The Mystery of the Word of God; The Secret of the Heart
Jesus once told a story about a farmer who sowed seed on various grounds and then revealed the meaning of the symbols of the story.
Jesus even suggested that if we are to understand all the parables he told (stories that contain mysteries about the Kingdom of God), then we must understand the meaning of the story of the sower of the seed (Mark 4:13).
To understand the meaning of the story we have to dive a little into the Greek language to get a fuller picture of what Jesus was saying. If you read through Mark 4:3-20, it becomes apparent quickly that Jesus is talking about something called "the word". In Ancient Greek, there are two words that are translated into the English word for "word". The two Greek words are pronounced "logos" and "rhema", and they have two different meanings.
Logos means "reason", "purpose" or "idea", whereas rhema means a "spoken" or "verbal" word.
In the story of the sower, Jesus used the word "logos", in this context it means "the reason, purpose or ideas" of God.
Cross Reference "Logos"
Before we dive into the story, let's take a look at where the scriptures also use the word "logos". In in chapter 1 of John's gospel, the word logos is used to describe Jesus. So we can correlate Jesus with the purpose, reason of God and ideas of God. Just as it says the word became flesh, so then Jesus is the physical manifestation of God's purpose, intent and desire: to dwell with us that we might be redeemed into relationship with God.
We also know that Jesus came by the Holy Spirit, and in Hebraic understanding, the word for voice can be considered akin to "spirit". So in Greek it is often derived that the word rhema can also mean the word of God uttered by his spirit. So the rhema word of God is the spoken word of God, which is revealed by the spirit of God. So rhema has a link between the "word" and spirit, whereas logos has a link between unspoken words, which are intent, reasoning and purpose that has not yet been made manifest, or revealed or spoken forth.
There is a significance between the purpose of God (his intent, motives and imagination) and the manifestation of his will, in deed and action through move of his spirit. Before God moves with conscious intent, to make manifest his purposes, intentions and ideas, he first forms those intentions into a will, and decides to act to make his desire manifest.
Jesus is God's manifest motive, purpose and intent
Jesus was the "lamb slain before the foundation of the world", which means before the creation of the world, God's intention and purpose was that in Jesus Christ (his purpose), we would find our perfect state of living and being, in alignment with the spirit of God, under the rule and governing of God's Kingdom, which is perfect order.
God's purpose to reconcile the world and establish perfect order of peace and good was made manifest in Jesus Christ's appearance, he is the word / logos (reason and purpose of God). Through the Holy Spirit Jesus was conceived (Luke 1:35) and so through the spirit moving the purposes of God were made manifest.
So the intentions, purposes and desires of God are made known through his Spirit.
So let's skip back to the story of the sower...
Imparted Motives and Opposition
The Holy Spirit, the "farmer" in the story, influences our heart by imparting God's desire, intentions and purposes (sows seed) into our hearts (the ground).
God's purpose and reason is that we live in a righteous way before him, in response to receiving a new life in Jesus Christ. So from his good intentions toward us, he will impart good motives full of wisdom into out heart, and influence us to make good decisions and live in a way that not only falls in line with the Kingdom of God, but advances his Kingdom in our lives and affects the lives of those around us.
There are, however, things that oppose the purposes of God being fulfilled in our lives.
Opposition of Satan
When Jesus describes Satan in the story, he uses a word derived from the Hebrew language which literally means "adversary". So when God's intentions enter our heart to move us into good thinking and decisions, influencing our hearts by the wind of heaven so to speak, other "winds", "voices" or "spirits" come to oppose the "reason of God". No wonder we are encouraged to tear down lofty arguments that arise against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5), so that we might be effective in our lives as Kingdom people.
This adversarial assault may come in the form of an evil spirit literally appearing an opposing heavenly reasoning and influence, by way of argument of lies or twisting of truth. Evil spirits, or demons, may also influence our thinking by means of spirit communication, that is whispering or causing influencing thoughts to raise against the inspired thoughts of God that Holy Spirit put into our hearts. The bible tells us there are several kinds of wisdom (James 3:15). Only one wisdom is "from above" or heavenly, inline with the purposes and desires of God.
The "word" or purpose of God that comes to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, is actually heavenly wisdom. The accuser may cause arguments in our reasoning that stand against this heavenly wisdom, trying to steal away the reasoning of God from our minds to send our thoughts on a lower rail, an Earthly wisdom as the book of James describes.
Some people may actually face evil spirits and demons, face to face when they are pressing forward into a revelation from God. Jesus gave us a model of pressing through into the purposes of God (Matthew 4:1 - 11) by knowing the truth of God and meditating on it verbally (changing the intent of God into utterance, which benefits the mind according to psychology). The secret in this practice is not in the speaking out of truth, but in choosing to reiterate God's truth and revealed wisdom to our innermost being to bring our thoughts and desires inline with the truth of God.
