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by Mark Heatherly
6/25/2008 / Christian Living
"The eye is the lamp of the body, if the eye be clear the body will be fully illumined". The eye is the heart of man & the heart is the true picture of the real you. It is the composite of the soul & it's animating parts (the mind, will & emotions) along with the conscience. This is the real you. With it we may acquire things which we treasure over the course of time. These things then draw us to wards them & hold us captive . If we were to lose a thing which we love & treasure we would suffer loss & grieve. The greater the love the greater the loss & grief.
Concerning the ongoing salvation of the soul, the treasures of the heart then act as a magnet which pulls us in one direction or another. Pulled in the direction of the world it becomes a contaminant which pollutes or blocks the light of life whose function is in the very saving of our souls so that we might be in spirit with the Lord. There are many things which are affected by this incoming, yet indwelling & outpouring light & life but the point here is of the heart & how it is crucial for spiritual life & development. The heart is referred to in the parable of the Lord about the sowing of the seed as the soil. The seed, or the word which He implants, is always the same. It is potent, powerful & effective & will not return to Him void or without effect. Therefore, the difference in the varied results in men is due to the heart & it's condition or predisposition in each individual man. The heart determines the outcome. The heart, it says determines our ability to understand the message of the word of life contained in the seed. The seed, or the word comes to each & every man, & the results manifest in one of four ways as described by our Lord.
Concerning the parable, I would like to first point out the setting of the soils in the parable. It appears that the sowing proceeds or commences from a major road way. This road way represents the way & course of the world which is opposed to God & His word of truth. The word is sown unto all parts of the world, to every man, to reveal the good news of His kingdom, salvation & eternal life. This seed is able to transform man from his current state & position into the glorious state & position of a child of God ! This is no small thing. The difficulty however, lies in the fact that both man & the world (which includes the ruler of the world & his imposed system & what we call the course of the world) are opposed to God & His kingdom & the word of truth which he has brought to the world. (We see this opposition in the form of the impenetrable ground, the rocks & the weeds.) God has brought His word & truth to the world so as to deal with, recapture & restore all of His creation which has been corrupted by the rebellion & disobedience of Satan, the fallen angels & the race of man.
In this parable, the road then, represents the way & course of this world. That the road is of the course of this world means that this is the way & the life & the lie of Satan devised by him so as to blind, distract & subvert the way & the life of men to keep them from the truth & salvation of God. I would like to note that the further away the soil is from the roadway the better it is able to receive the seed or the word of truth, which of course is Christ ; the way, the truth & the life. The seed is not sown on the road itself because this represents both Satan & his devised way & course for men to follow. We must swim against the tide then, to follow Christ. We must distance ourselves from the world & it's system & ways of living.
Out from the road we find the four conditions of the soil or the hearts of men. The closer the soil is to the road, the more you find of both the road's material & the effects it has upon the soil. The further out away from the road or the world the better the condition of the soil (the result of separation or consecration). The soil right beside the road has some of the rocky road material in it, & it is also affected by the road traffic. We must understand that this "road" traffic is the course of this world. It is where you will find the majority of people. The majority are both preoccupied with it & consumed by it.
To put it in practical terms, this has to do with all the trappings of what we commonly refer to as "life in this world". In this regard, people often make comments such as "making their mark in the world", "making the most of their life", "doing something with their life", "making the world a better place to live" , "making a name for yourself" & so on. This proves that man has only a superficial view of life, the world & God. The devil seeks to keep people away from the reality of the truth through compliance with the course of the world. This means he seeks to occupy your time on earth with all the "goings on" in the world system & in doing so to keep you living out from your selfish, soul life. This is opposed to & versus a life lived out from the spirit. The course he has devised & implemented caters to your selfish & soulish desires. This includes the pursuit of a family, wealth, stature, pleasure, happiness, fulfillment, security & so on. Thus, it is not only sin that separates us from God but also the pursuit of worldly & selfish things. In reality (or truth) however, the basis of true sin is the pursuit of anything outside of Him as we are told to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart & with ALL you soul, & with ALL your might. All, is just that, all ! All means everything to the extent that there is nothing left. To the extent that we do this, is the extent to which we have God as Christ in us as our new life & way of living. What ever we allow of the world, the old nature & the old life to remain in us, blocks out the life of Christ within. Because the two are incompatible one must give way to the other. One is a life lived out from the soul, the other is out from the spirit. The flesh sets itself against the spirit & the spirit against the flesh. The flesh here, is the totality of the fallen man which includes his soul life, the organ comprised of his mind, will & emotions.
