The Planting of the Lord
It was recently the season for planting crops in Canada and the Lord has been speaking about His planting in our lives. Just like there is a process in natural planting, there is a parallel process in spiritual planting. To receive a good crop from the earth, the soil, the sower, and the place the seed is planted all need to be considered. So, it is in the spirit. Our hearts are the soil. The Lord is the Sower and where we are planted determines the harvest. Let’s look to the Word to discover some tips for success in our spiritual crops.
Types of Soil
Mark chapter four is the “go to” scripture to discover Jesus’ teaching on sowing and reaping. He says that understanding this basic teaching is the doorway to understanding all His guidance. The first part of the chapter is the parable, and the second part is the explanation. The seed is the Word of God. The Sower is the Lord and sometimes us, in partnership with Him, and the soil is the heart of man.
In His explanation Jesus identifies four types of soil. The first type is identified as “the wayside” which we may call the casual Christian. They hear the Word but immediately the enemy uses thoughts, imaginations, circumstances, and situations to steal the Word so nothing comes of it.
The second type is called “stony ground” which we may call the immature Christian. They hear the Word and receive it gladly but because there is no strength and character in them spiritually, the Word doesn’t root in, so it dies after a short time, and they become offended. Persecution and tribulation come to everyone just like storms come to the crops sown in the earth. Holding on to the truth of the Word during those times is what causes strength to be built so a harvest can be reached.
The third type is identified as “thorny ground” which we may call the distracted Christian. Keeping Jesus as #1, giving Him first place, submitting to His Lordship is part of the journey of the Christian walk. It is easy for the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things to enter in which chokes the Word in us. We are paddling upstream against the currents of the world, culture, and our own hurts and traumas. When we first turn the boat around (get saved) it is hard work to paddle but as we keep at it, we develop strength and begin to paddle faster. Although we may experience turbulence along the way. the longer and faster we are moving holds us steady and on course.
The fourth type is identified as “good ground” which we may call the growing Christian. They hear the Word, accept it and bear fruit from it. From this soil can come three sizes of yield. These are revealed in percentages – 30, 60, 100 or 1/3, 2/3 or total harvest. We all want to have the full manifestation of the Word in us but sometimes we need to keep sowing and reaping until that is achieved. Walk in grace with yourself and don’t give up. If we don’t quit on God, ourselves, and His Word, we will reap what is sown in our hearts.
It is good to have plans, set goals and work toward them. God is the ultimate planner. He plays three-dimensional chess in our lives by developing us, seeing into us, and planning the course for success He has for us. The best course is the one where we are working in harmony with what He has for us. The worst course is where we take charge and make decisions and choices that exclude Him. Proverbs gives us the template for the best plan. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” He doesn’t want to control us, be a dictator or make us carbon copies of each other. Jeremiah lets us know what He thinks. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Let’s let Him be the Sower in our lives. He knows what we need before we ask. He knows how much we can handle. He knows the outcome of partnership with Him.
The Planting of the Lord
When we allow ourselves to become the planting of the Lord Isaiah tells us that we will become trees of righteousness. It may involve receiving consolation, beauty for ashes, joy for mourning and praise for heaviness but the outcome is right standing with God, and He will be glorified. When we are planted in the life-giving flow of the Holy Spirit, Psalms tells us that “we will be like a tree that brings forth fruit in its season, our leaves will not wither and whatever we do will prosper.” Notice that there is a season for fruitfulness. It takes time to grow a harvest and it takes time for spiritual success. The promise is that our crop will not wither, fail, or die because we are in Him. John describes it as abiding in the vine. He is the vine we are the branches. The branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, and we cannot bear fruit unless we connect with Him. Finally, the truth is that whatever we do will prosper. What a promise.
Where to Plant
A farmer plants his seed in the best spots on his land. He avoids bogy places where the seed will drown. He avoids desert places where the seed will shrivel up. He avoids rocky places where there is little or no earth for the seed to grow in. Spiritually, Psalms gives us a hint where we are to be planted. “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord will flourish in the courts of our God.”
The house of the Lord has always been the local church. In Bible times it was the temple. The church is a place for learning, for relationships and support, for spiritual help, for being equipped. It’s a place to develop Christian morals and values. It’s a place to meet with God and experience His presence. It’s the starting point for spiritual growth.
If our connection with God only happens for two hours on Sunday, we may end up with a casual Christian walk. If our only connection with the church is to get something for myself, we may end up with an immature Christian walk. If our only connection to the church is to judge others and be judged, we will end up offended and have a distracted Christian walk. We can grow past all those ways by growing in the Word. A recent study was published about people who engaged with the Word. Those who did so four times a week had significant results in issues they were facing: Feelings of loneliness dropped 30%; Anger issues dropped 32%; Bitterness in relationships dropped 40%; Alcoholism dropped 57%; Sex outside of marriage dropped 68%; Feeling spiritually stagnant dropped 60%; Viewing pornography dropped 61%; Sharing your faith jumped 200%; Discipling others jumped 230%. The Word works. When we prepare our hearts, look to the Lord as our Sower, be the planting of the Lord, and be planted in His house, we are doing all we can to have a good harvest of the Word in our lives. Let’s choose to keep growing spiritually. Heaven is our home, but we can have His Kingdom here in our lives, our families, our churches, and our nation. Thank you for spending time with me and remember, God has something good for you today.
Mark 4:1-20; Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 29:11; Isaiah 61:3; Psalm 1:3; John 15:4-5; Psalm 92:13; Understanding the Bible Engagement Challenge “The Study of Four”