The question of hearing and applying what is heard seems to be extremely important to Jesus. So it should be important to us, too, if we are going to experience rock-solid living in this quicksand world. Whether or not we are victorious and overcome our wounds, injuries, abuse, trauma, or sin is related to how we hear Jesus. This concept is so important that Jesus taught a parable about it, and then He explained the parable in great detail to be sure we would get it. How we hear Jesus will greatly impacts whether or not we will put into practice what we hear.
Four Ways To Hear … Or Not
Based on Matthew 13:1–9, 18–23
Back in the days when Jesus was teaching among humanity, He made it clear that He wanted rock-solid living to be a part of daily living. He also wanted you and me to experience this kind of living in the twenty-first century. Folks back then were not very different from us, and He knew that. Even though He was teaching some powerful stuff, people had to have “ears to hear” what He was saying; therefore, He pointed out four kinds of people who would encounter His kingdom teaching. Sadly, only one out of four would “get it.” I don’t know for sure, but I suspect the results are about the same today.
I hope I am not speaking to you when I say that this group will miss the eternal lifeboat entirely. Why? Because people in this group let the devil into the details…literally. In this passage, God speaks loud and clear, and the physical ears are working just fine. The hearers simply don’t understand. They are not listening. They let the Word of God evaporate in their hearing. Each has eyes but does not see. Each has ears but does not hear. Each has a heart, but the heart is simply not receptive. I suspect this is largely because this person believes only what can be actually seen. Even though God has given us all what He calls “the measure of faith,” some misunderstand because they are trying to hear the supernatural with the natural. This gives the devil an open door to snatch the Word away—not a good thing. This person’s heart never “gets it,” and has no time for such things. In this case, God’s rocksolid stepping-stones might seem like stumbling blocks.
The second group’s motto seems to be, “I can feel it.” Don’t get me wrong; emotions are neither bad nor good. It’s what you do with them that matters. The big mistake people make is when they let their emotions be their guide. Emotions are not reality. They are simply feelings, and feelings (among other things) are based on thought. You can count on it: there is a thought that corresponds to every feeling and a feeling for every thought. Do a little “stinking thinking,” and you will do some “stinking feeling” as well. The second group receives God’s Word, but these people seem to base their relationship with the Word on feeling good. The problem is that when believers are persecuted, and when they feel pain, a problem arises. Suffering is a fact of life for most people. When pain becomes a part of the mix, this kind of person simply lets it all go. I once heard of a preacher who was asked to preach at a revival. He started out saying, “Now that I’ve met Jesus, I don’t have any problems.” That is not the truth, and he will know that when he gets hit with daily living.
Problems are a fact of life. When I met Jesus, I wound up with a whole new batch of problems. What do you think happens to a person who follows Jesus for the purpose of not having problems? Initially he or she may have joy, but then, when life happens, that person becomes disillusioned and gives up. Go ahead and “feel it,” if you like. Just don’t base your spiritual journey on such a quicksand foundation. Why? The answer is this: pain and suffering will cause you to wither away from the Word, if feeling good is the foundation for your faith. When feelings are not understood in the way they were intended, they will form a stumbling block—not a stepping-stone—for your journey. True Christ followers live by faith and not by feelings.
Worrying—and/or wealth—won’t let the Word become grounded in your heart. Jesus has a lot to say to hearers in this quicksand category. Suffice it to say that both of these temptations distract from the truth. Both of these prevent the Word from becoming grounded in your heart. Being trapped by worries—or overwhelmed by having so many “toys”—keeps God’s message from really sinking in. You are too busy with the challenging “stuff” of life. The soil of your life is tossed too often to let the seed of God’s Word settle and bear fruit. If the seed is never firmly grounded, it will never grow. If it never grows, it will never bear fruit. If it never bears fruit, it can never accomplish the best for your life, nor the lives of others. I can assure you that this is not what God wants for you. His transforming power can make this stumbling block a stepping-stone for you.
The Word puts down root in the soil of your heart, and it rests there for the Creator to work life transforming creation miracles. And then—bam! Before you know it, life blossoms! Mere existence becomes real life, and the Word settles into a heart like this and produces more life, which produces more life! Life’s harvest multiplies hundreds of times; therefore, as you die to yourself in the soil of life, God’s resurrection spiritual harvest helps you to work to face the strain of life, and to overcome worry and stress. The Word simply rests in the heart, while being tended by the Creator’s Holy Spirit. Meditating on this Word, reflecting upon this Word, and being still with this Word—these things are our part. Being still and knowing (experiencing) God like this brings wonder and positive growth even when you may be struggling! Hearing the Word in this way will be the key stepping-stone to rock-solid living.
God is calling you to group number four. The purpose of this Rock-Solid Living In A Quicksand World is to give you ancient wisdom so that you will be able to trade the quicksand values for the rock solid teaching of Jesus, which is true and will set you free. Let Him take His words and transform your life to a life of freedom. Let Him grow liberty from your inside out. Don’t just let God’s word evaporate in your hearing. Don’t base your faith on how you feel. Cast all your anxieties about what you have or don’t have on Him who cares for you. Let the Word rest in you as you rest in God. Live one day at a time—by faith—through His grace, and discover rock-solid living in a quicksand world. Let Him pull you out of the muck and the mire. Then He can put you on solid footing for daily living.
God Bless You,
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