I believe that when God sent you to earth for His purpose, He gave you a piece of His heart.
Think of it this way, when someone leaves for a long journey to serve in an army, we will say, “They took a piece of my heart with them.” Same thing! What would happen if your son, daughter, or spouse didn’t want to talk to you while serving? They never call, never write, and you are never a thought that crosses their mind. Or do they only call you on your birthday, a holiday, or when something terrible happens? And when they returned from their assignment, they no longer loved you? They no longer wanted to spend time with you. No longer wanted to sit down to dinner or even step over the threshold to be in the same house as you? THAT WOULD GRIEVE YOU!
Now, with the perspective that you are a servant of God, sent here on an assignment, can you self-reflect and perceive how you are treating your Father in Heaven? Are you looking forward to returning home, calling when you’re able, and receiving love and encouragement? Are you seeking His wisdom to overcome the emotional difficulties of being away from home or equipping your mind for the battle? Or are you doing everything you can to avoid communicating with Him? Are you dulling your senses by seeking entertaining and sparkling things or libations from another god, unable to feel His presence? Are you fighting issues you know, deep down within, such as addiction, unnatural thoughts, strange emotions, and habits that you don’t even know how you got them? These are all issues of the heart. Proverbs 4:23 (KJV) says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Jeremiah reveals to us some things about the heart. “Cursed be the man that trusted in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord.” And those who trust in the Lord are blessed. He continues to tell us that the “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Who can know it? Only God does. The Lord has infinite knowledge we cannot possess in a finite mind.
God does not see things as we do. His ways are divine and perfect, not human. His nature is to search a man’s heart and test his mind. (See Jeremiah 17:5-10) And since our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we can conclude that each of us will be searched and tested in some form. Jeremiah chapter 31 speaks of the coming new covenant where the law is placed within the house of Israel and Judah. It says, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me.” (Jeremiah 31: 33-34) Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law of the Old Testament and the New Covenant promise. It was hidden by God as a mystery to the world. This mystery was a mandate from the beginning and manifested by the Son of Man.
WHAT IS A HEART?
The heart is an organ in our physical bodies that pumps blood; without it, we perish. However, in the Bible, the heart is defined as your mind, will, and emotions. It is a place within our conscience, unseen in the midst of us, that pumps out what it contains. It is the control center, the gatekeeper for our desires and feelings. And whatever a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7) The heart is also used as a metaphor for ground or soil. In Luke 8:15, the heart is compared to “good ground.” The seeds that fell on the good ground were planted in an honest and good heart, and as we know, without good soil, nothing grows. God looks at our heart, our soil, and as the landowner, He cultivates, sows, waters, prunes, and harvests our inner man when the time comes.
PARABLE OF THE SOWER
Gardeners know that the soil must be prepared for a good harvest. And not all ground will yield a crop if the seeds fall on it. In Matthew 13, Jesus speaks to the multitude in parables. One of them is the “parable of the sower.” To paraphrase, the sower scatters seeds, and the ground determines how the seed responds. Some of the seeds “fell by the wayside,” and the birds came to devour them. Others fell on stony ground with little soil. They germinated quickly; however, the hot sun scorched them because they had no roots. Some fell among the thorns, but the thorns choked them out. But a different kind of seed landed in good ground. Ground that was suitable for growth. These seeds brought forth fruit in this precious ground, some a hundredfold, some sixty fold, and some thirty fold. (See Matthew 13:1-9)
The disciples came to Jesus after He spoke and asked why He talked to the people with parables. Jesus states that the disciples are permitted to “understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not.” Why? Because those who take the time to listen to Jesus and His teachings will be given understanding and not just knowledge, but an abundance of knowledge. However, for those who won’t even consider listening, the little bit of insight they have will be taken because they are people with hardened hearts. This, in turn, restricts their ears, closes their eyes, and their hearts (ground) cannot understand nor turn to Him for healing to receive the truth. He then distinguishes that blessed are those with Him, whose eyes can see and have ears to hear. After defining who could and could not receive Him, Jesus explains the parable.
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.”Matthew 13:18-20 (NIV)
These are the ones who have no root system, and when troubles arise because of the word, they fade away from what they’ve heard. Jesus continues.
“The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it.”Matthew 13:22-23 (NIV)
This good ground is “the one who produces.” This ground yields a hundred, sixty or thirty times the amount that was sown in it.
