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A Connected Heart
Praise the Lord! This is the month that leads us into summer and for us in central California it gets HOT! In fact, I remember once hearing on the news that Death Valley, which is about 3 hours from where I live is the hottest place on earth. The temperatures consistently reach 134 ° Fahrenheit. But as a child of God we should expect extreme temperatures in the power of the Spirit all the time.
God has created us to reflect His glory in the earth! We discover in the Bible that there is absolutely no darkness in God. Did you know that there is darkness in the sun? As brilliant of a light and as bright as the sun shines there are still dark spots in it. But not with God! This purity of light should mean something to us since we are to reflect this light in the earth.
As Christians, our ability to succeed is in our hearing God and following God. If we hear what God is saying and follow what God is saying, we shall be triumphant in every single aspect of our lives!
I remember being in a particular person home one time and having them tell how God had spoke to them and told them not to work. They proclaimed that God told them not to work because He was their source and God would supply all their needs (Phil. 4:19). Immediately I knew this was not God because the Word of God clearly states that we are to work (1 Tim. 5:8). Knowing the character traits of this person it was obvious they were just looking for an excuse to be lazy. Several months latter it was very clear that what they heard was the laziness of their flesh and not God. Their home was now in foreclosure, they were on welfare to get food, and they were in a position that they did not know what they were going to do. Shortly thereafter this couple went out and got a job. There is no possible way of living in complete victory apart from what God has established in His Word, yet many Christians endeavor to do this.
In Mark 4 we find the very popular parable of the sower. We know from Jesus' explanation that the seed in this parable is the Word and the ground is the heart of man (verses 14 & 15). Therefore, let's look at the first condition of Jesus' parable:
Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: (4) And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. (Mark 4:3-4 - KJV)
I want you to notice the words that I have emphasized. The Word came, but it fell on the “way side”. What is this way side? In the illustration that Jesus is describing He paints a picture of a plot of land that a person is sowing seed into. In the course of this persons sowing he comes across all types of ground which represents the different conditions of the heart of man. Within that plot of ground he sows into stony ground, in another area the seed is sown shallow and has no depth, but here he illustrates that some of the seed is sown on the road adjacent to the plot of ground. This portion of ground is not part of the plot of land that is being cultivated, but is close enough that it also receives the Word.
This illustration Jesus is speaking of is when the heart of a man or woman is not connected. They are close enough that the Word will come to them, but they actually are not part of the plot being cultivated. This is a very dangerous and deceiving place to be because scripture clearly states that when the Word does come to them it is quickly devoured. For the Word of God to make this distinction then we must realize that there are people with hearts in this condition. But how does one get this way?
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus states that He is going to build a Church that the gates of hell cannot prevail against. This word “Church” in the Greek is the word, “ekklesia (ek-klay-see'-ah)” which is compound word. If you study this word from the Greek in it's compound form you will see that it denotes a gathering together from whence action or motion proceeds. It is the idea of an assembly that has come together in unity to be equipped with the Word of God so that they can infiltrate a dark world with the light of the gospel. This is the picture of what the Church should be, an equipping station so that believers can manifest the gospel to the lost.
Unfortunately in the day and time we live in many forsake the assembling of themselves together (Heb. 10:25) and have allowed their hearts to become “way side” ground. They are now in a position that when the Word of God comes it gets devoured before they see the harvest.
Unfortunately, this is a dynamic impact that has taken place on the American culture. According to Barna Research in March 2005 they found that more people use Christian media than attend churches. This number only grows worse as time marches on. This is a phenomenal statistic that shows how many do not consider the things spoken by the Holy Spirit as important. Many times when a Pastor starts speaking about church attendance and/or involvement in the church people assume that this Pastor is just wanting a bigger crowd. But actually, assembling together was God's idea not Pastors. In May 2004 Barna Research determined that the number of unchurched people had doubled since 1991 and according to a March 2005 research the number of unchurched people was one in three adults in America.
This is why Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Tim. 3:7) by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that there are those who are ever learning, but are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. They tap into Christian media by watching TV, reading books, and listening to tapes. All of these are good things in their place, but absent from the plan of God it is just educating the mind because the truth of that Word gets devoured according to Mark 4.
God has a plan for His people to reflect His glory in the earth. That plan very specifically calls for His people to be a body that is fully connect, in submission one to the other, and supplying one another that which is needed. This plan of God is for ministers and ministries also.
I have used the statement many times that there are no Lone Rangers in the Body of Christ. The Lone Ranger was a television personality who rode around doing good and saving people from distresses, but did everything on his own. This is not God's system and it is not the truth of the Word that we find.
If we are ever going to fully reflect the power of Christ and see His purpose manifested in our lives, we are going to have to become one in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Eph. 4:13).
God has a plan that will allow us to live in victory in every situation that we find ourselves in, but we must become part of His design. Remember, if it is God it will always work!