The Incorruptible Seed: Harvesting God’s Word in Your Life
The picture you see above is the first sprout of a new tree. I want you to look at it for a moment and consider its potential. What you see here could easily be mistaken for a weed were it not properly recognized. Consider how humble, tender and vulnerable it really is – and how majestic, strong, and unshakable it will become once it’s planted in the right soil.
Sometimes we wonder why God can speak things into our lives and we don’t see immediate results. Do you recognize the seed God is planting, or has planted within your heart? Do you know what to anticipate and how to nurture that seed unto fruition?
In this post I’m going to discuss how you can conceive the word of God in your life that will yield the fruitful harvest He intends.
The Rule and Power of the Seed
The manner by which God creates and reproduces in our lives is profound. Every living thing He created has been given a seed that will reproduce after its own kind. If you plant an apple seed – you’re going to get an apple tree. If you plant a pine cone, you’re going to get a pine tree. If you plant an acorn, you’re going to get an oak tree. The seed will always produce after its own kind. And so our expectations must be that when God plants His word in our hearts, it will produce after its kind – meaning it will produce precisely what God desires just as Isaiah 55:11 (KJV) says, “it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” It can’t do anything less or different.
And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body, (1 Corinthians 15:38, KJV).
THE RULE OF THE SEED IS THIS:
They will always reproduce after their own kind.
THE POWER OF THE SEED IS THIS:
They will always multiply once maturity is reached.
See Genesis 1:11-12 and 26-28
God commanded a blessing to us to “be fruitful and multiply”. That command has not changed. Jesus Christ left His disciples a clear command before His crucifixion when He said this:
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples, (John 15:7-8, KJV).
God desires us to be fruitful. However, that fruitfulness is dependent upon whether or not we abide in Him and His words abide in us. What is blessed of God will always multiply.
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the LORD endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you, (1 Peter 1:23-25, KJV).
The eternal Word of God, as the incorruptible seed, produces after its own kind. We are all born from the seed of Adam physically. We are born again from the seed of Jesus Christ spiritually, who is the second Adam, (see 1 Corinthians 15:38-49). As human beings created in God’s image, who are born again by the seed of God’s eternal word, we also have the ability to conceive His Word in our hearts and reproduce after its kind, which means manifesting the things of God upon the earth. We are told we have this treasure in earthen vessels. When God plants His word in our hearts it’s for a defined purpose, and therefore a sure harvest is anticipated. However, when we don’t understand the process by which that seed grows and matures in our lives, the soil of our hearts may fail that seed’s potential, and we can easily become discouraged and disheartened when we don’t see the growth or harvest manifest as desired.
In our culture we focus on the end product and the quickest most efficient way to obtain it. In doing that, we often compromise the end result, because the greatest things take time to manufacture. It’s no surprise that things no longer last and that quality is poor. This mentality extends to our spiritual lives as well: we are focused on the end product; the end result; the final destination. But God doesn’t hand us the end product. He gives us seeds.
We make a grave mistake in searching for the harvest when God is planting a seed. We’re going to be disappointed if we expect an overnight delivery. That’s not how God works. The greatest things God does in our lives take great time and care to produce. He’s not going to give you things of great eternal value and worth which you’re not prepared to handle. He knows they will slip right through your fingers. There is nothing more painful than losing something precious because you did not possess the maturity, skills or ability to steward it properly. Instead he’ll give you a seed of exponential power and potential, plant it in your heart, and water it patiently with His word as He teaches you how to prepare for His harvest. If the soil of your heart is fertile, it’s capable of producing that great harvest. If it’s not fertile, that seed can be lost or stolen. Let’s understand that it’s never God seed that fails. It will always bear the eternal fruit He desires when it’s given the proper soil and conditions whereby it can grow, mature, and yield its produce. On the contrary, it’s the condition of our hearts that will determine whether or not that seed is successful.
God does not hand out the end product.
He gives us seeds.
