The Seed, the Water and the Sun... Ingredients for a Matured Life
As we have been discussing the changes in the nation and around the world, the one thing that is staying the same is the Kingdom of God. Hebrews 13:8 states that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. This is a constant in a world that is ever changing.
Because of your confession of faith in Jesus Christ you have become part of that Kingdom and God wants you to experience the benefits of the stability that our association with Him brings. The only way this is possible is by knowing and understanding the principles for true Kingdom living.
The instability of the times is not supposed to dictate the actions of the Believer. The more we hear the Word of God, the more we will take on the character of God. The more we take on the character of God the more:
His peace becomes our peace no matter the situation
His joy becomes our joy, no matter the situation
His love becomes our love, no matter the situation
His patience becomes our patience
His gentleness becomes our gentleness
His forgiving heart becomes our forgiving heart
His kindness becomes our kindness
It's our responsibility to remain steadfast, immovable and always abounding in the love of God and the only way this is possible is if we cultivate our relationship with God as He intends for us to cultivate it.
Therefore the responsibility of every Believer is to mature or grow in our faith. There is to be no exceptions to this command from God.
One thing that you are going to be faced with at some point in your life is a challenge [temptation, test or trial] associated with living in the earth. No one is exempt and everyone must pass their own test in order to truly experience the love and grace of God.
The things that come against us as Believer's are not meant to crush us or wipe us off the face of the earth; but to allow us to see just how strong we are and how faithful God is.
James 1 NKJV
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
James 1 Message Bible
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. 3 You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. 4 So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Verse 2 reveals that everyone has tests in life that corresponds or is equivalent to their faith. This is why the Bible says "God will not allow to come on you more than you are able to bear, but will with the temptation make a way of escape. If God allows it, He knows you have inside you what it takes to overcome it.
Someone who is matured has become fully grown. They have reached a stage of mental or emotional development that is characteristic of an adult. They have reached a fully developed stage in body and mind.
This is true for people in general, however this principle also holds true in the Kingdom of God as God wants us to become "spiritually matured which has a different Source for growing up and a different gage to determine if you have.
The Source God uses for growing us up is the Word of God and the gage that He uses to determine whether we are matured is our level of obedience to what we have come to learn and know.
When it comes to someone or something growing, the maturation of it becomes natural if they are subjected to the proper environment or setting.
For instance, if you plant a flower seed in soil, give it water and sunlight, the seed doesn't have to struggle to become a flower¦ it just had to remain in place.
This principle is the same for us as Believer's as the seed is the Kingdom of God; the water is the Word of God; and the sun represents your fellowship with the Son of God on His terms and not your own.
Our responsibility is to learn how the Kingdom of God operates and line our lives up with God.
The Kingdom of God reveals certain character traits that the citizens are to have. Often in our quest to know more about God, we miss God Himself. Meaning, many people only want to learn how God operates and how to get something from Him. They have no intention of conforming their lives to what He desires.
This mindset will have to change if we are ever going to mature and fully please God. It takes living by faith and living by faith means "I am going to live like I am a child of God and not just do something because it's convenient.
To be a true subject of the kingdom that is going onto maturity, it takes growing almost "sub-consciously. The reason is because we are to be so immersed in God and pre-occupied with the things of God that living a Christian life is not something we do, but it is who we actually are. Being a Christian is not what we refer to as being "second-natured but is our primary nature.
You don't have to be reminded to pray, to fast, to love, to give, to obey, to refrain from sin and live for righteousness. These things are in your DNA as a citizen of the Kingdom and because of that you pray, fast, love, give and obey because your life has been impacted by the Spirit of God through the Word of God.
Using this principle of a seed, Jesus said in Mark 4:
26 And He said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.
What must be understood here is that Jesus is not talking about NATURAL seeds or grain, but how the Kingdom of God is to be embraced and how someone matures. He is saying that if we do our part, the seed of God's Kingdom that was placed in us when we first believed will do its part. It will happen and we do not know how.
If the principle of Genesis is correct, the reality is that the seed sown produces after its kind or what seed is sown will eventually produce the thing that was in the actual seed. This is why, apples produce apples, tomatoes¦ tomatoes, corn¦ corn, etc. Genesis 1
11 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth; and it was so.
When speaking of the Kingdom of God, we must realize that "It is in each of us as a seed that is required in order to produce true Kingdom citizens. Luke 17
20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ˜See here!' or ˜See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.
This seed of the Kingdom is to be planted in the soil of our hearts and watered; then go to sleep¦ water and then go to sleep¦ water then go to sleep¦ eventually you'll start seeing the fruit of the spirit developing in your life.