Jesus speaks more parables of the Kingdom to the multitudes throughout Matthew chapter thirteen. In “the parable of the hidden treasure,” Jesus explains the Kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field, and when a man found it, he concealed it and went and sold all he had to buy the field. And what is in a field? Ground. And in the “parable of the pearl of great price,” Jesus speaks, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Another example of the Kingdom is in Matthew 13:25, where Jesus tells the “parable of the tares.” “An enemy came while men slept and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.” Tares are weeds that look like wheat when they are young, but their true nature is revealed as they mature, and they bear no fruit. If the tares are pulled before the grain is mature, they destroy them. God allows them to grow with the good seed until He brings in the harvest.
So, what have we learned so far? The heart is found in our inner man. It is a gatekeeper to our lives and is equated to the soil where seeds are planted. We know it is wicked, and we know only God has the insight into what is necessary for the garden to flourish and bring a bountiful harvest. And we must understand that each action we take either fertilizes or depletes our soil or plants good or bad seeds. We should discern between those who bear fruit and those who do not when the harvest comes.
Addiction, depression, lack, fear, anger, jealousy, lying, scheming and plotting, everything not in line with God’s Word, are all symptoms of a heart buried in a field covered with lots of dirt. These dysfunction symptoms can be a part of a “bent” or “twisting” present since birth. They were placed there by an enemy who sowed a seed of discourse. Some bloodline curses may be present, and additional “dirt” can accumulate when others mistreat a person, setting up a stronghold of the enemy or sometimes a demonic attack. Most issues we face come directly from our flesh and a mind not yet renewed with the Truth. The carnal mind is the enemy of God. It is set with only the animal, or lower knowledge of humans, associated with physical attributes and functions. It has not been renewed to the Truth of how it was meant to function spiritually. It has not opened up to receive revelation and therefore cannot accept that Jesus Christ redeemed it. It does not know the love of God only wants the holder of such precious treasure–buried underneath all that soil–to return to Him. How can a carnal mind be renewed to accept this spiritual knowledge? I believe that the heart, the inner man, the “ground” of a person, must be softened and cultivated so the mind can receive Truth. If we try to do it, we’ll fail every time. Don’t think I have ever seen a seed jump up and water itself…Have you? Only God has this supernatural ability with full knowledge of what is needed to prepare and grow us into His kingdom builders. We must seek Him for that to be achieved.
WHO CAN CULTIVATE GROUND AND RENEW MINDS?
What is the first commandment? “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:13)
As followers of Christ, how can we put ourselves in a position where our ground–our hearts–can be cultivated so that the issues arising from it line up with God’s plan for us? First, look at David, a man after God’s heart. David wrote songs about his hearts’ desire to keep far from iniquity (secret, unknown sin), to guard the commandments of God, and while he was learning, for God not to leave him. David was a representative of Christ, speaking the divine Word into the atmosphere years before the Son of Man was born who came to fulfill the will of God.
David sought the heart of God throughout his writings. He knew God was the only one that could teach him, test him, and that He would provide for all his needs. Psalm 7:9 , he writes, “for the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.” Sound familiar? The same thing Jeremiah prophesied decades later.
In Psalm 119:11-12, David reveals that he has hidden God’s Word in his heart and asks the Lord to teach him. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.”
David got it. He sought the Kingdom first so his heart could be fed and cultivated. David knew that while walking here, in the shadow of death, he could be filled with courage, not fear. He knew that God was with him and that His rod and His staff, the turning of his soil, were a testament to God’s love for him. This gave David comfort and filled him with joy. Only God can cultivate the ground, renew the mind, and restore a man’s heart.
BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO GIVE WITH THE RIGHT HEART
God wants your heart. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24) How can you fully love God if you are unwilling to give? How can you be trusted with a pearl of great price if you cannot give from the increase in your life? The Apostle Paul tells us that it is better to give than receive. None of us will ever do this task perfectly, but we must position our hearts to give, having faith in God’s promises to fulfill our needs and be our supply.
“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”Acts 30:25
Since we are sons and daughters of God, should not our nature be a reflection of the seed we came from? God gave first! He gave by being thoughtful of you, then He gave you life. God gave mankind provision. He gave us His perfect heart to redeem us from sin, even before Adam sinned. (See Revelation 13:1-9) To give from a righteous heart, we must learn God’s instructions. We must seek His presence, like David, who so eloquently wrote about his desires in the book of Psalms.
We can’t serve God and mammon (wealth, money). Mammon is the spirit over the lower form of provision. A lower form of treasure. Money and physical wealth, whatever the possessions are, i.e., cars, houses, clothes, etc., only exist in the physical realm and have no life in them! They, too, will return to the dust from which they came. We have all experienced this “spirit” in some form. Not wanting to part with some “thing” for one reason or another. Mammon opposes God and does not exist where God abides because God is Truth. And the truth is God is our provider.
