How Much of Kingdom-Living are You Enjoying?
How Much of Kingdom-Living are You Enjoying?
Mark 4:14-20 (NLT)
14 The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others.15 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. 16 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy.17 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 18 The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word,19 but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. 20 And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
When we received Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives, we entered into eternity with Him. Some think of entering eternity as when death comes, and life on this earth is over. But when we became born-again, “Kingdom-living” which can be described as, living an overcoming life and enjoying the peace of God (“Shalom”, which means “nothing missing, nothing broken”) – became available to us. Born-again believers should have the best health, the most provision and the best relationships with others while on this earth. That is not to say that there will be no challenges in life; it is to say that because we have “Kingdom-living” available to us, that the obstacles we encounter will not deter us nor the challenges define us. We have the opportunity to be defined by the Word of God.
At the new birth the seed of Kingdom-living was planted within us. The seed contains all that we will ever need to experience the shalom of God. Yet, most believers are not experiencing the overcoming life to the degree with which we should. Jesus gave His ALL that we might receive His ALL. In Mark 4, Jesus uses four different types of soil to explain our receptiveness to His Sacrifice and the likelihood of the seed He planted at the time of our new birth growing in our lives.
Soil #1: v 15 (see above) This verse refers to the seed falling on a footpath. Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary refers to a path as “a way beaten or trodden…or made hard” by repeated use. This could refer to two types of people. It could be referring to an unsaved person who hears the Word, but because of the hard path he has created in his life dismisses the message of the Cross and seed cannot grow. But this could also refer to the person who has received Jesus as Savior but has not made Him Lord of His life. He has just enough of Jesus to miss hell. There are many people who want to make it into heaven but are not willing to change the paths of their lives to line up with the Word.
Soil #2: v 16 This verse refers to those who have made Jesus the Savior and Lord of their lives, and they receive the Word enthusiastically. But the excitement is temporary and when challenging issues arise contrary to what the Word says, or, someone challenges their faith (persecution for the Word’s sake), their focus shifts from the Word to their circumstances and the Word is pushed aside.
Soil #3: v 18,19 This verse refers to the soil where most of the Kingdom-living seed falls. It falls on ground that is covered with thorns. The thorns represent “life” in a fallen world. The Truth of the Word is always being challenged by the “cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lust of other things entering in.” These thorns, if not countered with a growing knowledge of the Word, prevent the Kingdom-living seeds from growing.
Soil #4: v 20 This verse refers to “fertile” soil which is found in the heart of a believer whose focus is on Jesus and all that He accomplished on the Cross. When things appear contrary to the Word, this believer stands on the Word until the situation changes. When the focus is on Jesus, the harvest will be great.
Any farmer will tell you that a successful harvest depends on more than just good seed. The soil is the determining factor in the amount of harvest produced. You provide the fertile soil in your life by meditating on the goodness of God and making a quality decision that anything He asks you to do in His Word is because it will be beneficial to you in your life. His thoughts and plans are to give you a “future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) When you know and believe God is on your side, there is a mighty harvest ahead in your life!
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