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 far we have covered the first type of soil: the soil along the path. These are people who receive the Word of God, but lack understanding, so satan comes immediately and snatches the Word away. Today we transition to the next type of soil Jesus mentioned in the parable, rocky ground. Jesus said these people, “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.” There is a lot to cover in these few sentences. I will take my time and carefully walk us through Jesus’ statement over the next few days. Let’s get into it.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. God is looking for more than just an emotional response to His Word.
— God is not impressed by the excitement you display on Sundays as you receive the Word. He is looking for the change it will produce IN you and the fruit it will produce FROM you for the long term.
— The Lord provides you His Word as a long-term investment. God is looking for the Word to produce results in your life. God’s Word is seed. God looks over His Word to perform it. God wants to see the seed of His Word produce fruit and for His fruit to remain.
— Getting excited about a Word you receive from God is one thing. But if that excitement does not lead to implementation, there will be no long-lasting results.
— Getting excited about something God said is good. But excitement wears off. When the emotions are over, what are you doing to DO with the Word you received?
— Some Christians love to have their emotions stirred. I am all for an uplifting experience from time to time. However, many chase emotional highs without understanding the fact that lasting change can only come from a Word you understand, digest, and apply.
— The boundless potential found in the Word of God actually attracts opposition (I will deal with this more tomorrow). Satan wants to stop you before you tap into the potential of the Word sown in your heart. When the Word comes, get ready because trouble and persecution will come BECAUSE of the Word. So when the excitement is over, make sure you retained enough Word to endure through any of the challenges that may come because of it.
2. God is looking for His Word to GO DEEP into your heart.
The criticism Jesus gave for this type of soil is that some people don’t allow the Word of God to GO DEEP into their lives. What does it look like to allow the Word to go deep? To answer this question, let’s look at Hebrews 4:12 from two different translations.
(Heb 4:12 ERV)
God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts.
— You are a spirit, you possess a soul (mind, emotions, and will), and your spirit and soul live in a physical body (for now).
— The Word of God is capable of dividing our spirit and soul. The Word of God is capable of showing us where our soul (the way we think, the way we feel, and the way we make decisions) does not line up with the Holy Spirit. This level of clarity is critical to Godly maturity because we will never adequately address a problem we are ignorant of.
— The Word is God helps show us where our ways and God’s ways are divergent. The Holy Spirit is then able to help us make the adjustments necessary to comply with the Word of God in the fullest possible way.
(Heb 4:12 AMPC)
For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.
— If we allow the Word of God to go deep into our hearts, God’s Word can show us where our hearts are not in alignment or agreement with God.
— The Bible can show you where your thoughts, and the intents of your heart, are either in harmony or discord with God.
— Jesus warned against surface-level Christianity because He knew that many would claim to honor Him with their lips, but their hearts would be far from Him. (Matthew 15:8)
3. The Word of God is a mirror that can expose your flaws.
The Word of God can expose to use where we are simply not lining up with God. Whenever you read a Word you can use the Word as a mirror. You can look into the mirror of God’s Word and “see how you look.” If your thoughts and ways are in alignment with God’s thoughts and ways, you look good. Continue mission. Keep marching. But when you see how your thoughts and ways DON’T line up with God’s, it is time to make some changes. This is the point where you must turn your LEARNING into LIVING! If you don’t, you are the surface-level Christian Jesus described.
James said it this way:
(James 1:22-25 ERV)
22 Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves.
23 Hearing God’s teaching and doing nothing is like looking at your face in the mirror
24 and doing nothing about what you saw. You go away and immediately forget how bad you looked.
25 But when you look into God’s perfect law that sets people free, pay attention to it. If you do what it says, you will have God’s blessing. Never just listen to his teaching and forget what you heard.
That’s about as plain as it can be.
— When the excitement is over, and your emotions calm down, if you don’t keep God’s Word in your heart and meditate/medicate on it day and night, all you will have to show for your life is a series of emotional experiences. If you want true and long-lasting change, you can appreciate the emotional highs, but you must then make an effort to APPLY what you HEARD.
— You must turn the corner from learning to living, from information to application.
That’s enough for today.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, this is a season for me to LEVEL UP! I do so by giving careful attention to Your Word. Your Word is an incorruptible seed, and it brings forth a supernatural harvest in my life. I receive the Word with gladness. I get excited when I hear what You are saying. But when the excitement is over, I am still focused. I follow up and follow through with what You said. I do not allow my expectation to wane. I never give up. I never cave in. I refuse to throw in the towel. I apply what I learned. I implement what You teach. I am a doer of the Word of God and not a hearer only. I allow Your Word to go DEEP into my heart. 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.