May 27th

Parable of the Sower

5"A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold." When He had said these things He cried, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
 11 "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.  Luke 8:5-8,11-15 NKJV 

I have found this parable very helpful in explaining what happens after people hear the word of God.  Unfortunately, every person who hears the word does not turn his or her heart to God.   We can take heed from the examples that Jesus gives and ensure that we provide good ground for the word to take root in our lives. 

 

Situation #1:  Satan steals the word from the heart (vs. 12).  Satan usually steals the word from our hearts by using doubt to break down our faith in what God said.  We can help prevent this from happening by removing any footholds we may have given the devil through sin.  For example, if we’re habitually looking at pornography, Satan can use that foothold to tell us that we’ll never get free of our sinful desires.  Or, he could use that foothold to convince us that there is nothing wrong with sexual sins and doubt what God’s word says about them. 

 

Another action we can take is to stand on specific Bible verses that address the areas of our weakness.  For example, a person who is attacked with fear can recite 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  Quoting scripture is how Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations in the wilderness (Luke 4).  (more verses)

 

Some people experience a “blocking” that occurs when they try to read the word.  They have difficulty understanding it and easily get confused.  This may be a demonic blocking that is occurring where Satan or another evil spirit trying to prevent the person from understanding the word.   People in that situation can take authority over any blocking spirits, bind them and rebuke them.  An example statement to say is, “In the name of Jesus Christ I bind every evil spirit that is blocking my reading and understanding of the Bible.  I rebuke you and send you to Jesus right now.  I loose wisdom and understanding in my mind right now.  I have the mind of Christ.” 

 

Situation #2:  Lack of Root  (vs.13).  People who lack spiritual roots receive the word with joy and believe for awhile. When temptations come, they fall away.  To combat this, people must take action to rebuild their spiritual root system.  Strong, healthy roots are grown through a close relationship with God that is cultivated daily with prayer, Bible study, and worship.  The traditional “Quiet Time” is a great way to do this. 

 

Also, being plugged in to a good church can really help in this process, because we are all part of the body of Christ and are designed to stick together against the enemy.  When we isolate ourselves from other Christians, we’re in danger of falling victim to the enemy, who roams around like a hungry lion looking for who he may devour.  Its those who are separated from the pack that usually fall prey to the lions.  

 

Situation #3:  Choked with cares, riches and pleasures of life (vs. 14).  Many of us live in societies that are drunk with pleasure and the pursuit of riches.   It’s easy to get lulled into the pursuit of money, pleasure or power because those things appeal to our human nature.   Fighting off the “choke syndrome” requires that we be very careful about where we are investing our time and what we are filling our eyes and ears with.  We have been sanctified in Christ for God. That means that we are set apart for special work for his kingdom.  We must take care that our entertainment habits and the friends we hang out with don’t corrupt our commitment to Christ.  Setting boundaries in these areas can be challenging and even painful. Jesus likened the cares of the world to thorns, perhaps because it would be painful to confront them.

 

This perhaps is the most difficult situation we could face, because the choking can happen very slowly and subtly.  Like a Boa Constrictor, the worldly desires can slowly wrap themselves around us.  By the time we realize that they have a death grip on us, we may not be able to break free on our own.  Thankfully, through Christ, we have the power to break free from any bondage of the world.  If you are in this situation, you can pray that God will show you what thorns in your life need to be weeded out and in what order.  Then, take action on what the Lord reveals to you. 

 

The final situation is where the people received the Lord with a “noble and good heart,” kept it and bore “fruit with patience.”  I pray that this will be your aim in life….to be of noble, good heart, to keep the Word and bear fruit for God with patience.   Like growing a garden, it takes time to grow healthy, fruitful plants.   Gardens have to be weeded regularly, watered and cultivated.  Likewise, your spiritual walk with God will require your daily effort and patience. The result will be a plentiful harvest of good fruits, pleasing to you and God!

 

Questions for further thought:

 

Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, thank you for the parable of the sower.  Lord, I want to be a person with a noble and good heart.  I want to keep the word and bear fruit for your kingdom.  Please help me to make the changes in my life that will bolster that process.  If I’m being choked by anything, please bring it to my attention and help me to remove it from my life.  If I’ve allowed sin to harden the ground of my heart, please lead me in breaking up that ground through repentance.  Thank you, Jesus!  In your name I pray, Amen.”