Leveling Up with the Word Series Recap #3

by Rick

I trust you have enjoyed the “Leveling Up with the Word!” series.  We have studied the parable of the sower for months.  We are wrapping up the series this week.  

Jesus said:

(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.” 

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things.

Jesus taught a parable that emphasized freeing your heart of all distractors so you can receive, understand and apply the Word of God.  Why did Jesus place so much emphasis on the Word of God?  I believe there are many reasons.  I will give you two:

1.  The Word of God teaches us about the God of the Word.  

— The more we read, digest, process, and meditate on God’s Word, the more we will understand (to a certain extent) God.  While God is infinite, and you can make the argument that our finite minds cannot fully grasp the enormity of God, God did give us His Spirit and His Word.  If we read God’s Word and learn to discern the impulses of the Holy Spirit, we will know enough about God to live like Him on this planet.  That’s the goal.  “As Jesus is, so are we, in this world” (1 John 4:17).

— The purpose of the Bible is not for you to quote scriptures, win debates or excel in Bible trivia.  The purpose of the Bible is so you can get to know God.  If you meditate and medicate on what God said, you will hear what He is saying to you today, and you will be drawn closer to Him.

— The Bible is not a textbook to study, but rather a life-book to live.  When you read the Bible, your goal should be to turn the corner from information to application.  Reading God’s Word is not merely an academic practice.  Your learning must turn into living.  

2.  The life of faith is all about producing a harvest from the words (seed) God speaks to us (or sows in us).

You should not read the Bible only to hear what God SAID.  You read what He SAID (back then), intent on hearing what He is SAYING to you today.  The more Word you get down in your heart, the better positioned you will be to:

a)  Hear what God is saying.  When you condition your heart to align with God’s Word, your heart will be attuned to His voice because you will know more about His character, attributes, and nature.

b)  Discern God’s voice.  Many people tell me that they don’t hear God.  God is always speaking.  We are not always listening.  A quick way to know if a thought you just received came from God or not is to check it against the Word.  But if you don’t know the Word, you don’t have anything to check it against.

c)  Live a life pleasing to God.  When you fill your heart with the Word of God, and it becomes the foundation for your conduct and character.  Further, when you learn to discern the Holy Spirit’s impulses and allow God to lead and guide you daily, you are then well-positioned to become a human conduit of the divine on this planet.  This is God’s desire.

d)  Produce the harvest God wants to produce through you.  In Luke 13:6-9, Jesus told a parable about a fig tree.  In the parable, a certain made took one of his fig trees and had it planted in a vineyard.  The tree refused to produce.  The owner of the tree came looking for figs year after year.  But the tree was not producing.  The owner wanted to cut it down, but the worker of the vineyard asked the owner to allow him to work with the tree.  There is a lot here to unpack, and I know our current focus is the parable of the sower, but I will close out our messages with a few quick nuggets we can glean from both parables.

— First of all, fig-trees grow in orchards, not vineyards.  The tree owner (God) knew what He was doing when he planted the tree in the vineyard.  

— God plants His Word (power) down inside of you, and He then plants YOU where He wants you to produce fruit.

— The change of location did not cause the owner to change His expectation.  The Lord expects you to bloom wherever you have been planted because He has given you everything you need (His purpose, His Spirit, and His Word) to produce.

— Jesus is the worker of the vineyard in the story.  He is constantly interceding for us with the Father.  Even when the Father says, “this is not working,” Jesus responds, “Hold on Daddy, let me work with him/her.”  

— The bottom line from both parables is that God is looking for a harvest from your life.  He sows life-giving seed down inside of you.  He then sows you where He wants you.  Don’t be like the fig tree.  Don’t say, “Well, I don’t like this place.  I am the only one who looks like me around here.  I am the only Christian.  I am the only “this or that.””  At the end of the day, God expects you to bloom where you have been planted.  God knows what He is doing.  He placed a fig tree in a vineyard because He wanted the fig tree to convert the vineyard into an orchard.  God will place you somewhere you may not feel comfortable, and He will not lower His expectation of you just because He shifted your location.  He still expects you to PRODUCE a harvest because He is the Lord of the Harvest, and He placed everything inside of you that you need to grow.  He wants to see CHANGE IN YOU and then FRUIT FROM YOU!  Meditate on that as you enter this day.

Declaration of Faith

Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me!  I LEVEL UP in 2021 by giving careful attention to Your Word.  The more I get Your Word down in my heart, the more I get to know You, the more I will hear Your voice, and the more I will live a life pleasing in Your sight.  I read what You said with the intent of hearing what You are saying to me every day.  You speak, I listen, I obey, and I win!  I will bloom where You have planted me.  I won’t allow my location to negatively impact my production.  I can produce anywhere because my God is everywhere!  GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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