God’s will for us as believers, is to be able to live the life that Jesus Christ demonstrated while on Earth. According to Matthew 5:16, our lights should shine before men so that God may be glorified. The word “glory” in this passage refers to the essence or the fundamental meaning of something. This means that our lives should be the ‘first Bible’ that people open when they see who we are in Him [Christ]. The greatest glorification of God is seen in Jesus Christ (who was sent for our salvation), and it is for this reason that we are to portray Him in the best way possible for He is the direct reflection of God’s identity.
The salvation we receive in Christ is to be experienced in all aspects of our lives. Salvation is more than just a confession; it is holistic in the sense that everything in our lives must express it; it is one that addresses your soul, trickling down to your life, health, wealth, and other aspects. In other words, as your soul prospers, so will everything else (read 3 John 1:2). In order to truly excel and have an abundant life, we must have understanding (knowledge and wisdom) in all areas of our lives. For while we can succeed in one area of our lives and still go to heaven, a lack of understanding in another area can cost us, as the book of Hosea 4:6 states the payment of a lack of knowledge, which is perishing (in that one area).
Which results in us not enjoying the full benefit of salvation – that is, the abundant life on earth that Christ brings.
God is exalted when we gain understanding and put it into practice. To further elaborate on this, since we are to reflect who Christ is, when you’re not in Him, redemption is then a question of righteousness and sin, however when you’re in Him, it’s a matter of wisdom and foolishness. Foolishness is not a state, but rather the result of ignoring something. Therefore, the issue is not having knowledge because that is available, but it is one of ignorance. Hence, Proverbs 4:7-8 encourages getting understanding.
The Bible refers to Jesus Christ as the Light of Man with “light” referring to knowledge and understanding. As a result, Christ governs when there’s understanding for it is a revelation of who He is. In contrast, the Devil is the prince (or ruler) of darkness, in which “darkness” is synonymous with ignorance. The devil governs you while you are in ignorance and then you are therefore rendered defeated. So when it comes to wisdom and insight, Matthew 6:33 demonstrates that there is no sitting back; it is an active process. “Seek” indicates to pursue something, and “first” implies priority. As a result, the kingdom comes first, and everything you do should be for the benefit of the kingdom.
Furthermore, Christ granted the disciples understanding that others did not have in Matthew 13:11-12. This is because each time a disciple was called, they left everything behind and pursued Him.
Here we learn that certain things can never be handed to you on a silver platter because they require sacrifice. Hence the verse tells us that whoever seeks knowledge and insight, more will be given and whoever rejects it will have the ‘knowledge’ they thought they had taken away from them.
Referring back to salvation, we see in Genesis that we were formed in the image and likeness of God, which means we are primarily spiritual beings like Him. ‘Man’ is made up of three parts: flesh, spirit, and soul. The first salvation was in the spirit of man (see John 1:12-13, John 3:3-6, Romans 8:16); so when you receive Jesus, your spirit is automatically saved. In terms of the body (flesh), Philippians 3:20-21 promises that there will come a time when it will be turned into a glorious one like Christ’s, having no flaws or limitations. In other words, salvation is instant for our spirit, and there will be a period in time for our body. Now regarding the soul, it is being continually saved at every moment. This brings us to the matter of our hearts and why we should keep it prepared; because it is at the core of our souls.
As previously established, the part of our life that requires continuous salvation is our souls, which must be saved in order to display God’s glory on earth. In Matthew 13:1-17, there is a sower (Jesus Christ) distributing seed (the Word) on four distinct sorts of grounds (believers), and the results vary depending on the condition of the ground (heart posture).
The first ground represents the person who hears the Word but does not receive it (it is rejected), not because of a lack of understanding, but because of a lack of willingness. As a result, their hearts are blocked from comprehending God’s word. The devil is aware of this, and every time the Word is rejected, he takes it away so that it does not produce(read 1 Peter 5:8). The second ground represents the person who hears the Word and receives it, with a receptive heart. However, they lack the rooting of the Word. The root depends on the seed, fertile ground, and time factor. This person has the seed, and fertile ground but lacks the time factor which allows the root to grow. Psalm 91 states that words land but lack dwelling power, and consequently the Word is taken out of the person.
A time factor (patience) is required for the Word to be rooted in a person, to then make it a reality. It is important to note that without root, fruit cannot last; God wants us to move away from hopping from one place to another, seeking instant fruit because “hoppers” lack the time factor that is required for the Word to dwell in them and bring forth a life full of fruitfulness. The third ground represents the person who hears and receives the Word and has a root but is often preoccupied with life’s worries and ambitions, hindering the growth of the Word.
This lack of focus hinders the fruitful growth of the Word, as their heart is not fertile enough to allow it to grow. Despite knowing that God is a healer, deliverer, and restorer, their constant preoccupations (worries and own ambitions ) hinder their ability to internalise the truthfulness of the word. The last ground is one that represents who all Believers should aspire to become. This is the person who hears the Word, receives the Word and has a root in them. The keyword used in verse 23 is “understands” [comprehends] God’s Word. So because this person has understanding, they then bear fruit, yielding even more. This is a person who puts in the effort into the seeking and understanding of the Will of God in their lives; one who longs after God and prioritises the kingdom.
The issue is not the fruit; if the root is present, the fruit will follow; therefore, your focus should not be on bearing fruit, but on ensuring that you are rooted in God’s word. This is how you can allow the Word of God to take root in your heart:
1. Be attached to the Word by exposing yourself to the Bible.
2. Have communion with the Holy Spirit by praying for your heart before interacting with the Word of God, approaching it with an attitude to learn.
3. Continue to spend time reading the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand (see James 1:5).
4. Surround yourself with people that will help you grow in the Word of God.
5. The moment you feel like you’ve gotten the Word rooted, immediately then your heart becomes infertile; therefore, seek to long after the Word and to know more. You cannot come to a place of satisfaction; continually hear and read the Word so it bears much fruit.
With that said, there are enemies that stop the Word from being rooted in us. To begin with, it’s distractions; when it comes to God’s word, we are easily always distracted by other things. A second enemy is a lack of interest, in the sense that we have energy for everything else but not for the Word because we are not interested (this is us deliberately ignoring knowledge). Thirdly, pride; pride always shows that you are correct, erecting a deadly barrier. As a result, God will have to interfere for your eyes to open because pride is what God opposes (read James 4:6). Finally, if you carry offence in your heart (such as unforgiveness), the Word cannot take root. That is often the first thing the devil builds in us in order to choke the Word.
In conclusion, this generation should be different from the previous generations in the sense that the previous generation prioritised certain aspects of salvation while ignoring others (for example, prioritising prayer but overlooking healing). This is due to the lack of understanding of the totality of salvation. We need to be a generation that has everything, because as we follow God, we will experience all the benefits related to salvation – that also comes with the important aspect of understanding. Following God means ensuring that we are rooted in His Word, allowing Him to take root in our hearts. Finally, we must keep our hearts free of things that prevent the Word of God from growing fruit in us hence continually keeping our hearts prepared to receiving the Word of God.