Stopping the Word

bodyguard-145447_640Mark 4:15: And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.

The word of God conveys his life, that transformative life. What happened to a seed after it is sown is nothing short of transformation. Jesus said that except a grain of seed falls to the ground it abides by itself but afterwards it bears much fruit (John 12:24).

It is sown small or almost insignificant but comes out big. Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like a seed that is sown that become a big tree for the birds of the air to build their next on it. That captures the power in the word. It makes all the difference.

Paul said that he is not afraid of the gospel of Jesus Christ because it is the power of God for salvation (Matthew 13:31-32). The word is packed with power, hence the intent of the devil to oppose it. And he does that in various ways.

Blinded heart

Paul said that the god of this world (the devil) has blinded the eyes of those who do not believe lest the light of the glorious gospel shines on it (2Corinthians 4:4), lest they understand, believe, repent, embrace it and be changed because of it (Matthew 13:13-16).

No one can escape being impacted by the light of the word when they connect to it and it liberate us from darkness. So the devil puts a veil on the heart of people, as part of the operation of the spirit of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2).

Paul said that God has given him the apostleship to the gentiles for the obedience of the faith among all nations (Romans 5:1). That is the ministry to cause faith to rise in those who hear the word. He said he is all things to all men that he might save some (1Corinthians 9:22). The word is sharper than any two-edged sword to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, speaking about its impact (Hebrews 4:12).

But the veil of the devil prevents people from paying adequate attention to word or responding appropriately to it. That is why the force of prayer needs to go forth with the word to strongly impress it on the heart for a response of repentance to be generated in any evangelism effort.

This is why Jesus said that without signs and wonders the people will not believe (John 4:48). Signs and wonder overcomes the veil on the heart to impress truth about Jesus on the heart. That is why signs and wonders are tools in the tool kit of an evangelist. Through it the heart of man that is heavily desensitised to the truth gets a shock. The display of the miraculous power wakens the heart to the reality of the gospel.

When Paul and Barnabas were to be sent forth by the Holy Spirit, to minister to the gentiles (Acts 13), it was in a time of prayer and fasting, and when they moved out they moved with the power of God, and things happened.  Their work was marked by the miraculous.

Tradition

Another influence against the word of God is tradition. Tradition is human beings speaking as if it is God. The words sound nice but are opposite to the declared word of God (Matthew 15:6).

So when human beings embrace them the indirect result is a rejection of the word of God. When people pay more attention to what man says than what God says then we have the entrenchment of tradition which removes from walking in the word, to experience its power.

Persecution

The devil sends persecution to stop the advance of the word. God the Word, Jesus, was persecuted to death, you will also be persecuted, because he is in you. He told the disciples: I am called names, Beelzebub, they say I operate by an evil spirit, they will call you worse (Matthew 10:25).

It is important that you know this so that it will not be taken by surprise. It is in that context that Jesus said that we should hate our father and mother so that when persecution comes your way concerning the word from those closest to you, you will stand (Luke 14:26). Peter says you should not be overly distracted by persecution when it comes, as if some strange things has come upon us (1Peter 4:12-16). We should take it in our strides. The writer of the book of Hebrews says that we should at Jesus, who because of persecution shed his blood, so we do not become distracted from the word, from faith, because of it (Hebrews 12:1-4).

Cares

You will be swallowed up with cares if you do not take care. There are things to be worried about if you want to be. Jesus says that cares can defeat the work of the word in our lives (Mark 4:1-22). They allow the devil to shift our eyes from the word to the world. Cares are worldly concerns, what should I eat, what should I wear, who should I marry etc. (Matthew 6:31).

Cares occupy our time, which is why Paul advised that if anyone is unmarried he should remain so, because he does not want the people to be occupied with cares that comes with being married (1Corinthians 7:32-33). Adding that he that is unmarried is concerned with things of the Lord while the married are pressured with how to please the spouse.

Rather than conclude that Paul is anti-marriage, let us understand his concern. It is your devotion to God. He does not care what you do not have as long as your devotion to Christ gets stronger by the day. If you can find a way to remain fervent for God after marriage, then it is good for him, but if not, then he wonders: “what is the point, what is the advantage,” if not to the benefit of the kingdom of God in the bearing fruit in his word? How many times have we heard that after marriage, and the issues in it, child bearing and others, people get colder in their devotion to God?

We need to deal with the pressures when they come, laying our burdens on the Lord (1Peter 5:7), knowing that he cares for us, so that we can bear the fruit of the word in our lives.

Lack of understanding

This is a big deal when it comes to the word. That means when the word comes, there is nothing for it to latch on to in us. When we come with our preconceived notion, with no respect for the medium (person communicating), we would not be able to reach out from our inside to receive the word, with a heart unable to grasp the truth and understand it.

Paul prayed that we would be given the spirit of wisdom and revelation, the eyes of our understanding being enlightened, that we may know more about spiritual things that the word communicates (Ephesians 1:15-20). He also said we need to understand what the will of God is, and it does not matter what else we understand, we would still be fools (Ephesians 5).

If we are not gaining the understanding of the word as it impacts us, then we would not bear fruit. We would be lost in the abyss of things we have heard before, but not connecting with our daily living.

If we do not approach the word with an attitude of faith then we are lost. Faith helps us to ask the question: what should change in my thinking? We should not reject the truth because it does not fit into our preformed thinking.

Faith also helps us to ask: “what I should do now because of the word, who I should become?” as we allow the word to lead us in that direction.

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