We need to learn God’s ways. When He gives us seeds He also desires to teach us how to nurture them. Nurturing the seed of God requires cultivating a specific soil if it’s going to come to maturity and bring forth fruit. Let’s talk about the seed for a moment, and the inherent power within it. That power is not unleashed or realized unless it is planted in the proper soil. It must have the right conditions by which it can release its properties and thereby multiply. The seed alone is powerless to do that unless those conditions provide it an opportunity to grow and mature. Those unique conditions specific to that seed will ultimately determine it’s maximum yield, which can be hindered, and even halted if they are not appropriately met.
A living seed all alone is worthless.
Despite its inherent power it will never yield its potential until it’s planted in fertile soil.
The human heart is the soil of God’s choice.
Sometimes we sense a great churning in our hearts, yet we don’t necessarily understand the end product God wants to achieve. We don’t see any outward manifestation, although we have the assurance and witness within us of what God has planted, and therefore we conclude nothing is happening. However, that is not the case. The most important part is happening: that seed is becoming rooted. When we experience a churning within the depths of our hearts I believe we are experiencing the power of the seed in those moments. If we misinterpret that we can erroneously conclude the timing to be off or perhaps delayed, when in reality the process is precisely as God has determined.
We must understand that harvest times can vary greatly depending on two primary things:
1.) The type of seed planted
2.) The condition of the soil
If we don’t know or understand the purposes of God and what He’s wanting to achieve within us or through us, that word He’s spoken may not receive the proper nourishment to yield. We need to understand what God has planted within us, and understand the process for that specific seed, or duration of time for its unique properties lest we grow impatient, restless, and discouraged. If we lose heart we’re in grave danger of aborting. And although there is always divine timing involved, I believe there are other factors we sometimes discount or ignore that can contribute to whether or not that word comes to pass, for which we must assume a rightful responsibility. What is hidden beneath the soil can be very active and productive, and we may wonder for a long time if anything is happening. That’s not the time to give up and abort your faith. Nor is it time to dig up the seed to see if it’s active. To do so would be a fatal detriment to any progress.
Many believers receive the word of God in their lives yet fail to persevere in it for various reasons, which Christ clearly outlines for us in the Parable of the Sower. And although the seed of God’s word, by nature, is imperishable, we must understand and assume our responsibility for the manner in which we receive that word, the condition of our hearts, and how we steward that word in our lives. I believe God wants to remedy a misunderstanding of how His word operates and the conditions which must be met for His seed to yield the bountiful harvest He intends.
When we look at the Parable of the Sower, Christ describes four distinct soil conditions in which His imperishable seed has been planted. Let’s remember that His seed does not change, and its properties are eternal. The divine potential of God’s seed will always yield the desired harvest when planted in the proper soil under the right spiritual conditions. What we come to find out in His parable is that this soil is the human heart. It’s not the mind – rather, it’s the heart. That is the soil where His word is planted. He makes it clear that the gates to our heart are opened through what we hear and choose to listen to, what we look at and choose to see, and with whom we interact and choose to keep company. Therefore we need to wisely choose the company we keep and diligently guard the gates to our heart.
Seed-Time and Harvest
Since the beginning of time there has been seed-time and harvest, and God has promised that as long as the earth shall remain, there will always be seed-time and harvest. But what happens in-between? There’s a lot going on in that soil! And there is a lot of waiting which requires patience, perseverance and diligent care. When harvest comes, there is a sense of urgency, or the crop will wither and die.
Seed-Time and Harvest accurately demonstrate God’s ways and His spiritual laws of sowing and reaping.
What has God spoken to you? Are you waiting for something to manifest in your life? Are you expectant for God to produce a harvest? The key question then is not whether or not God’s word will succeed, because its potential and power is infallible and eternal. His seed will always produce after His kind. The question then is where is your heart? Because the truth is our hearts can fail. In what kind of soil is this incorruptible seed germinating? And can it sustain that seed unto maturity?
