When I started to feel like perhaps I should maybe start thinking about possibly leaving DC, I didn't go up to some random person on the street and try to get their advice. When considering such a life changing decision, I only spoke to people that either knew me better than I know myself, or people that I know have been down the same road.
It would be a little crazy of me to ask the sales lady at The Gap what she thinks about my desire to leave my job and move back to WV. She doesn't know me. She doesn't know my situation. She is wearing a pair of skinny jeans that make me feel that perhaps good decision making isn't a part of her repertoire.
So instead, I talked to my pastor, my best friends, my parents, and other folks that I trust with my life. It is because of my relationship with them that I am able to let them speak into my life.
"When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown into his heart." Matthew 13:19God wants to be known. He is constantly sending His message to us. He is always planting seeds of truth in our lives. If even one small seed would take root and grow in our lives it would change us forever.
That sounds simple enough.
The problem is that we have an enemy. This enemy is constantly going around and trying to pluck up the seeds that God plants in our lives so that they never take root and grow.
Basically...our enemy, the devil (you may have heard of him...believe me...he's heard of you) hates us. He invented hate. He invented desception. He is the father of lies. He wants us to wither and die. He wants nothing more than for us to not know who we are and Whose we are. All he does is hate and bring death. He wants to kill the seeds of truth and knowledge in us.
MOVIE QUOTE BREAK:
In Mary Katherine Gallagher style, I feel that my feelings would be expressed via a movie line from the American movie classic, The Terminator starring Linda Hamilton and Michael Beihn:
Kyle Reese: Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.
Kyle Reese: You still don't get it, do you? He'll find her! That's what he does! That's ALL he does! You can't stop him!
END MOVIE QUOTE BREAK
I think I've made my point.
In order to grow the seeds of knowledge of the Kingdom that are planted, we need to be the soil that surrounds that truth. When you think of a seed in soil, you can visualize just how close that soil is to the seed. It surrounds it on every side, protecting and holding it. We need to be willing to get that close to people in order to form relationships that will protect the truth of God in people's lives and allow it to grow. It's also important that we keep the soil watered. Dry soil cracks and falls away. The word of God is like that fresh, life giving water that keeps the soil together and brings life to the seed.
"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11We need to connect with people whether they are Christian or not. I'm not talking about missionary friendships or missionary dating. I'm talking about for real loving people no matter what they believe. You can't love someone that you don't know. It is the love we form in relationships with each other that become that fertile soil. It is through relationships with others that we can speak the word of God into their lives and it be like a refreshing flow of living water and not a water balloon assault. The church needs to be the eyes and ears of God to a hurting world. We need to be close to people in order for them to see us walk out our lives as we follow the footsteps of Christ. If we live wonderful lives away from people, then are we really following Christ? He was surrounded by multitudes of people every where He went. He may have taken time alone in prayer, but He always came back to the people. If someone doesn't know Him, then they will be blind to His hand in their lives. We need to be able to reflect back to them what God is doing in their lives. We can't reflect God to them if we aren't there. The world is full of hardened hearts because the church isn't forming relationships with people because of fear. We fear what we don't know.
"Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law" Proverbs 29:18If people don't get a powerful, life-changing revelation of God, then they aren't going to be willing to give their life to Him. If people hear the word, but don't understand it, then it won't change their lives.
I spent so many years mocking Christians and thinking they were so ignorant and uneducated simply because I had never had a true revelation of who God really is. After I met the real Jesus, not the one I thought I knew, I was willing to give my whole life to Him. People aren't going to be willing to give up their lives for a man that had some pretty cool teachings and healed a couple of folks. The only thing that people die for is truth. Truth is something that penetrates into your soul, past all the fear and junk. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Not 'like' our neighbor. Not tell our neighbor what they want to hear. Not leave our neighbor when they don't love us back. No. He commanded us to love them. But we can't love people if we don't know them. Love is something that can't be faked. You can't truly love someone without some kind of knowledge of them. We can't love God if we don't know Him, and we can't love each other without knowing each other.
The world isn't going to meet the Way, the Truth, and the Life if the people that carry the revelation of Him aren't out there loving people and sharing the truth with them via real-life, honest to goodness, you-make-me-die-laughing, you-are-always-there-for-me-when-I-need-you relationships. This is not about pretending to like someone and being nice to them so that they can get the golden ticket to Heaven. This isn't a contest. It's not about the number of people that you get to come to church. This is about real relationships. I believe that if we change our mindset from expanding our numbers in church and start refocusing on the seeds that God has entrusted with us, then we will see the Kingdom advance more than we have ever seen.
I want to be good soil. I want people to leave my presence feeling renewed and refreshed. I want people to feel loved by me, even if we don't agree. And I want others to do the same for me. I need good soil and love just as much or more than everyone else.
I got nuthin' but love for ya baby,