Preserving a Powerful Work of God
When my three girls were young we lived in Springfield, Oregon. We liked to collect maple seeds from the ground, bag them up and take them to Kelly Butte which overlooks Springfield and Eugene. On top of that butte my daughters and I would repeatedly throw the seeds over the edge of the cliff one seed at a time. We would then watch with amazement as the seeds hovered in the air like helicopters making their slow descent. Unlike a rock, which drops straight down, unaffected by the wind, the maple seed hangs suspended in the air as it spins. The wind has the ability to carry it in whatever direction it is blowing.
I see the contrast of the maple seed and the rock as a picture of what can happen to us as the Spirit of God moves powerfully in our midst. We can be like a rock largely unaffected by the wind of the Spirit or we can be like the maple seed: fully available to the Spirit and at His disposal, resulting in the course of our life being significantly changed.
A question worth asking yourself is this: How can I be more like a maple seed and less like a rock? How can I let the wind of the Holy Spirit have its full and lasting effect on me when it blows?
After longing for revival for many years God granted the desire of my heart and enabled me to experience a “move of God” in my life, in the life our church and beyond. I was certain it would spread and become far reaching, believing it would have a major impact on our community and a lasting effect on our local body of Christ. When that didn’t happen I was greatly disappointed and I struggled to understand why people who had gotten on fire for the Lord had backslidden. Then I came across a Scripture passage that seemed to accurately describe what had happened.
In the parable of the seed and sower, the farmer sows seed on four different types of soil. The farmer’s sowing represents the Word of God being proclaimed. The four different types of soil represent the human heart and its receptivity to the Word. As you read the parable and Jesus’ interpretation of it, note the details of the second and third types of soil:
Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.
He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.
But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.
Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times”
Jesus interpreted his parable this way:
“The farmer sows the word.
Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.
But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;
but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown”
It was the second and third type of soil that explains what went wrong in our situation and caused people’s spiritual decline. In my next few blogs, I’ll take a closer look at the second type of soil that describes shallow ground in which plants were sun-scorched because they had no root. This describes people who are unable to cope with trouble or persecution due to their insufficient root system. In short, the Word is not dwelling richly in them.
What I observed among some of the people who were not able to sustain the work that God had begun in them was that they had a faulty worldview, one not adequately grounded in Scripture. As a result, the trials and tests that came their way were too much for them.
Can any of us expect to thrive in our Christian walk without viewing life from the perspective God has revealed in His Word? God’s ways are far different than ours. His Word, and His Word alone, equips us to view our lives from a proper point of view. A thoroughly biblical outlook on life is necessary if we are to continue the spiritual growth that God accelerates during seasons in which He moves in revival-like power.
Copyright Ed Skipper 2013