11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
Gratitude is again beginning to fill my soul. It seems like it has been such a cold and dark season. Not that I haven’t still been engaged with God’s calling or attending to my responsibilities at work and home… but I haven’t been thriving; it’s been hard.
I let New Years roll right on by without even the consideration of celebration or setting resolutions which is unusual for me. I’m all about the message of renewal. In fact I recall doing a blog mid last year reflecting on how every morning should feel like New Years Day.
Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
But there has been no fire for several months. Much like the Book of Revelations and the warnings to the early churches, I was going through the motions but it was seemingly more and more clear that I was losing heart for my first love.
So this past weekend I basically went off the grid and got busy in fighting to rekindle my hunger and thirst for The Lord. I forced myself into prayer when I didn’t “feel” like it. And opened God’s word when I’d rather play an IOS game or watch Netflix. I meditated and journaled instead of going out to lunch with the guys. If I had to pick a single word to describe the weekend it would be:
And trust me when I say my efforts were opposed. Spiritual warfare is real and I believe Satan more than anything uses distractions, busyness and wondering thoughts to keep us disengaged from Holy Spirit within us who is always longing to connect to Christ and God’s Word.
External distractions such as phone calls, nagging todo lists, commotion with the neighbors. And internal distractions such as feelings of anxiety, boredom, lust, materialism…. just a relentless pull to disengage.
But I remained steadfast (mostly) and yet continued to feel anxiety all weekend, until well into Sunday evening when something clicked inside. A sense of well-being began to creep in over my soul. Not tied to anything internal or external; it felt like an awareness that God was close, that He saw my struggles and was celebrating my efforts.
And it wasn’t like I was trying to fight through a forest to find God on the other side of the trees; it was more like I was trying to break through a fog that shielded the God who was right next to me the whole time.
So what does this have to do with the parable of the sewer of seed? Thanks for asking! When I’m in “the good place” I wake at 5 am with little trouble feeling nothing more than expectation that God will lead me into His heart and Word with a message for my morning. I haven’t done that for a very long time, morning have been the hardest hitting the snooze alarm until I’m late for work.
But the last 2 days have been a renewal of that routine.
My NLT STUDY BIBLE explains this parable like this:
“Footpath” people, like many of the religious leaders, refuse to believe God’s message. “Rocky soil” people, like many in the crowds who followed Jesus, believe his message but never get around to doing anything about it. “Thorn patch” people overcome by worries and the lure of materialism, leave no room in their lives for God. “Good soil” people, in contrast to all the other groups, follow Jesus no matter what the cost.
As I reflect on why I spent so much time in darkness lately God led me directly to that parable this morning and I instantly realized that in different seasons I experience all of those states. And the reason for the veil over my soul of late has been the “thorn patch” of doubt, worry, anxiety, striving, people-pleasing, wrestles with self worth and questioning if I’m living “on task” with my purpose and calling.
These voices have incredible power to dull the sense and awareness of the Holy Spirit who resides within us. He is NEVER far away, He lives IN US!
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
In hindsight I now recognize the slow fade I’ve been doing. More Netflix and less bible. More facebook and less journaling. More ios games and less prayer. More overtime and less time for God. My priorities got bamboozled!
It feels great to blog again this morning; it’s been months! I’m less concerned about who may connect with this entry and more overjoyed that I have the desire and intentionality to start my day connecting to The Source again. Prayfully however I do hope some of my old readers are still out there. It is rewarding to know our efforts to be transparent and share God’s faithfullness in our shared Journey of Redemption can be met with a familiarity among strangers; people who can identify.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
The way out of the darkness is discipline; having the fortitude and will to stay in pursuit of God at all cost. We must fight through all the schemes of the Enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy.
So how is it with your soul this morning? Do you feel deeply connected the Source of all creation; the One who paid everything for you?
If not do you think it is He who pulled away? Is there room for more intentionality in your walk? Lord knows there was (and is) in mine.
He is faithful
Father I am incredibly grateful that you didn’t leave me in the weeds. I see now that I simply let the locusts steal what you had given me. The only life worth living is one deeply rooted, connected and relying upon You for each breath and I admit Lord I am easily distracted; and the Enemy knows that. Forgive me my trespasses and sins of apathy toward our relationship Lord. To know You are there and to worship You with my life are two very different conditions of the heart. It is cold, dark and alone trying to do it alone and I don’t even know when or how I made that fork in the road. Lead me Lord, help keep me focused and intentional not on the tasks I have to do for You, but in maintaining the relationship I have with You. I praise you in the mighty name of Jesus Christ…
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What a beautiful post to “come back” with! I needed this one tonight. Thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks Stuart, you are one of the ‘old friends’ I was thinking about :-). Prayers that you are thriving by looking more forwards than backwards in this New Year. Blessings brother!
Amen to that! Let us both keep pressing forward. Blessing to you as well brother!