The nature of God’s word is infallible. It will always produce – but it needs the right soil. God spoke the worlds we now see into existence. Every tangible thing was born of the Spirit of God’s word. All life we now see began in the spirit. God’s word is spirit. When He plants it within the human heart, that is the divine soil He created that will yield the return He desires. Let’s find out what our responsibility is so we can joyfully see it come to fruition.
In doing so, I invite you to watch a three minute video that will reveal the power of the seed. Let’s get a clear picture of the process and how long it takes so we can cooperate with God.
The Parable of the Sower
Are you encouraged? Just eight months, and there is merely a vulnerable sprout.
What kind of seed has God planted in your heart? What is it that He’s called you to do? What has He spoken to you? What is the seed of His word in your life destined to produce? And lastly, what is the condition of the soil in your heart?
These are the questions I believe God wants you to be able to answer by the time you read this post. So with all this in mind, I now want to carefully review the Parable of the Sower. Let’s lay a solid foundation of understanding so we can fully cooperate with what Christ is teaching us here. For your reference, you can find the Parable of the Sower in three different Gospel accounts: Matthew 13:18-23, Mark 4:14-20, and Luke 8:11-15. For the sake of this post, I am going to quote the book of Mark:
Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: and it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come, (Mark 4:3-20 & 24-29, KJV).
The Condition of Your Heart
I can relate to every type of soil outlined here at some point in my life. I think we all can, because we are all growing in Christ. However, it’s the “good soil” that God wants us to focus upon. Creating that kind of soil is our goal.
After reading this parable, I am going to trust that you already know which category you fall into. The Holy Spirit is well able to reveal that to you. Perhaps it’s not only one, but a combination of several. Whatever the condition of your heart, I believe God wants you to reach your optimal potential for the seed He’s planted within you. That means creating the type of soil that will provide an environment where His incorruptible seed can yield the greatest fruitfulness possible, which is marked by the “one hundred fold” return.
Let’s make a note that Christ is going to wait patiently for the harvest before He reaps what He’s sown. He’s not into premature reaping. It’s simply not going to happen. And although it may take some of us longer than others to yield a crop, patience and perseverance are always key (see Matthew and Luke parables).
Let’s talk about how to make that happen.
How Growth is Achieved
We’re after maximum multiplication. If you take a tender seed, providing it all the right ingredients to produce, you’re going to watch over it diligently. It’s very vulnerable to the elements and to the fowls of the air. The careful tending it requires is necessary for it to reach maturity. Once maturity is reached, it then yields seed by which it can reproduce, hence the multiplication.
If God has called you to do great things, I believe it’s safe to say you may have an oak tree within you that will take some time to develop. Get ready to be patient and persevere. That doesn’t mean you get to sit back and do nothing. We have an obligation to nurture and care for what God has planted within us, much like a pregnant woman cares for her unborn child who is developing in her womb. We are laborers with God. We have a responsibility toward the seed planted within us, to water and nurture it.
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building, (1 Corinthians 3:6-9, KJV).
You may feel the seed sprouting, the baby kicking, and the shoot stirring beneath that soil, yet without any external evidence of what has been planted within you. Rejoice at these stirrings. They are very real. That is the seed at work! It’s active within you! And yes, you can indeed feel it. In like manner, when the baby stops kicking… you know there’s a problem.
When the seed is active, you’re going to sense it. Those deep heart-felt internal stirrings are signs of life. Nurture that seed during every stage of development, seeking God in how to water that seed appropriately. Because although we’d like to think we can cause the increase, we cannot. Christ makes this clear in his parable, and so does Paul in his epistle. Only God can cause the increase or growth. We have one responsibility: and that is to water that seed as God instructs us.
The water of God’s Word is what will nurture the seed of God’s Word.
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it, (Isaiah 55:10-11, KJV).
In every season God is faithful to bring forth His word, hence the reference to rain (Spring) and snow (Winter). Staying in God’s word is key to keeping the soil of your heart soft and spiritually moist. I believe this is why many believers become discouraged. We do all we can to try and produce a harvest while neglecting to water the seed. The truth is the seed is not going to grow any quicker than God determines. We cannot cause the growth. Only God can. But we can water it and care for it by doing the following:
1.) Persevering in prayer and intercession.