This makes more clear the instruction to take up your cross, & to die to self, & to lose your soul life & then to follow Him. These are pre-requisites to receiving the newness of life in Christ & walking in the spirit. In one sense it is a matter of constitution. All that is of the world, the old man, the old nature & so on is of a different constitution then that of the kingdom of God, the new man & the divine nature. It is like trying to mix oil & water. It cannot be done. Therefore, we have to lose our self & the soul life along with all it's desires & ways for these are not compatible with the newness of life & the divine nature in the spirit. For these to remain, constitutes a mixture which the bible refers to as being polluted . It is like salt water & fresh water mixed. In a polluted state, we love both the world & the Lord & are thus rendered useless to the Lord for any good thing. This means we are a crop which produces no fruit. This is carnality or worldliness. This becomes the seed which germinates in us yet does not produce any fruit because it has not been truly consecrated to the Lord for it's intended purpose. The purpose of any seed is realized when it is planted in the earth & germinates in producing a plant, which then produces fruit. God is not seeking plants but fruit. The word of truth (Christ) is thus the seed sown in our hearts for this very purpose but unless we consecrate ourselves according to this purpose we remain in a compromised position preventing or hindering the seed from its true purpose of producing fruit, the manifesting life of Christ. Consecration implies a separating of one's self from the world unto the Lord. This is the loving with all your heart. That which separates & brings about the division & consecration is the word sown in the heart & how we respond to it. We have no power within ourselves to cause it to happen for it is the "word that is living & active (in our hearts) & able to divide between spirit & soul". Our only involvement & responsibility is to thus cooperate with the Lord's living word within us to consecrate us unto Himself & His purpose. We do this by merely consenting to carry our cross & dieing to self & losing our soul life as Christ commanded. This in effect brings about our consecration which is also the separation of our soul life & way of living, from that of our spirit & the life & living it contains in the person of Jesus Christ.
This is a true picture of the soil that is far removed or separated from the road or course of this world. The more one is consecrated unto the Lord, the further he finds himself away from the world (or the roadway) in his heart & the more he has of the abundant life of Christ. This makes the eye clear so that one may be fully illumined from within so that we may walk in the light as He is in the light & have fellowship with one another.
To make this more clear, I will illustrate in a practical sense in which we all have experienced & witnessed to some degree, the attachment of the soul of a Christian to the world : This is where an individual may be given a monetary stewardship by being blessed with more material goods then he needs for the purpose of helping those who have need but he instead closes his heart with the reasonings of the mind against a brother in need. His heart has an attachment to the world so that he loves these things more than he loves the Lord & this brother in need. As a result, he is quite attached to his money & possessions. The greater his love for the money, the greater the difficulty & reluctance to give it away. He thus must reason in his mind to clear his conscience. To justify himself he may reason as follows : I cannot help this person because he is in this state of need due to his own lack of effort or negligence, sin, & so on. He has made his own bed & he must lie in it. This man deserves no help from me because I have worked hard for what I have, plus I have served & honored God to the extent that He has given me many things to "enjoy". If I help this brother it will be a waste. I deserve what I have accumulated & he deserves what he gets. Thus, he has no compassion but instead closes his heart with the justifications & reasonings of the mind. He is all about himself, living out from his soul.
"The one who loves his brother abides in the Light & there is no cause for stumbling in him, But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness & walks in the darkness, & does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes."
(In the spirit, we have eyes to see, while in the soul we are in darkness.)
In this case, this brother's love of self & the things of the world has blinded his eyes to see the truth that it is God who gives an abundance to men & that it is for the express purpose of helping those in need. An abundance of wealth, just as are the gifts of the Spirit, are not for the man's own self indulgences, but for others, for otherwise this would harden his heart, separating him from the abundant life of Christ within. (Not to mention the fact that this brother trades his eternal reward in helping people now for the temporal satisfaction in his self indulgences.)
Worldly men love to think that they are more successful then other men by the things they accomplish & the wealth they acquire, but by a clear understanding of the bible we can see that it is in fact God who orchestrates all things according to His divine councils. Just as Jesus told Pilate that he would have no authority if it had not been "given" him by God. We see here that He even does this with unbelievers so as to test the hearts of all men & accomplish his divine & manifold purposes in the general recovery of all His creation. Just as it is written, "man prepares the horse for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord". We can see this even in the case of politics. All politicians scheme & work very hard so as to make it to the top but the ultimate outcome is by God's divine providence. What this means is that, man does what he can do, but the outcome belongs to God alone.
Many men work hard to build a business. Some succeed, some do not, all work hard & all make mistakes while the outcome belongs to God. We do not like to hear this because we like to think that if we succeed it is due to our own efforts. In reality, each & every man is being tested & refined in accordance with the outcome that God Himself has orchestrated & predetermined whether it be in success or failure or somewhere in between.
