Great Faith, Part 3
I’m not sure if Spring has sprung where you are, but it is late April where I am and we are still having snow in the forecast! This is not exactly the best weather for planting your garden. However, what might be true in the natural world doesn’t always apply to the spiritual world. It may not be ideal weather for planting a garden but it is always the right time to plant a seed of faith!
The focus of the previous post was to present the principle of faith as a seed that is given to everyone. This seed contains everything necessary for growing great faith if it is planted in and under the right conditions. To understand this process, a simple comparison to natural farming will uncover a world of potential power to live just as Jesus did during His time on our planet. Our first stop on this journey is into the realm of the unseen.
What is unseen in the spiritual world is actually more real than the seen in the material world and therefore has more power to influence the outcome of any manifestation we eventually see. There are laws in each realm that must be understood and followed if the desired results are ever to be realized. All of these laws are written or coded into the fabric and fiber of every created thing - seen or unseen. These laws work in concert with one another and build on each other, creating an amazingly beautiful and balanced, harmoniously synchronized dance of creation that only a God of infinite creativity and unfathomable wisdom and knowledge could have ever designed and activated.
The laws in the natural world that govern our existence must be understood and respected if life is to thrive and grow. The elementary or foundational laws are the stepping stones to enacting the higher, more exciting laws. For example, in order for man’s desire and quest to fly to become a reality, the laws that govern the physics of flight must be understood. We can’t get off the ground and stay off the ground unless the foundational law of gravity is factored into the science. Once this is done, the laws of thrust and aeronautics come into play and an airplane weighing in at over ONE MILLION pounds can sail smoothly through the sky at over 30,000 feet above the earth!
The results of bad science or disregarding the nature of the laws at play can have a devastating effect. If this is true for physical laws, does it hold true for spiritual laws? Consider the following scripture:
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. [Rom 8:2 NASB]
There are laws in the unseen world (spirit) that are real. And if they are real, understanding and respecting them is a necessary first step to gaining any benefit from them. The verse above states that the law of the spirit is the path of life and the law of sin is the path of death. These laws are not referring only to physical life and death, they are applied to spiritual (eternal) life and death. Bad science or disregarding spiritual laws can have eternally devastating effects! God has given humans an amazing capacity through the working of our brains to figure out how to benefit from natural laws. God, in His amazing love for humanity, has also given us His Spirit to understand how spiritual laws work and how to benefit from living by them.
For who among men knows the [thoughts] of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the [thoughts] of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God. [1 Co 2:11-12 NASB emphasis added]
If we accept the fact that spiritual laws are established and will not change, let’s apply this principle to our topic at hand - developing Great Faith. We have already established in previous posts that God gives us faith (the ability to believe) in the form of a seed. It stands to reason then that there must be spiritual laws that govern the seed-to-manifestation process just as there are in the natural world. God spoke this truth over the earth: "As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" [Gen 8:22 NIV]. If there is seed-time and harvest in the physical world then there is seed-time and harvest in the spiritual world. What is true in the natural realm has a corresponding truth in the spiritual world. Jesus used this principle in almost all of His teachings about the Kingdom of God. We call them parables. He would describe a natural event and then compare that to spiritual realities.
Perhaps one of the most familiar of all Jesus’ teachings is the parable of the sower described in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke). The main characters in the analogy are the sower (Jesus), the seed (the Word of God), and the soil (the condition of the human heart). Jesus lays out the spiritual law of seed time and harvest with the backdrop farming, which if done properly, should bring forth a harvest represented by the type of seed that was sown. In this analogy the process to go from seed to harvest is woven into the parable and the hope is that if one understands the natural process they will be able to apply the same process to the spiritual. However, when Jesus first spoke this to His disciples, they didn’t get it! Maybe it was because most of them were fishermen?
Then Jesus said to them, "If you can't understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables?” [Mar 4:13 NLT]
What Jesus is saying is that the law of seed-time and harvest is the foundational spiritual law that governs how faith works. Understanding the principles and the process will produce a harvest that is representative of the seed that was sown. So, just in case there are any fishermen among us, let’s lay out the planting instructions using the natural process to guide the spiritual process.
In the natural world, there is a proper time to sow that is determined by the weather and the needs of the seed. We call this a growing season. Sow out of season and reap no harvest. In the spiritual world, it is always growing season! Jesus is always sowing His seed into the hearts of humanity. The day of salvation is everyday. It is always like Springtime in the Kingdom. So we never have to wait for the right time to receive the Word of God. Now is the time!
If the sower is always sowing, is the seed always ready for growing? In nature, seeds have all the genetic material (DNA) necessary to produce the expected fruit. Seeds can lay dormant for thousands of years and if planted in the right conditions will still produce fruit. If you purchase a package of seeds you will have instructions for growing on one side and a picture of what the seed will look like after it is fully grown on the other side. The expectation is that if the seed is planted and tended according to the instructions, we should, at the proper time, have a plant that looks just like the one in the picture. I don’t have to fully understand how the seed turns into a plant in order to reap a harvest. I just need to trust the seed and follow the instructions!
Just consider the miracle of the seed. One tiny apple seed is endowed with all the genetic coding and supporting infrastructure to produce a tree containing enough apples with identical seeds in them to eventually produce an infinite number of trees and apples. Seeds contain unlimited potential! Think about how this applies to the spiritual realities of God’s realm. In the natural world we have thousands, if not millions of seeds each producing after their own kind. But, can you imagine one seed that contains all of God’s truth, that if planted and tended can produce a life that is representative of what is contained in that one seed?
In Jesus’ explanation of the parable of the sower to His disciples, He states that the seed (that is sown) is the Word of God. The word chosen by God to describe this truth is the word, Logos (Greek translated as “word”). This is not just referring to a single word or a series of sayings, but embodies the idea that this “seed” contains all of God’s thoughts and intentions bundled into one package that has the potential to reproduce all of God’s truth in one amazing plant that represents the image of God, Himself! Is there such a seed?
John’s gospel cracks wide open an amazing revelation of what this word, Logos, really means. John states that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” [Jhn 1:1 NASB]. The “Word” and God are one and the same. The Word is God presented in the form of a seed. If we continue to read in John 1, we see this, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” [Jhn 1:1, 14 NASB].
This is such a powerful truth. God, packaged all of Who He is, all of His power and greatness, into one human life, Jesus, His only begotten. The word begotten literally means to be generated from or the only authentic, one of a kind, reproduction of the original. In other words, Jesus is God in human form! Now as amazing as this is, Jesus also said of Himself that He was not only the begotten of the Father (the Father in the flesh), He also called Himself the seed that had to fall into the earth and die in order to be the first fruits of many more of the SAME KIND (John 12:24). Jesus, the very Seed of God, is the Seed in the parable of the Sower. Jesus sowed His own life into the soil. What happens next depends on the condition of the soil!
So, stay tuned, and tune in!
by Pastor Jim Anan