Through this seeming repetitive and uninteresting life and waiting patiently, you see a little at first, then a little more until you begin to experience the result of what He already had in the Kingdom seed that was planted in you.
It's said that the mystery of how something grows still puzzles farmers and scientists of today even with all our modern knowledge. But God's process of sowing and reaping do not fail to operate because people are ignorant about "how something is done.
This secret and mysterious growth of the kingdom in the heart and life of the Believer is the point of this parable by Mark. "When man has done his part, the actual process of growth will happen because God had decreed it even if we don't understand how it does.
So as a Believer, you have seeds of the Kingdom inside and you must do what you can to ensure that they are "protected and grow even if they have to grow alongside the tares that the enemy tries to plant.
Therefore, as Luke 17 says, you have the Kingdom of God within, now it must be nurtured and cultivated. This is where the Water of the Word of God comes in to ensure that you reach your potential and maturity.
In Ephesians 5 you have Paul giving an analogy of what the Church is to Christ, it is to be a marriage. One of the things he does is give an example of how water is metaphorically used to characterize the Word of God.
Therefore our second point is that there must be a premium placed on the importance that Scripture has in the hearts and lives of the people of God. Ephesians 5
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Hebrews 4 also says in the Message Translation
12 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon's scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. 13 Nothing and no one is impervious [resistant] to God's Word. We can't get away from it”no matter what.
If we are going to produce our greatest fruit in the Kingdom and have the life of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness and kindness in our lives, we must grow the Kingdom that is within by the Word that God gave us.
This is an ever-learning process as you can't read a Scripture and think that you received all the revelation that is associated with that Word.
Some people have used the Bible as a sense of accomplishment whereas their goal is to read through from Genesis to revelation. This is noble and good, but that alone will not guarantee your maturity. The Word must become your life. You are to read it and apply it; read it and apply it¦ as a continual, never-ending process
For water to remain fresh, it must move as "streams of water are always the freshest. If water becomes stagnant the tendency is that it becomes a place where bugs and disease will breed as in a swamp, making what is meant to be healthy, dangerous and even deadly.
This means the Word must be consistently learned. We must have a hunger for the Word of God as Job 23 says: "I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
11 My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
We must be "willing students of the Word and not fear any portion of the Scriptures that are given for reproof, rebuke, and instruction in righteousness. Second Timothy 3
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
When you willingly learn
The Word keeps you from sin as the Psalmist said, "Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
The Word will sustain you because in your deepest distress, when your Heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is Higher than I. The Rock is Jesus Christ! Psalm 61:2
The Word will be your defense and fight your battles for you¦ I Sam 17:47 "Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands
The third part of our teaching is that the seed in the soil of God's Kingdom needs water [Word] and sun [the Son] if it is going to become mature.
The Word that produces Kingdom growth is a Person and not just ink on a page¦
In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. John 1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Word being a Person dictates to us that we must have a personal relationship with Him that is based on the sincerity of our hearts and not the "letter of keeping a law.
Canned religious experiences will never bring you into the relationship that Christ desires. It's not sacrifice and offerings that God desires, but a body that was prepared for Christ because all things are meant to be done relationally through the New Covenant and not ceremonially. Hebrews 10:5
The tragedy is that people have replaced relationship with religion and doing so have stunted their spiritual growth as God intends. Religion was never God's intent for His people as a destination, but as a function of living in the earth. He described religion as a duty to be performed and not a state of spiritual life to be attained.
Pure religion and undefiled is to take care of orphans and widows while not becoming contaminated with the philosophies of the worlds system.
James 1 New Living Translation:
26 If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
A relationship with Christ that breeds maturity in the Kingdom is founded on a series of principles that are birthed in the Scriptures and cultivated in a living relationship with the Master.
The importance of reading the Word, fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters and understanding the communication process with God that we refer to as prayer can never be over emphasized.
Prayer takes the limitations off of our lives and places the responsibility to accomplish what we cannot do on our own on the shoulders of Christ.
We begin to see how He makes us worthy; we see how He causes us to always triumph in Christ Jesus; we see how the situation we face is not hopeless.
It's in prayer that we draw the strength to face another day. We make up our minds to make today count and it's in prayer with the Person that we consistently feed our faith and become settled in the fact that when this life is over, I shall live with my Master throughout eternity.
The Scriptures have been given the responsibility to bring the people of the earth to the Person of Christ so they can experience eternal life, therefore they prepare us for Kingdom living. Using them for any other purpose and losing sight of eternity in the process will leave us unfulfilled and risk the very salvation they point to. John 5 New Living Translation
39 "You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.