jesus explained, “This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving”… But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.” (Matthew 13:13, 14 & 16).
Let’s glean some things from this:
a) The Father can give us a spiritual understanding of His Word. But to those who are not sensitive to receiving that understanding, the Word of God makes no sense.
b) The Word of God is alive. The Bible is a spiritual book designed to speak to your spirit, not your senses. This is why the Bible does not have to make sense. You cannot validate the teachings of the Bible with sense-realm evidence.
c) Some portions of scripture require faith to believe. Healing does not make sense. Tithing does not make sense. A virgin birth does not make sense. But faith perceives and believes God’s words to be true even without sense-realm evidence to validate them.
d) If you have the faith to see the Word, hear the Word, and understand the Word of God, your life will be changed forever.
e) You must approach the Word of God with spiritual eyes and ears. If you do, the Holy Spirit will give your spirit divine understanding.
f) If it is true that satan can (and will) come immediately to snatch the Word away from those who do not understand what God was saying, then it is also true that he cannot snatch the Word from you when you have divine understanding. When you comprehend the Word of God, with a spiritual comprehension that can only come by God’s Spirit, you are in position to retain that Word. That Word is then seed that will produce a harvest in your life.
g) Spiritual understanding is critical, because you will never maximize what you do not understand.
3. God gave you His Spirit so that you can understand spiritual things.
In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul explained part of the role of the Holy Spirit. He said, “The prophet said, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” But God has shown us these things through the Spirit. The Spirit knows all things. The Spirit even knows the deep secrets of God… No one knows God’s thoughts except God’s Spirit.. We received God’s Spirit so that we can know all that God has given us.” (1 Cor 2:9-12).
We can glean a few things from this:
a) While the Word of God is extremely powerful, God’s Word will not benefit you if you do not understand it. Further, any Word you fail to understand can be snatched away from you by the enemy. Satan wants to get the Word from you before you attempt to understand it.
b) If you are Born-Again, the author of God’s book lives IN you. He is more than capable of giving you a divine understanding of the Word He wrote.
c) God gave you His Spirit so that you would know, comprehend, and spiritually understand the things He has freely given you; this includes an understanding of the scriptures. In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul also explained how those without the Spirit of God cannot understand the things of God. Paul taught us that spiritual things sound “foolish” to those without God’s Spirit. Before you were Born-Again, you did not have God’s Spirit in you, and the Bible seems foolish to you back then too. Please remember that when you are talking to someone who is NOT Born-Again. Don’t discuss or argue spiritual things with non-spiritual people. It is a waste of time.
d) When you are in-tune with the Holy Spirit, and you open up your Bible, it is like the words jump off the pages and get down in your heart. The Holy Spirit can give you insight, clarity and understanding that far exceeds human ability. This is not reading the Word of God with your head. This is receiving from God’s Word in your heart. The Holy Spirit gives divine understanding!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, this is a season for me to LEVEL UP! Your Spirit enables me to SEE the Word, HEAR the Word, and UNDERSTAND the Word of God. I am changed by the Word I SEE, HEAR and UNDERSTAND. Your Word is an incorruptible seed, whereby I was Born-Again. Now that I am made new, I get Your Word down in my heart continually. However, I know Your ways are above my ways, so I cannot understand Your Word with just my intellect. I need supernatural assistance, and You provided me just that with Your Spirit. Your Spirit reveals to me the secret things concerning my life. Your Spirit reveals things that would otherwise remain concealed from me. Your Spirit illuminates the scriptures in a way that only He, as the author, can. Thank You, Father, for giving me Your Spirit. I am led by Your Spirit every day, in every way. This is how I LEVEL UP my life in 2021! GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.