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.”
We are still dealing with the thorny ground. Today I am going to focus in on the line, “the worries of this life.” Other translations read, “the cares of this world.”
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. Once you are Born-Again, you are IN this world, but you are not OF this world.
In John 16, Jesus explained how this world is full of tribulation, challenges, trouble, and sorrows. However, in the same conversation, Jesus told His disciples to be of good cheer, to have great confidence, because He already overcame the world. I will explain.
Jesus came to redeem the world from satan, hell, and the grave. Jesus took the keys of the kingdom BACK from satan. Jesus got back what Adam lost in the Garden. Jesus now has all power in heaven, in the earth, and even under the earth (the kingdom of darkness). Jesus redeemed us from all the power of the enemy. However, this does not mean that the enemy does not have power. This does not mean that satan is not still at work on this planet. While that day will come, for now, it means that there are two concurrent realities. In one sense, satan is still at work, doing his deeds, causing havoc, turmoil, death, and destruction in this world. And at the same time, Jesus is ruling and reigning as Lord.
Think of it as two realities or alternate universes that are playing out in the same space. In one sense, satan is busy, especially right now, with COVID-19, racial unrest, and the economy. Not only is he at work doing what he does: stealing, killing, and destroying. But he is also robbing people of their peace. In this season, there are people who cannot sleep, who are full of worry, who are now dealing with the physical repercussions of fear and anxiety. Your body and your soul were not designed to carry sustained stress. As a result, there are people who are breaking down mentally, physically, and psychologically—even people who love God.
Now that you have that picture, I want to paint another picture for you… one of another reality that is playing out at the same time. In this reality, Jesus is Lord. He has conquered satan. He has overcome the world. He is seated at the right hand of the Father. He did not sit down because He was tired. He sat down because He was done. Jesus overcame the world. He now freely offers supernatural peace, rest, and power to His children. Jesus knows that in this world there will be tribulation, troubles, and sorrows, but He made it so His children can be IN this world, but not moved by it, because they are not OF this world.
Jesus made a way for His children to be surrounded by trouble, but not be troubled by it. The only way to do this is by faith. If we have the faith to tap into what Jesus already did, we can be in the world, in the middle of a global pandemic, and not be moved by it. We can be surrounded by the same challenges everyone else is, but we don’t handle them the same way. We can still sleep well at night. We still get up every morning with a spring in our step, a song on our hearts, and a smile on our face because we are living off of a different reality. While the world is glued to the television, feeding themselves off of news report after news report, we are filling our hearts with a different report. We are spending time in God’s Word. We are meditating and meditating on what He SAID, so we can hear what he is SAYING to us in this season. We are spending time with the Holy Spirit, and He is leading us concerning what to say and do.
The Holy Spirit is leading us concerning our businesses and careers. He is speaking to us concerning our children and their education. He is leading us concerning what to do in order to maintain supernatural peace and rest. He gives us sweet sleep at night. He gives us divine insight during the day. We get to tap into supernatural joy while we work. And while we do all of this, we are living differently than the world is. This is how we become LIGHT in the middle of darkness. While the world is full of despair, we are full of HOPE. While the world is stressed out, we are full of PEACE. We may be occupying the same space as they are, but we are not living off of the same reality. We are living by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God concerning us. We are living IN SYNC with heaven, even it means we seem OUT OF SYNC with the things of this world. If there has ever been a time where we WANT to be OUT OF SYNC with what is happening in this world, now is that time. Living IN SYNC with heaven will mean that you are living off a different reality, and believe me, this is exactly how you want to live. Jesus died so we could live this way!
This is why, in John 17, Jesus prayed the following: “The world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do.” Jesus made it clear that He was not of this world and neither are you.
2. You are called to live from heaven’s perspective.
The Bible teaches us NOT to live from a human point of view. When you are living from God’s point of view, your life will not be full of the cares of this world. Let’s look at something Paul said:
(Col 3:1-4 NIV)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
What setting is your mind SET to? Paul gives us the picture of being able to literally SET our minds on one of two settings: heaven or earth. Think of a thermostat for a minute. A thermostat is not a thermometer. A thermometer changes as conditions change. A thermostat sets the conditions. If you don’t like the conditions in your home, you can SET the thermostat, and before long, the conditions will change to align with your setting.
Now think of your mind. Your mind has an “EARTH” setting, and once you are Born-Again, the Holy Spirit gives you access to a “HEAVEN” setting. If you set your mind to the “EARTH” setting, you will be no different from anyone in this world. You will live like a mere human. When challenges come, you will have no hope. However, if you set your mind to the “HEAVEN” setting, you will be able to see things from God’s point of view. Come what may, you will not be moved. You will always have hope. You will know that you are never hopeless because you are never helpless. You will always know what to do next because you will be led by God’s Spirit in all things. This is how we are supposed to live. This is how we experience heaven-on-earth. This is how we avoid becoming the thorny ground that is consumed with the cares/worries of this world!
3. If you live your life full of care and worry, there is no difference between you and the world.
Jesus said, “Don’t worry about the things you need to live—what you will eat, drink, or wear. Life is more important than food, and the body is more important than what you put on it… You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it… Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ That’s what those people who don’t know God are always thinking about. Don’t worry, because your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what he wants you to do. Then he will give you all these other things you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow.” (see Matthew 6:25-33)
You cannot worry and trust God at the same time. If you worry and take on care, it will choke out the Word and keep it from working in your life.
4. You were designed to cast-care, not carry it.
The Apostle Peter said, “Cast all your care upon Him [God], because He cares for you!” (1 Peter 5:7). Other translations replace “care” with “anxiety” or “worry”. Peter’s point is that you should not take on care because the Father has chosen to care for your life. If God has the care for your life and your future, then why attempt to carry around any care? Don’t carry care; cast it over to God who is doing the caring for you!
— God can handle care; you cannot. You were not designed to take on the pressure to perform. God does not call you to things you can do on your own. So if you start taking on the pressure to perform, you will be so stressed — by the size of God’s assignment and the pressure to get it done — that God’s Word will not work in your life. Care, worry, and stress can choke out the Word.
— It comes down to this: If you are going to work, then God is going to rest. But when you learn to enter into God’s rest, He will do the work. When you rest in the finished work of Jesus in your life, you will experience God working in you and living through you, and He uses you as a conduit of His glory on this planet. But if you try to do everyone on your own, as a mere human, working for everything you get, and actually trying to perform God’s will with your human ability, you will live a life that is full of stress, struggle, and stain. You can be a Christian and be stressed out because you have taken on the cares of this world.
I don’t give a CARE, because my Father cares for me!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me! I LEVEL UP in 2021 by giving You and Your Word priority over everything else. I don’t allow the cares of this world to choke out the power of Your Word. I take no thought for tomorrow. I don’t give a CARE! I don’t take on any pressure to perform. If You called me to do it, then I know You have already given me the grace to get it done, You have already stored up the resources for it, You have already prepared the people I will need, and You will bring us together at just the right time. So my eyes are on You. My trust is in You. I have no cares. I have no worry. I take on no anxiety. And if care somehow makes its way into my heart, I am quick to CAST that care over to You because You have taken on the responsibility to care for me! I LEVEL UP my life in this season. Stress has no power over me because I know GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.