When Jesus spoke, He said “Let those who have ears listen” some did—but most did not. The seed that Jesus was referring to was actually the Word of God. When God sows His Word, do you listen so it becomes planted in your heart, or do you let it go in one ear and out the other?
Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain (Mark 4:3–7 ESV).
The Lord desires for us to grow in a relationship with Him, but one vital aspect of this is to be continually in His Word. Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and my Word abides in you” (See John 15:7). The key word is ABIDE, and notice that He wants His WORD to stay within you.
>> The word abide is actually a verb, and means to stay or remain. <<
How does His Word abide in you? By letting His Word become deeply rooted IN YOU. Quite frankly, the devil comes to steal and he will steal the very word that was given to you, if it’s not cultivated in you. You cannot have God’s Word planted in you without spending time IN His Word. Faith comes by hearing—and hearing by THE WORD of God. It is not enough to just let someone preach it to you. If you want to grow in your spiritual walk with God, you have to breathe it in and absorb it. If you don’t spend a little time for yourself reading His Word, how will you know if what you are being told is the truth? How will you be able to tell the difference between full truth, and portions of truth that have been watered-down to suit the purpose of the speaker?
Read Mark 4: “The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold” (Mark 4:14–20 ESV).
Jesus is making the reference in this parable to God’s Word being sown into our hearts and the condition to which our hearts are able to receive and HOLD His Word. Have you ever read something early in the morning and thought, Wow, that really spoke to me! But later that afternoon, you cannot recall what you read? Oftentimes, we try and justify this with the rationale that we have a lot going on and a lot on our minds, so it’s hard to remember what we read many hours ago. My friend, could it possibly be that you allowed the enemy to steal it from you because it didn’t fall on softened soil? Could it be that God spoke a word to you—gave you direction and wisdom, but as soon as “life” came barging in, the enemy came and snatched it right up because His Word didn’t have a chance to be cultivated into you? If we do not guard that which is entrusted to us, then we leave the door wide open for the enemy to sweep it up without us even noticing. When that happens, what we read has done nothing for us. The simple truth is that seed sown lightly will bear NO fruit.
It is important for us to pick up our Bibles and read God’s Word for ourselves because not only will it benefit us, but others as well! A few days ago, there was a verse that I kept thinking about. I knew where it was in the Bible, but I just kept pondering it, instead of going and reading it. Then a day or two later, a friend of mine forwarded a daily verse to me, and guess what? It was the verse I had been thinking about! The next day I opened up an email of mine to see the same verse quoted! God certainly had my attention. I took some quiet time with my Bible and actually read it. But I also read before it and after it, so that I could grasp the whole concept. It was a very powerful fellowship time with God in His Word as it gave me the direction I had been praying for.
Later that night, a friend called, and I spent two and a half hours on the phone talking about an issue that had come up. My first thought was to totally side with my friend about the injustice done to her. However, I caught myself—God gave me a check in my spirit—and I found myself going more into counseling mode and slowing down. As we talked, a light bulb was blaring in my face! It dawned on me that what I had read earlier totally fit our conversation. While she was talking, I picked up my Bible and asked her to listen. I read the passage to her, and then went back over a few certain verses and read them to her again. She was silent, and then asked me, “Where is this at?” It was exactly what she needed to hear, and she wrote it down. Had I NOT read it earlier, I would not have been able to share it with her when she needed it! However, if I hadn’t read it before that day, the Word would not have been in me to recall to begin with, so that God could get my attention and speak to me, giving me (and my friend) words of wisdom!
Oftentimes, people try to play down God’s Word, or only take bits and pieces of it, but the truth is that ALL of God’s Word is Holy Inspired. The Bible (in a nutshell) was written by approximately forty different men over a period of 1,500 years! Though there are many different writers, a harmony exists that shows each were under the divine guidance of God Himself. The Bible reveals God’s plan from the very beginning—His desire to bring Himself into a relationship with us. The Old Testament speaks volumes of Christ and leads us to the very knowledge of Christ! (See Eph. 1:9–11 and Luke 24:44.) We should not disregard the Old Testament because it IS the written Word of God, and Christ came to prove that EVERY WORD of God is true and that God is faithful TO HIS WORD.
In the Old Testament, men made blood sacrifices of animals to obtain forgiveness of sin. The Old Testament was leading God’s people up to the New Testament when Christ would become the sacrifice for our sins. Because Christ died, we no longer live under this particular law, nor do we have to have a go-between person for us to speak to or hear from God. He tore the veil of separation in His Holy temple the moment Christ died. Christ Himself became our go-between, and when we accept HIM as our Lord and Savior, we have access to the very throne room ourselves! This does not mean we shouldn’t pray for other people or with other people, it just means that we don’t have to take our request to someone else, so they can get an answer for us from God.
I have often heard people say, “Well, I only read the New Testament because I’ve accepted Christ and don’t live under the Law of Moses any longer.” Though this is true to a point—we don’t live under the Law of Moses in regards to sacrifices and rituals on this side of the Cross—the Old Testament is still very vital. It contains timeless truths and treasured nuggets of wisdom for us to live by! Customs and times have changed, but NOT the Word of God. The Old Testament is filled with life-changing principles that we need to meditate on, so that God’s Word can be rooted into us.
Psalm 1 says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers” (Ps. 1:1–3 NASB). Did you know that the word law comes from the Hebrew word Torah? Torah means “law” but it also means “direction and guidance,” as well as “instructions.” The root word for Torah is yarah, which actually means to “throw or shoot.” Another interesting English translation of the word yarah is to “teach.”
And that is what the Old Testament is for us, a Book of instructions meant to teach us the ways of God and who He is that calls us into a relationship with Him. My friend, Jesus quoted Scripture when Satan tested Him in the desert (see Luke 4). However, He had to know Scripture first, and so do we. My friend, have you taken the time lately to let God plant His Word in you, so that it can take root?