When I started this blog, I wanted to break down the ‘code’ that I noticed in church (because church in & of itself is a culture with it’s own language). That’s why I named it Church Decoded. I wanted to take the sermons that we hear on Sunday, and make them…applicable (because it’s easy to shout, and harder to see it through). That’s the inspiration behind these posts: to take the sermon you hear on Sunday, and make it a little more practical. Well, today, we get back to our roots.
In Luke 8, we run into a BAD storyteller; His name is Jesus. Jesus starts telling a story about seeds. More specifically, He paints a picture of a sower that sows seeds, and tells us that the outcome of the seed depended on the soil that it landed on. Some of the seeds landed aimlessly, causing them to get trampled on. Others fell on the rocks nearby, so while they started to grow, they eventually withered. Other seeds fell among thorns, and ended up getting choked. There were a few, however that landed on good ground, and prospered immensely. Later, Jesus broke it down for the disciples. The seed is God’s word, and I wonder if we’re the soil. If we are, that would mean that all of us fall into one of these four categories. Whether you realize it or not, you’re soil, and the fruit that will come from God’s word depends on what category you fall in.
Soil #1: Wayside saints. These people hear the sermon on Sunday, but are stifled by Tuesday. Why? Life takes it away. Stress takes it away. The farther they get from Sunday, the more a sermon just becomes…a string of words. Wayside saints don’t lack power at all; I’d actually argue that their power is the reason that their hope is stifled. The enemy snatches their joy, their hope, their power….because he knows that the day that they actually believe God’s word is the day that they receive a miracle. If you, in any way, identify with the wayside soil, I want you to know that the more you hold on to GOd’s word, the more it’ll work for you. If Sunday sermons sound good on Sunday, but you’re quickly reminded of how hard life is on Monday, recognize a “snatch attack” when it starts. When the enemy tries to take God’s promises out of your heart, throw those very promises at him. After a while, your soil will start to shift.
Soil #2: Rocky saints. These people hear the word, and react to it, but they don’t remember it when they’re tested on it. It’s almost the equivalent of going to class & taking notes, & even raising your hand in class…and not recognizing one word on the exam. They know church. They know when to stand. They know when you scream “PREACH”….but they can’t tell you what the speaker preached about. They know what to wear, and when to shout…but they can’t quite remember what they were shouting about. The Bible says that the seeds that fell on the rocks failed because they lacked moisture. The seeds failed because nothing happened after they hit the ground. Nothing was done to maintain or encourage their growth. The ‘seeds’ in the lives of rocky saints fail because nothing is done beyond their presence at the weekly Sunday morning and/or Bible study service. Where’s your maintenance? When was the last time you read your Bible…by yourself? What do you do to ‘water’ your spiritual life…outside of the boundaries of your church? To be completely transparent, I know this mindset all too well. I know a lot of church kids (or church members in general) that get stuck in the tradition of church, and miss the purpose of church. I know a lot of people that are religious, and have lost track of their relationship. The issue with being a rocky saint is that you have no…substance. Your lack of fruit is exposed in times of trouble and/or temptation. How can you stop being a rocky giant? See #4.
Soil #3: Thorny saints. These people hear the sermon, but…it doesn’t really apply to them, or so they think. Or, maybe it does apply, but they just get distracted. The Bible says that the issue here is that the people hear the sermon in church on Sunday…and get caught up in everything that happens afterwards. Those that say yes to God at 11 a.m….and yes to themselves at 11 p.m.. It’s not that they don’t hear it. It’s not that they don’t deem it relevant. Sometimes, it’s just a well timed moment of weakness or distraction. The potential of thorny saints is stifled with stuff. They’re stifled because they get caught up with the things on the outside, and don’t take time to nourish what needs to be growing on the inside. The problem with this is that you spend so much time…with things that can’t keep you. So, when struggle comes, you have nothing to fight with. Maybe, it’s time to redirect your focus. We can see what happens when you focus on the distractions sent your way; don’t you want to know what would happen if you pushed towards purpose? I’ve learned that distractions come because you have a destiny, and that you’ll move towards whatever you focus on the most.
Soil #4: the Hundredfold. This…this is where we all should aim to be. I also think it’s a place where many people think they are….but they…they just aren’t. The seeds that fell on good ground sprang up and brought forth a fruit one hundredfold! That is true prosperity. It’s fruitfulness. It’s evidence. The seed produced something bigger than itself. When it was paired with the right ground, etc. the seed multiplied itself. Jesus says that these people hear the word (with a good heart), keep it, and have the patience necessary to bring forth fruit. They apply what others simply hear. They take ideas, and make them reality. The older I get, the more I see that application is the key. I grew up learning scriptures, but my life didn’t change until I applied them. I went to church every Sunday, but I didn’t grow until I integrated what I heard on Sunday into the life I lived on Monday. It has now become my prayer that I stop simply hearing the Word, and reacting emotionally, but that God’s word would take root in my life, and bring forth fruit. I literally pray that God show me how whatever the speaker says applies to my life, so that I know how to apply it, and make it real. I don’t want a catchy phrase; I want to be changed. I don’t get it right all the time, but I’m definitely a lot stronger now than I was years ago (or shoot….earlier this year). Faith, true faith, only produces when it is applied to your everyday life. That’s how you keep the Word; you practice it. You want to produce? Put it into practice.
I’ve learned that sometimes, it’s not Him….it’s us. It’s not that God is somehow unable to do it, it’s that we don’t believe it. He sowed the seed of His word; we just didn’t provide the right soil. The hope, however, lies in the fact that your soil can be improved. Don’t believe that you have to stay wherever you are. I’m a witness that if you reach out to God, He’ll reach back to you. The more you hold on to what He said, the more you’ll start to see it. He’s God enough to produce every promise. He’s sending the seed…are you ensuring that it’s landing on good soil? Basically, what I’m trying to ask you is….are you good?
Background music: Make Me New - Mali Music
Words from the Author
At the end of the day, these posts are the thoughts that run through my mind. These are the lessons I've learned. The doors that I've walked through. The path I've chosen. This is part of what it means to be me. Hopefully, it'll help you be...you. Let's grow together, kay?
Within the first year, Church Decoded was viewed over 15,000 times! FIF...TEEN....THOUSAND!....IN A YEAR! I am SO grateful to everybody that has ever read, shared, and/or liked a blog post. Ya'll have truly blown my mind. Let's keep telling (our lives) His story!