Sunday, May 20, 2012

Singing His Praises Sunday #1

“But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest…” Matt. 13: 29-30

This parable was about the end times, but just like many parables that Jesus spoke, this one has more than one benefit to our lives. This parable pierced my heart this morning after an especially hard day. You see, I was extremely unloving toward a very special person to me—my husband. I was unkind and rude and extremely insensitive.

I knew that I had allowed flesh to overtake Spirit, which is a really pleasant way of saying I fell into sin! When I woke up the next morning, after about two weeks of solid bible study and prayer time with God, I sat unable to read my bible. I felt separated from God and didn’t feel worthy to hit ‘play’ on my iPad and let those beautiful words wash over me. All I could say in prayer was “God, what should I do?”

The parable of the Wheat and The Tares sprang to mind and I meditated on it for a few minutes. You see, in the parable, this field, a good field, is planted by a good farmer, and an enemy comes and throws bad seeds into the farmer’s garden and they begin to grow. One of the workers sees that these weeds are intertwined with the crops and asks if he should rip them out. Oh no, the wise farmer warns, if you do that, you may rip out the good crops with them. Wait until my crops are fully mature and then you can rip them out.

I saw it. Did you? God was speaking to my heart about what he wanted me to do. I felt so guilty and yucky about what I had done that I had a hard time coming back to the Words that bring life. But God was letting me know that it was okay to go ahead and tend the good garden, too. Don’t abandon your good garden just because some weeds get in there! Don’t stop reading the words of life just because sin crept in.

Yes, they are mixed and it is not perfect. This crop that is our lives is mixed-good seeds and bad. There are really good things growing in our souls, but just like the enemy sowed bad seeds into this good garden, the enemy also sows bad thoughts into our minds. Some of them take root and maybe for a time in our lives a lot take root! Maybe our garden is taken over by weeds. Maybe we feel like abandoning this garden and starting over but we can’t! This is the only plot of land we have and will ever have. Just like we only have one body; we also only have one mind. That mind is ours for the long-haul.

So, what do we do if our garden is overflowing with weeds? The worst thing we can do is just let things happen however they will happen. But, here’s the thing. Stop focusing on the weeds! If you focus all of your attention on getting weeds out, just like the worker was tempted to do, you may pull out a whole bunch of good plants as well! Focus on the good seeds and plants.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4: 8

Keep your focus on the cross. Even when it feels unnatural and you feel so unworthy, open that bible (or iPad in my case), and allow the good seeds of God to be thrown many at a time into your mind. Many will be eaten by the weeds, many will be bird food, but a few (and just the one’s God knows you need) will take root. Focus all of your attention there! Tend it, water it, feed it, and protect it. And then what happens?

Those roots start overtaking the weeds. God’s words in your heart will change your life even while still living in sin!! They will take root and you’ll start seeing inconsistency. But, seemingly without effort, your heart starts to purify and you become more like Christ.

But, you may say, I have a hopeless heart! My life is so far gone that there is no hope.

Let me encourage you with another seed parable, briefly.

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” –Matt. 13: 31-32

Several years ago I was meditating on this parable and asking, “God, why a mustard seed? Why is that so important?”

The answer came when my husband’s aunt was sweeping her porch and I was sitting there watching her. She said something along these lines, “Ugh. I just hate these little seeds. I have to sweep almost every morning because if I don’t, they will take root in these cracks.” I sat up and paid attention asking her a few questions. “Oh yes,” she said. “The smaller the seed, the more dangerous it is to rocks. If I allow that little seed to grow, it can eventually crack this rock in two.”

Ah! The answer. The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, able to sink in to the hardest of hearts, the hopeless of all, the toughest of people, and break through!

No matter how far gone you think you are, God can find the tiniest crack in your rock hard heart. If you will allow the seeds of God’s Word to wash over you like a shower of seeds on a windy day, one will find it’s way in. Keep reading…another. Come back the next day…another. Then one day, you begin to feel a cracking in your heart. It hurts. Keep going. Another and another. And one day, without expecting it to be when it happens, you see a change in your heart and eventually your behavior.

I cannot in my own strength uproot even one sin. Why then, should I sit in my recliner focusing on that bad thing I’ve done, wishing and worrying that I could change it. I can’t. Instead, God is teaching me to turn my focus on Him. Pray and tell Him you’re sorry, yes. But don’t let that sin become a depressing anchor in your life that keeps you from the Words that could change you!! Let the Words of Life wash over you and just sit and listen intently. And allow God to choose this day what sinks in and takes root.

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