Hear Truth and Put it To Work
In the parable of the sower, Jesus gives spiritual insight into how one is to hear the truth and put it to work in life. In the J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS) Translation, we read:
Then he said to them, “Is a lamp brought into the room to be put under a bucket or underneath the bed? Surely its place is on the lamp-stand! There is nothing hidden which is not meant to be made perfectly plain one day, and there are no secrets which are not meant one day to be common knowledge. If a man has ears he should use them! Pay attention to what you hear,” he said to them. “Whatever measure you use will be used towards you, and even more than that. For the man who has something will receive more. As for the man who has nothing, even his ‘nothing’ will be taken away.” (Mark 4:21-25)
The lamp in this passage is a reference to the light of truth illuminating from the Word of God. As the psalmist stated, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path,” (Psalm 119:105). Thus, we learn from this passage how to handle the Word of God; that is to put it in its proper position in the heart. Truth is not to be placed in the obscured places of reasoning of the mind (a bucket) or emotional hype (underneath the bed), but it is to be placed in the heart as the standard by which the life is to be governed. Truth, when placed in its appointed place, will illuminate one’s understanding and show the places where erroneous thoughts are hidden.
Truth brings supernatural understanding of the “mysteries” of the Kingdom of God. Precepts and concepts explaining how the Kingdom of God operates, and our responsible part as citizens of the Kingdom, are revealed as we accept the Word of God into our hearts as the standard for our lives. From the Gospel as recorded by Matthew, Jesus emphatically states that it has been ‘given to us to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 13:11). Never settle for not knowing the ways and the will of God because Jesus shed His blood for believers to have the legal right to know both. Always remember that “There is nothing hidden which is not meant to be made perfectly plain one day, and there are no secrets which are not meant one day to be common knowledge.”
We also learn from this passage that God has an appointed time in which revelation will be given and our ears and heart are to be willing and ready to receive it. Twice in the parable of the sower, Jesus used the statement, “If a man has ears he should use them!” The willingness to hear truth is crucial to entrance into the Kingdom of God, as well as our spiritual growth after we have entered. This is the primary lesson we are to learn from this parable. Where there is no willingness to hear truth and put it to work, the door into the Kingdom of God will remain closed. Where there is no willingness to hear truth and put that truth to work in the life, there will be very little spiritual growth. As a matter of fact, when willingness to hear truth stops, whatever truth was initially obtained will be taken away by the subtle lies of the enemy. Which brings us to another important truth taught in this passage: Truth is regulated by the law of sowing and reaping.
Many years ago, the Holy Spirit revealed to my heart a definition for the word truth: Truth is the reality as God sees it and what God is saying to do about what He is seeing. Thus, by faith we understand that the Word of God is God’s reality—what God is seeing and what God is saying to do about what He is seeing.
In the parable of the sower, we are told that the sower sows the Word (what God is seeing and saying). These seeds of truth need a willing ear to hear and a heart with well-adaptive soil for productivity. Thus, the Master says, “If a man has ears he should use them!” This passage also introduces us to the ear-heart connection that determines the productivity of the Word sown. The ears need to be willing and ready to hear truth and not resist it entering the heart. Once truth enters the heart, the heart needs to adapt to its transforming power through obedience.
There are four types of soil mentioned in this parable. The heart with wayside soil rejects truth. Previous painful experiences from broken promises caused the ears of the wayside soil to shut down. Because truth sounds painful, the wayside soil simply will not trust it, which allows the enemy an opportunity to snatch it. The stony soil possesses ears that hear in the wrong mode. Therefore, whenever the pressure of persecution or trials comes, the ears cannot hear the integrity in the Word of God. The pressure of persecution and trials causes it to filter the message through offense mode, thus ejecting truth. The thorny soil has ears that are filled with the shouts of anxiety, worry and materialism, leaving no room for truth to grow peacefully.
Consequently, truth is smothered, and the heart left barren of productivity. The ears of the good soil hear in learning mode. Learning ears pay attention to what it hears in order to obey what is heard. The heart, with ears that hear in learning mode, values the truths it receives and will continue to produce fruit because it will build on lessons learned from previous truths stored in the heart. Consequently, productivity thrives in the heart with learning ears.
How do your ears hear? Do you have ears that hear truth and put it to work? Selah!