Now, how do we get there? A place where our minds are being renewed to understand that no matter what the circumstance, God will provide for His people. Firstly, God will always keep His promises. Secondly, is there a Kingdom principle we can incorporate into our daily lives that can help us with the condition of our ground and the dirt we have to sift through, the hurts, and the hangups that we all have on our own journeys? Something that God provides as a “test” for Him? God tells us to be a “friend” of mammon, not the legal companion of it. We are not to “marry” it and make it our confidence in this world, letting our spirit, our inner man see it as our god. We are to tend to wealth yet know our provision, and any and all increase, whatever it may be, comes from the Lord.
“And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?”Luke 16:9-11
So, if we learn to have the characteristics of the Kingdom regarding our wealth, then we should have the manifestation of God’s promise regarding it, right? We should not make mammon our friend, rather, make friends with mammon. So, when we are faithful to God’s way in dealing with the “little,” the lower provisions of mammon, we train our hearts to receive true riches from God, in Spirit.
SOFTENING THE GROUND TO RECEIVE GOD’S INSTRUCTION
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”Matthew 6:21
Our hearts are wicked. No one wants to hear that do they? It is a hard pill to swallow. We are born into the land of the living, bent and twisted. We are children, even as Christians, not yet enlightened in all the ways of God. And God does not see linear time as a measure of maturity. Maturity is gaged by the maturing of our knowledge of Him.
Here is a mature question: where is your treasure? You will know where your heart is by looking at and discerning the answer to this question. In the beginning, some have lots of dirt to sift through to get to where they can answer it. And that’s okay. The point is to start somewhere. Others may have a shorter distance to the surface, yet in the Kingdom, there is no difference between the worker that begins early in the morning and the one hired at five in the evening. The landowner is generous, and he has every right to be. (See Matthew 20:1-16)
Can we be that generous? By giving to God from our “lower” provision, we spiritually give to the one asking to be tested by us! And what are the results of us giving to the House of God that feeds us? Everyone quotes Malachi when it comes to giving tithes and offerings to God, and there are many places where tithes and offerings are given, some good, and as was the case with Cain, some bad. A person’s heart is the soil, and the spirit with which mammon, the lower provision, is given, determines what seed is sown. The results from our actions create our own reality, whether we want to receive instruction to learn and grow in the knowledge of God and have His abundance in our lives or not. However, by tithing, being faithful in the “little,” and giving offerings from out of ALL our increase to God, we give Him permission to rebuke the devourer (See Malachi 3:11), the one who comes to steal the word and our earthly provisions. Our actions in the physical dimension influence the spiritual dimension we cannot see! On earth as in heaven. (See Matthew 6:5-15, The Lord’s Prayer) He asks you to test Him and see if He will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out an abundant blessing! The act of tithing restores us in two dimensions! It gives God legal access to protect what is offered to Him from evil. And it rains down the blessings, the word from above that can flourish in our hearts allowing us to grow in the good ground! Your wealth and your daily life are reliant upon where your treasure is.
Tithing helps to break that hard, stony ground open, allows the seeds of God’s Truth to be planted, and the blessings of His rain to fall on it. Each time you perform the action, and God shows up, your faith builds, and Truth begins to grow: He is the provider.
“Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, Lord our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this.”Jeremiah 14:22 (NIV)
Rain, the blessing, comes from above. In this passage, the word rain here is the Hebrew word gasham. It can be translated as rain, and is associated with a violent storm, but it has a deeper meaning. It is also associated with sustenance. And sustenance is associated with providing income and all that the body needs. It is the maintaining of someone or something in life or existence. It’s our source of strength. Only God can provide that!
We are all tested, right? And the only place God asks us to test Him is with tithing. The act of tithing helps to break that hard, stony, dry ground to open and allows the seeds of God’s Truth–that Jesus Christ redeemed our spirits and that He provides ALL we need–to be planted. As our hearts soften, the blessings of His rain fall on our hearts, proving God alone gives the increase. The more we prepare our hearts and ground for His blessings, the more He can do for us.
And what happens when a seed, buried for a time, gets the rays of a beautiful sun (light or knowledge) and the water (Spirit) from above? It begins to grow.
Since Jesus Christ is from the tribe of Judah, in the line of King David, and believers are the “body of Christ,” we must realize Truth. God concealed His son in a field (where the pearl of great price, the heart of God, was hidden) and gave everything He had to purchase it; therefore, He bought us!
God’s treasure, His heart, was in His Son, hidden as a mystery, to overcome the enemy and the avenger, to overcome the flesh and Satan, and to rest God’s anger. Mercy and Grace were set, and The Sabbath was made for Man, not man for the Sabbath. Shalom.
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