Mark 4 : 14 - 20, The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred." NKJV
The Holy Spirit has given me understanding of a principle that is the key to our victory as a believer in Christ. Inevitably, when we decide to study the Word or step out in obedience to the voice of God, persecution enters our lives. We can all think of times when we made decisions to move forward in our faith walk and trouble followed; nonetheless, how did we respond to the persecution that came against God’s Word because of that choice?
Did we continue to confront the spiritual challenges by faith and obey, or did we faint because of a lack of understanding? Let’s look at an example that will help us connect with this teaching on a personal level. Sometimes, the Lord gives me, as a pastor a specific direction for our local church and its people. However, it has happened that shortly after I delivered the instructions to the congregation and set things in motion, hardships would hit.
Nevertheless, in order to gain victory over the attacks of the enemy, we must first be able to recognize why these problems have suddenly flared up against us. Our failure to see spiritual warfare in the natural realm as persecution against the Word can cause us to misread the reason for our problems. Let me explain. If I don’t make the connection between the Word being spoken and acted upon, and persecution invading my life, then I will think that I am being punished for something I did wrong.
This is exactly what Satan wants us to believe. He doesn’t want us to understand that the attacks we’re experiencing are the result of the Word; they are not happening because something isn’t right in our lives. Whenever you and I receive God’s Word and encounter an attack in the physical realm, we must guard our hearts so that we don’t fall prey to Satan’s devices. If we fail to discern that the problems in our lives are the result of persecution for the Word’s sake, then we have the potential of taking it personally and hardening our hearts.
To define this principle further let me add: after the Lord gives us a Word of instruction, He wants us to obey it so that we will receive the promise that is connected to the commandment. Satan attacks us between the Word being received and the promised being fulfilled; his hope is that we will give up on the promise. Therefore, when we step up in faith, and then trouble immediately arises, we know that it’s just the enemy trying to choke out God’s Word so that we will quit and abort our victory.
Unbelief can cause us to give up in the heat of the battle. Nevertheless, faith will guard our hearts and empower us to endure the conflict because we know that something better is on the horizon. Let me leave you all today with one more example. God told Moses to lead His people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. After God gave Moses instructions, He promised Moses that He would lead them into a land flowing with milk and honey. However, on the way through the wilderness, persecution began to arise against the children of Israel. Unfortunately, because their hearts were filled with unbelief, they didn’t realize that their hardships were spiritual persecution. Instead, they blamed their problems on God and Moses.
As a result of the Israelites failure to discern the truth about their trials, they repeatedly hardened their hearts against God’s voice. In the end, none of the people who came out of Egypt were allowed to inherit the Promised Land, except for Joshua and Caleb. Because of Israel’s unbelief, Satan was successful in robbing them through persecution; consequently, they did not receive the blessing that was connected to the Word.
So, if God has spoken a Word of promise with instruction to you, and you find yourself facing trials, then just exercise patience and endure to victory. Don’t allow persecution to choke out the Word that you have hidden in your heart. Allow the power of the Word to sustain you through the wilderness experience until you inherit the promise of that Word. You can do all things through who gives you the strength.
Doing All to Stand,
Pastor Asa Dockery
Pastor Asa Dockery