2.) Watering the seed of His Word with His Word in prayer.
3.) Walking in faith, which is demonstrated through the mutual and congruent obedience of our actions and words.
4.) Guarding our hearts against anything contrary that would choke, steal, or cause the seed to wither away.
5.) Staying spiritually fit and healthy. That means a tight relationship with Christ and other believers of like heart and kindred spirit.
6.) Being ready for harvest. Because Christ said Himself that once the full ear is ripe, harvest has come and He throws in the sickle immediately. There is no delay. So be ready for that moment of mature fruitfulness.
The Measure You Mete
Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath, (Mark 4:24-25, KJV).
This one verse has caused unnecessary anxiety in many believers. Yet it’s a key part to understanding this process. Try as we might, we can’t make ourselves grow. Only God can do that. But we can steward what He plants within us wisely. Part of that stewardship means cultivating a nutrient-rich soil that will maximize the potential of the seed He’s planted within you. That’s the measure you want to mete, which will determine your fruitfulness. You’re going for one-hundred fold, right? Who would plant a seed and want anything less than its fullest potential or maximum yield? Don’t settle for less than what God’s word can produce in your life.
When you are faithful with what God has given you, He will grant you more. But if you’re not faithful with what He’s entrusted, He reserves the right to remove it, at least for a time. That is severe mercy which He grants for our sake, because He is obligated to judge us with regard to our stewardship of His investment in us. If we can’t handle it well, it’s to our advantage that He remove it until we can. He’ll then give us alternative opportunities to grow and prove ourselves until we’re ready.
His withdrawal is very painful. And if you’ve ever experienced it, it can be devastating. That is not to say His withdrawal is permanent. Our Father God is obligated to teach us proper stewardship of His gifts. This is how we grow and mature. He would rather wait than give you something He knows you’ll mishandle, because He’ll be obligated to judge you in that mishandling. Therefore, in His love and wisdom, He reserves the right to withhold. No loving parent would entrust a child with something of great eternal value when they know they do not possess the maturity, skill, or abilities necessary to steward it wisely. That is poor stewardship on the part of the parent, and it’s an injustice to the child because the expectations are unrealistic. Unless there is proper teaching, the child is being set up to fail. A wise and loving parent would instead patiently rear them by preparing their child to steward the gift they want them to eventually receive. God does no less the very same. As such, God gives unto us according to our “several ability”. And as we all know, we are each unique individuals with very different gifts and abilities. To read examples of proper stewardship please see the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 24:14-30 with regard to the manner in which Christ judges each steward. You may also review Christ’s address to the Church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:5 wherein He warns them of removing their candlestick unless they repent. In all these things let us remember that Christ rebukes, disciplines and chastises those He loves as sons and daughters (see Hebrews 12).
Therefore, how you receive the word He’s given you will determine its yield. This comes back to the condition of your heart. Because the manner in which you hear will ultimately determine the measure you’re able to mete toward His word. The roots of His seed must find soil in which to anchor deep. That soil needs to be rich, fertile and healthy if the potential for fruitfulness is going to be maximized. Anything that would possibly choke, offend, and steal must be overcome and removed. And if such things are found, God can help you do that successfully.
Be thankful for what God entrusts to you, however small and insignificant it may seem. Handle it wisely and steward it well. Also be grateful for those small beginnings. Recognize those tender shoots that you see sprouting and their ultimate potential. Take great care with the increase He gives, because the full potential of the seed He’s planted within you is yet to be realized. The greater the seed; the greater the perseverance and patience that will be required of you to see it to fruition. That is the measure you must be prepared to mete.
A mighty oak tree takes a long time to grow. He is faithful to provide the increase if we will be faithful to believe, receive, and persevere unto harvest. And He is faithful to add more when we are proven to be the faithful and wise stewards of His investments in our lives.
Be encouraged! God does not plant His word in vain. You are most worthy of His investment. And you are most worthy of yielding His harvest.
Cheers & Shalom,