Operating in the Kingdom of God
Copyright © Andrew J. Shreeve 2006
Mark 4:26-29 this passage describes the operation of the kingdom.
- A human plants seed (our part)
- There is a time delay (patience)
- The seed grows (this is God’s part)
- The human harvests the fruit (our part)
The kingdom of God operates through the method of seed time and harvest!
If we desire to experience the fruit of the kingdom, which includes divine health, we must become good at planting seed and harvesting fruit.
Even the work of the ministry is along the same principle lines (1 Corinthians 3:6-15). The following principles can apply to sowing and watering the seed in your own life or in ministry to others.
- The seed is the Word of God (Mark 4:14)
- The ground is the human heart (Mark 4:15). A human is spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The heart must include the soul (not just the spirit) because Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). Our spirit is holy and righteous (Ephesians 4:24) yet we know Christians can speak profanity. This sinful profanity comes, not from their spirit rather, from their un-renewed soul. So the human heart includes the spirit and the soul.
- For the spirit seed (John 6:63) to take root in the human spirit it must first penetrate through the soul. The soul is a filter.
- Meditation is the process of mind renewal (Romans 12:2) penetrating the hard ground on the heart (Jeremiah 23:29) authorizing the placement of the seed into our spirit (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-3)
Nurturing the Seed or Watering
Satan’s objective is to steal the seed, to cause the seed not to take root in the ground, and to choke the seed (Mark 4:15-19). Satan’s objective is to stop the seed from producing the fruit of the kingdom. There will be spiritual warfare over the growth of the seed!
- Ensure the seed is well planted. Ensure it penetrates your soul. Focus and meditate on the seed until the seed impacts your imagination, emotions, and memory. Review the words, study, and ensure understanding (v15).
- Be aware that affliction and persecution will come to cause you to offend (sin). Sin will stop the seed from taking root as sin takes our focus off the Word (v17).
- If the seed manages to take root Satan’s strategy will change to choke the Word. This is achieved by diverting our attention away from the Word, to become too busy. These cares of the world are often legitimate pursuits like making a living, the logistics of ministry, playing sports, watching TV or movies, hobbies, duties etc. If we do not give the Word priority attention it will become choked among our other activities and not bear fruit (v19).
- The seed which bears fruit is the seed which falls on good ground. Good ground is a heart which not only hears the Word but also receives the Word (Mark 4:20). Meditation of the Word is the method of receiving the Word and ensuring our heart is good ground. Meditation reads and speaks the Word out loud repeatedly which activates the eyes, voice, ears, and the will. Meditation intensely studies and emphasises each Word of each particular seed, with use of the imagination. This willing authorization of God’s Word trains and renews our soul to agree with the Word ensuring our heart is open and receptive to the seed. Our heart is honouring and loving the seed. We are in fact worshiping the Word, who is Jesus, who is God!
Harvesting the Fruit of the Seed
We are the ones who harvest the fruit of the seed. We put in the sickle. We obviously need to keep our eye on the seed and be spiritually aware of the stage of growth of our harvest.
- Harvest requires us to walk in the Spirit (John 15:5). We need to be spiritually alert. No time for sleep during the harvest.
- Harvest requires us to exercise our faith and receive (Mark 11:24). Many of us have tried to harvest without planting and nurturing the seeds of promise (2 Peter 1:4). It did not work because there can be no harvest without seed. We were not operating according to the kingdom. We were trying to harvest were we never sowed. We were operating mentally rather than spiritually and it failed to produce.
- Harvest time is easy. If we do the work of planting and nurturing the seed we will be very aware of the harvest time. It will not be difficult to exercise our faith and reap in the harvest. Part of exercising our faith to receive the harvest will be the acting out our faith through obeying the Lord. We will be at the right place at the right time doing what the Lord has called us to do. This will be the place of harvest. The Holy Spirit will gently lead us step by step. Isaac obeyed the Lord and reaped the harvest (Genesis 26:1-6, 12-14).
God’s kingdom operates according to seedtime and harvest.
To be fruitful in God’s kingdom we must develop the skill of planting, nurturing and harvesting the seed of God’s Word in our human heart, and in the hearts of those we minister to.
Bearing fruit is a process over time through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12).
There are no shortcuts. The fastest way to bear the fruit of the kingdom is daily fellowship with the Lord through meditating his Words and being sensitive and obedient to his Spirit.