Opposition of Persecution
Jesus also describes trials and persecutions that arise on account of the purposes, ideas or intentions of God that are revealed into our hearts. We can become so joyful when re suddenly realise the truth of God concerning us but sometimes, when we live according to this revealed truth, persecution and trials can come in direct opposition to the "revealed way of God".
Trials are hard, persecution is even harder! I have personally faced rejection from friends, being disowned by family and being put out of church groups on account of what God has done in my life. I have also received threats of violence but thankfully I have not been physically attacked. I personally know how difficult trials and persecutions can be, not just physically taxing but also mentally and emotionally!
Note that Jesus does not tell us that this persecution is external. In the previous part of the story, Jesus said Satan (a being) came, and in the next part of the story Jesus describes external causes to obstacles, but in this part of the story, Jesus does not describe where the persecution or trials come, but only that they are on account of the purpose of God acting in the heart of the person.
As the word at this point is only in the heart, it may be reasonable to suggest these persecutions are trials are also ones faced internally in reason, emotion and spiritual capacities, as a result of trying to live in response of God's revealed purposes for them. Life can become difficult as we pursue a godly life, living "against the grain". We may have to give up old patterns of thinking and living, or consciously be faced to choose faith, homelessness and disownment by loved ones, or a warm bed and family.
I have seen people struggle because their family threatened them with disownment, homelessness and prevented them from socialising with me on account of the faith. They did not give up on the faith but they found it difficult to live in line with the full purposes of God for their life. It takes a lot to stand up under such persecution and trial.
On the other hand, I know people who have walked away from family and friends on account of faith in Jesus Christ. One was even shot several times in his back by family members because of their faith and they had to leave their country.
Sometimes having faith is Jesus is extremely costly, but the trials are not always external.
The Opposition of Concerns
The next opposing factor is anxiety and concerns caused by external pressures. We all need to live in this world, right? Yet this world can be so full of darkness, trouble and things that cause us to worry. If this anxiety takes over, we may forget the heavenly wisdom and revelation we have been shown, and try to "make it" by our own wisdom.
The deceit of wealth and riches can also wrap around the heart and strangle out the life of God's intention for our lives. Many may become affected by greed that seeps in. If the heart falls in love with wealth and riches, it becomes pierced with a certain kind of grief (1 Timothy 6:10), yet there is also a case for making money to give back into the Kingdom of God, in whatever way the Holy Spirit leads with the revealed intention. It's all about the heart's motive and intention.
Life of Abundance
Jesus makes it clear that there is another kind of soil, which he calls good soil. In Hebrew, the word for good can also mean "cause for celebration". This is the kind of soil that God can work with, bless and cause to multiply in effectiveness. Jesus describes this soil producing various amounts of crop according to what was sown: 30, 60 or 100 times. He does not make a distinction in reward between the crops yield and he does not say the yield is good but only the soil.
Jesus' concern and focus is on the heart!
God's intent is that we live a life of abundant joy that hosts the presence of God. Despite all circumstances, troubles and persecutions that may come, God's intent is that we learn how to be content in all things. To be content with his love for us, his joy in us and his presence that is always with us.
An abundant "produce of crop", which is change in attitude, thoughts, motives and deeds, from the revealed purpose of God in our heart produces a harvest of righteousness that blesses others around us, whether consciously or not. In the following stories to the sower in Mark's gospel, Jesus even references a lamp shining and its light is seen by all. When our lives are affected by the imparted revelation of God in our hearts and we live according to the revelation of God's truth, we impact the spirit realm as well as the physical.
For the Seer
The seer is perhaps more susceptible to sensing the Holy Spirit's influence on their hearts, for they can tune their senses into the spirit realm through practice of the spiritual gift. With a humble heart before the Lord, a detection of falsehood (satanic accusation) can be done with discernment of spirits and wise counsel from Christians. Sometimes the assault is so thick, we need external help from friends.
In persecution, our eyes may be blinded to the purposes of God, that in all things he longs for our good and even works for the good of his people in the face of all evil. The seer may see the reality of evil in spirit in contrast to what God is also doing. Having a long term revelation of God's will in a situation but holding onto it may prove difficult, such as the concerns and accusations of false knowledge rise up against the revealed prophecy of God's intention.
Is it any wonder then, that Jesus instructed us to pray "deliver us from evil", for the evil one, Satan, comes to steal (the word of God from our hearts), kill (the seed as it begins to grow) and destroy (any crop that is produced).
Let us keep our hearts soft before the Lord, so that in perseverance and faith in God's purpose and intentions for us as a church and for the world, we patiently and fervently pray for the advance of God's Kingdom, so that his will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.