Last week we talked about being able to tune out some of the noise that blocks our signal between what God is saying and what we are hearing. We looked at it from an external point of view but this week I want to look more internal.
We all love when we can tell that someone hears us, and they respond accordingly. Whether it be our spouse or our children or even coworkers, we want our message to be received. One thing that is important though is being open to receive. In Matthew 13, Jesus is giving the parable of the farmer spreading seeds. He goes on to say that some fall on the path and the birds eat it and other land on soil but there was rock beneath, and they died because they didn’t have deep roots. But the one that landed in fertile soil produced crops even more than had been planted. This passage is always used in church for two main reasons; when the church is urging people to give either more or more consistently because “You are sowing into fertile soil” or to help people have their hearts right to receive what God is saying to them. I want to look at the latter. So often we hear this scripture and think this means that on Sunday morning we need to have our heart right to hear from God through our pastor. This of course, is true, you should always come in expectation of what God is going to do in the house of God, but Sunday is one day and there are so many other opportunities to hear from God throughout the week. So how can we make our heart be receptive for what God is saying? Well let’s look at the parable again.
1. You have to make sure that the word is not intercepted. The first set of seeds were thrown on the footpath and the birds ate it. So many times, our word is getting eaten before it has time to flourish. You see, a bird to a normal person is just a bird. We don’t really interact with them, and they can’t really harm us. They may mess up your freshly washed car but by and large, they do us no harm. But for a farmer whose crops are his lively hood, and his well-being is contingent on them doing well, a simple bird can be a menace and almost an enemy of sorts. The bird is honestly just doing what he is designed to do though. It is up to the farmer to make sure that the seed reaches good soil. The thing is, we have an enemy too, ready to steal anything that God has placed on your heart. He will literally have you questioning what God has already told you. The enemy attacks you with the spirit of fear and doubt and if you aren’t guarding your seed, he will eat it right up before it even has time to sprout. Much like the farmer, you must ensure that your seed is reaching good soil and not be careless with what God says to you. What does this look like? When God tells you to do something whether it be starting a business or go get a certain degree or even something sacrificial like giving a crazy amount more above your tithe, do that thing because it is tied to a blessing. Let me add that it may not always be your blessing right away. Your obedience may be someone else’s breakthrough that they have been praying for and in turn, you are setting yourself up for something greater. So often we see our interactions with God almost like “If I do this thing, God will do this” when our mentality should be to do all that we can for God and the people of God regardless of if we receive an immediate blessing. I think that sometimes we see a need arise in our lives and we begin to think what we can do to elicit a blessing from God without even being cognizant of all the blessings you already have which brings me to number 2.
2. You must soften your heart. The second set of seeds fell on shallow soil with rock underneath it. How often do we let a hard heart disrupt our communication with God? This is not to say that we are mad with God or anything like that but sometimes we can look at our situation through a negative lens. We should look at the good in our situation and be thankful for where we are regardless of the distance from where we want to be. Let me give you an example, just recently I was preparing for finals in my courses. I had studied hard and was ready to go but that week for some reason my sons sleep schedule had gotten off and he was waking up every morning extremely early. As a matter of fact, the morning of one of my finals he woke up around 3:30-3:45 am. I was so frustrated because I know how I am when I am sleepy, and I really wanted to put my best foot forward. Well, I took my exam and did well and I returned home to do things around the house and in the midst of that, I saw a commercial for St. Jude’s. The Lord instantly convicted me because I had an attitude because my child woke up early, but I wasn’t thankful that first, he woke up and secondly, he is happy and healthy. When we look at our situation in a negative light, it will look negative but when you look at it from different angles you will truly see how blessed you are. If you are waiting to hear from God about finances and all you can see is the bills that are due, you will look past the fact that he has always been a provider. You might be worried about a bill at the house, but you forgot that God gave you the house. When you approach God with a spirit of thankfulness and gratefulness you are in a position to receive what is next.
As I close I want to share a statement that I heard one time and I don’t really remember where but it says that “ Where you are now is what you prayed for in the past” this means that as frustrating as life can be sometimes, you are walking in what you prayed for in another season and your maturity and growth in this current season is why it has become uncomfortable, God is preparing you for the next. This week remember to remove the static, guard the word God is giving you, and give the word good so soil that it can grow in your life. Have a blessed week!