These are examples in which we find ourselves in error because of an attachment to the world & a living out from the soul. The first man loves himself , his money & the selfish enjoyment of the world's goods so that he himself is in bondage to the world & is thus living out from his soul life. In his mind he may even think himself spiritual because he may have much bible knowledge. In his blindness, he equates knowledge with spirituality & cannot see the harm he does to the least of these. Though he thinks himself spiritual , yet he does not have the abundant, overflowing life of Christ manifesting itself through his spirit in the unconditional love towards his brothers. He cares only for himself. He does not consider others as more important than himself & he certainly does not consider it more a blessing to give than to receive. The latter is quick to give because it is more blessed to do this than to keep it for himself. The selfish, worldly Christian cannot do this & even if he tries to do so it is with much difficulty & loss because it is not done out from the life giving spirit within, but from the soul of the man. One who is attached to the world & the things of the world can do no other then, but to live out from the soul. To live out from the spirit is to live the life of Christ. This is the good soil which can yield the fruit of Christ.
This is a crucial point which the Christian cannot afford to miss or overlook.
We are born of Adam with the boastful pride of life, therefore Jesus said "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, & he who humbles himself will be exalted" and, "Whoever does not carry his own cross & come after me cannot be my disciple", and "So then none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his possessions". These statements have to do with losing all that we are & all that we have so that we may gain Christ as our life & way of living. This is true consecration unto God.
To further illustrate the necessity of separation (or consecration) from the world & it's course, we are warned not to love the world. "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is of the world, the desires of the flesh & the lusts of the eyes & the boastful pride of life, is not from the father, but is from the world." "If we say that we have fellowship with Him & yet walk in the darkness, we lie & do not practice the truth".
Satan's system is all too pervasive as it can be seen even unto the smallest details such as in "peer pressure" concerning what we eat, what we wear, what cars we drive, & our general appearance & standing amongst our fellow man. This is the roadway from which Christ must cast His seed (or word of truth). The closer one is to this road the less he can see, acknowledge & accept the of the way & the truth & the life.
In the first case, the heart is so hard, so involved & caught up with the world that the word of truth cannot be received at all, then the devil comes & snatches it away (through the reasonings of the mind). The second, is also hard but there is just enough soil to allow the seed to germinate & produce a plant. We are told that these also have much of the world & themselves. Being unwilling to give these up, they quickly fall away not being able to receive the life supply & sustenance of the deep water in the earth for their roots were shallow. The sun that was to provide them with the power to grow in life then scorched the plants causing them to shrink back & whither spiritually.
The third group even, though they remain faithful to the Lord in seeking Him do not consent to fully bearing the cross & dieing to self, so that there remains a conflicting & counterproductive agent in the soil. These are signified by thorny plants which choke out or stunt the growth before it can produce or manifest the fruit of life. These thorny plants are the evidence of the lack of separation from the world & consecration unto God. These are in a miserable condition. They are lukewarm. They seek god but they still seek the enjoyments of the world. They perhaps, have just enough of God in them to make them unsuitable to the world & just enough of the world within to make them unsuitable & useless to God. These live an unstable & contentious life within, finding no rest or peace in all their mixed labors & endeavors. They cannot please themselves, others or God.
The first two groups of people in the parable can at least find some small, but fleeting amounts of pleasure, satisfaction & fulfillment in the things of this world because they are the more of this world. The third group have gone on with the Lord just enough , that they have lost some of the savor of the world but have not gone far enough so as to taste the heavenly sweetness of Christ within as their new life & way of living. They still yet hang on to the world & the old way of living not being willing to abandon all for the surpassing greatness of Christ as their all.
We must be willing to lose our life not just in the sense of not seeking the selfish indulgences of the world but also in the selfish & stubborn resistance to suffer the bearing of the cross. The self nature has many manifestations. Many can resist at least some of the pleasurable indulgences in the world for example, but few can resist the selfish temptation to defend one's "self" if slandered, or to get angry if someone cuts you off in traffic or to strike back if someone hits you first.
Lose your self & soul life in this world that you may gain Christ instead while you still have time. You cannot have it both ways, for this is the lie of the evil one. Satan would have you believe you can love God & the world too. He would propose that as long as you put them in some kind of order of importance that then you can still have it all. God first he says , then family, then your job, then your wealth & possessions. This is subtle deceit. You cannot do this. It is beyond your capability. We must remember that we remain in the law of sin & death which prevents us from having any "power" to put things in any kind of order within our heart.
We must be sober minded here for this is the battle ground in the soil of the heart. God's only prescribed remedy is to lose your selfish soul life & to instead love Him with all your heart. Do not make the mistake of trying to hang on to the things of this world with various justifications for God has said that to love the world is enmity with God. Search the scriptures & you will see that there is no such teaching as God first, family second & so on.
I challenge anyone to provide scriptures that support this "doctrine" of demons. I already know the ones you will use but go ahead & try. Show me one who wishes to support this doctrine & I will show you a very selfish person with a stony heart who lives out from their soul instead of their spirit. Remember, you cannot do both but you will reap what you sow. If you sow to (the lusts of) the flesh, you will reap from the flesh corruption but if to the spirit, you will reap the eternal life of Christ. Which do you prefer ? That is the real question.
I make my writings available to all, but I would very much like to hear from those who have questions or comments or are built up & enriched & also from those who wish to use my writings for reprint.
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