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 for 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.”
For days we have been dealing with the “the worries of this life” or “the cares of this world.” Yesterday I shared a message with you that highlighted Mark 4:26-29, where we learned that the Word sown in our hearts would work, night and day, whether we are up or sleeping. The Word is always working to produce a harvest, whether we understand how it is working or not, just as long as we don’t actively work against it. When we worry, doubt God, or take on the cares of this world, we are actively working against the Word. Our cares become weeds that grow alongside the seed of the Word, and these weeds run the risk of choking out the Word. This is why entering into God’s rest is so important. Today I will discuss the importance of entering into God’s rest where His promises are concerned.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. Resting in what God said is not always easy.
— The writer of Hebrews told us to labor to enter into God’s rest (Heb 4:11). He was teaching us that we should work hard on NOT working. The point is not to take on the pressure to perform or produce God’s will. This is not easy because this world is programmed to emphasize human ability and effort. In this world, the “go-getters” will tell you that if you want something, YOU have to go out there and get it. You have to make it happen. Under this scenario, the spotlight is on YOU. In Christ, however, the spotlight is on God and not you. In Christ, you must learn to NOT do something just because you can. You must get to where you are resting in God and only doing what He leads you to do.
— I have done a great dealing of teaching on the fact that the highest form of faith is REST (see Heb 4:10).
— Truly living by faith means you have accepted God’s Word, you are resting in what He promised, and you are ONLY doing what He leads you to do. When you are at this is point, the Word can work in your life unhindered, mainly because you are NOT getting in the way. The Word is free to produce a harvest because you have not produced any weeds (the cares of this world, the love of money, and selfish desires) that are competing with the Word.
— Simply put, if you want God’s Word to work, for it to do what it does, you have to get out of the way and allow it the time and space it needs to produce in your life. I know this is not always the easiest thing to do, especially today when everyone wants everything fast, but if you want to grow in Christ you are going to have to learn to rest in God’s promises.
2. Resting in God is not about inactivity.
— RESTING IS NOT “DOING NOTHING!” RESTING IS DOING SOMETHING!
— Resting in God is not about inactivity. When you rest in God’s promise, you are active. You are ACTIVELY resting in what He said. You are reminding yourself, over and over again, what God said and how God will be faithful to His Word!
— Resting in God does not mean you are not working. Resting in God means you are working while you are resting. You are working while you are trusting.
— You are not working FOR grace. You are working BY grace. You are doing what you do with an active acknowledgment of God’s grace. You are not relying on human power. You are not pursuing selfish desires. You are not producing weeds that compete with God’s Word. You are simply being led by God’s Spirit as You wait on Him to do what only He can do.
— Living this way (doing only as you are led by the Holy Spirit to do), you can actually work harder and get more done because it is not you doing it. It is the Father, living in you, He is giving you the words and He is performing the work (see John 14:10, 12). And since He is leading you, He will never lead you to produce weeds that compete with the seed of His Word.
3. Don’t allow weeds to get in the way of the Word.
Jesus called the cares of this world, the love of money, and the lust for selfish desires “weeds.” He then explained how the weeds that you allow to grow in your heart can actually choke out the Word, overpowering it and stopping it from working in your life. When this happens, it is completely our fault! We don’t have to allow weeds to grow in our hearts. We don’t have to take on the cares of this world. We don’t have to pursue money over God. We don’t have to prioritize selfish desires over God’s will. While we don’t have to do any of these things, the truth is that many believers do. Many believers go to church Sunday after Sunday and Wednesday night after Wednesday night, only to then turn around and destroy the Word from working in their hearts simply because they have competing priorities.
Of the three weeds Jesus described, the one I am focused on today is worry. Worrying and resting are competing conditions. When God sows His Word (or His promise) in your heart, He wants you to rest in it. God wants you to rest, and satan wants you to worry. God wants you to release the pressure to perform, and satan wants you to take on pressure to try to “make God’s will happen.” Please don’t fall to satan’s tricks and pressure. You can rest in God. Jesus said, “Do not allow your heart to be troubled” (John 14:1). Just like you can ALLOW your heart to be troubled, you can ALLOW your heart to rest. Faith is a choice, just like fear is a choice. You can choose to worry, or you can choose to rest. Remember, God will allow whatever you allow, so make sure you choose wisely (see John 14:27).
Declaration of Faith:
Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me! I LEVEL UP in 2021 by meditating and medicating on Your Word day and night. I resist worrying, fear, doubt, and unbelief. I reject the cares of this world, the love of money, and the lust for selfish desires. I trust in You, I take You at Your Word, and I enter into Your rest. I rest from my own works. I rest from my ability. I no longer rely on human effort to bring things to pass. I work, but I work by Your grace, enabled by Your power, and enjoying You favor every step of the way. Living this way, I allow Your Word to work in my life. I give it the time and space it needs to do what it does. As a result, Your Word produces a harvest IN me, WITH me, and FOR me! I am LEVELING UP with the Word. GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.