Matthew 17:20 (NIV) He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Our youngest came to me the other night and asked to use the computer in my office. “Of course, you can.” I replied then inquiring what she would be doing. She then said three of the most dreaded words in the vocabulary of all school age mothers – I working on my “science fair project”. Cue in the horror movie music played during the climax just before the villain attacks. I asked no more – I have learned over the years. She disappeared into the office to begin the daunting task of finding a topic to test even though it really holds no real significance but teaches kids (and unsuspecting parents) about problem solving. Our oldest son is 26 years old. The one thing I will not miss about grade school is science fair projects. Can I get an “amen”?
The basic steps of a science fair project include a question, research plan, finding information and constructing a hypothesis. Using these steps, the student tests the hypothesis by doing an experiment, analyzing data, drawing a conclusion, and communicating the results. This is called the scientific method. Experiments determine cause and effect. Cause and effect relationships explain why things happen and allow us to reliably predict what will happen if you do something. In each experiment, there are variables. The independent variable is the one that is changed by the one who is conducting the study. The dependent variables are those things that react and produce a response in the testing. And then there is the constant variable which is the controlled variable. These are the factors that remain the same regardless of the other variables though they may respond differently. Now that you know how to do a science project with its many steps and variables let’s talk about constant.
The word “constant” is important in the life of a believer. God is constant. His Word is constant. His Way is constant. His Character is constant. His Love is constant. What is constant? It means something does not change or vary. It is to continue without pause or let up and is consistent. It is continual and persistent. Constancy means faithful, unswerving in love and devotion. Steadfast. Firm in mind and purpose. Certain. Confident. A constant is something that does not or cannot change of vary. In science, an experiment without a constant will not yield accurate data. A life of faith without a constant God will never yield fruit. Since God is not in question for He does not lie or change His Mind but remains constant. Who is the variable? You got it. It’s me. My love. My faith. My commitment. My ability to trust and yield. If my life does not yield fruit or promise, I am the variable in question.
Mark 4:30-32 (NIV) Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
As God created each human being, He took a little scoop, dipping it in faith, and poured a measure carefully into our heart. It is there for our use and absolute disposal. There are many variables that impact its growth and prosperity but nothing can limit its potential. It belongs to you. It was given to us by our Father to put to good use. Seeds left in packets will never grow roots, come up out of the ground, and produce leaves or fruit. Most will die in dormancy in those packets never having fulfillment of purpose. Seeds need good soil to grow. They must have sunshine and rain. There are many variables to natural and spiritual growth that are often taken for granted in life but essential to it.
A person can eat whatever they want for the first sixty years of their life without any ill effects. One day the same human being will begin to experience some chest pain and shortness of breath. A doctor will diagnose them with coronary artery disease or heart blockages due to a high fat and sodium diet that has impacted their heart. Would they have made better choices given this information sooner? You think you would but probably not. The American Heart Association spends millions and millions of dollars each year to inform people from an early age of the importance of a good nutrition and regular exercise. Most people ignore such information until they are faced with adverse conditions or heart disease.
The Kingdom of God is inside of each person ready to grow into a wonderful relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son. The Word of God promises that all of creation will have the opportunity to experience His Love and make the connection. What are we doing to cultivate the Kingdom in our life? It begins and ends with the mustard seed of faith in each human heart. Unless that seed, grows, takes root, and flourishes – it will die with us one day. The potential in the seed of faith is not limited by the person. A person can stop the potential of a seed by not letting it grow.
Matthew 13:19-23 (NIV) 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. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 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. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Reading the Parable of the Sower today, I feel alone in this place. Like God is the constant and I am the only variable. Sometimes I believe that God isolates us so that it forces us to look at our own heart compared to His Word, His Will and His Way rather than comparing our life to everyone else’s. My life with God is my own journey. The faith that I have been given to cultivate in my life is exclusive to me. No one else can grow my faith though people are often used to test it. Can I get an amen?
The Word of God is the potential of our faith revealed to us. If you can find it in the Bible, it is applicable to your life. God has no favorites. We are all His Favorites. God hates sin. All sin. Since we all need new mercy each day and live only by His Grace through faith, it is important to note that the potential in my seed of faith is the same as yours. The impossible is possible if I can believe. Your impossible is possible if you believe, too. With this in mind, we are all in this together.
God’s Word for our life is constant. When we believe His Word enough to invest our faith in it, it will yield fruit in our life. We will flourish by faith and have branches where others can roost. So let’s talk about the different variables of getting God’s Word and His Kingdom to grow in our life. First there is the seed that falls on hard hearts. It cannot grow because there is no brokenness. A stony heart has no knowledge of God’s Love so His Word is rejected as fiction, folly or false. Evil comes and exchanges truth for a lie. Then there is the Word heard and received with joy but a lack of proper rooting and grounding in the Love of God through Jesus Christ will not allow it to grow. Faith in anything or anyone other than the Lord will not grow anything good in us or through us. Other people hear the Word of God but then become distracted by the natural circumstances, adverse conditions or current situation. Worry produces doubt that chokes out the growing promise making its way from our heart to our head into reality. But the seed that falls on good soil has limitless potential in our life. We must get God’s Word into our heart and cultivate it by faith until it grows.
John 12:23-25 (NIV) Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
I Corinthians 15:36-38 (NIV) How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.
When my husband and I were first married, we began looking to buy a home. Our income was limited. Welcoming a new daughter in the first year, I became a stay-at-home mom. Our agent told us of a foreclosed house that was a good deal and just needed some work. Driving into the driveway, I noticed that although the house was disheveled yet there were flowers lining the flowerbeds in the front yard. On closer inspection, I discovered that they were artificial flowers planted in the ground. I was a bit disappointed. How many times do we put on a happy face when our heart is broken? Or maybe settle for something less because we are tired of waiting on God’s Best? Seeds will produce in time. But it takes time for seeds to produce. They may go through many seasons before fruit will be found on them. One thing that must happen is death to its current form. Are we willing to give up the comfort and control of life as we know it to have the promise of God’s Word achieved by faith? Faith is not in the boat but walking on the water in the midst of a storm. Faith can be misplaced. Even though His Disciples were with the Lord day and night, they still struggled with faithful development. We must be willing to die to self to have the potential of faith produced by God’s Word and His Spirit in our life. We must rely on the constancy of God for fulfillment allowing our flesh to die day by day. Walking by faith and not by sight grows potential and promise in our life. It is the death of me.
I Peter 1:22-23 (NIV) Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” (I Corinthians 3:6) The constant and absolute potential of my life is God’s Word and His Promises coming to pass in my life by faith. It will be the death of me to give way to the new life hidden inside me. I must learn to lay down my life in order to grow. Here is the secret. I can plant God’s Word in my heart. Many other variables can add to the developmental process but the foundational truth I must live by is that God always makes us grow. Too many times we attribute faith and spiritual growth to what we do when we are just a variable in the process. God is our constant. It is His Word that changes us from broken to beautiful. It is the investment that He made in our hearts during creation that is the game changer. Jesus died to set me free from the bondage of sin so that I can die to self with purpose and become a part of His Kingdom. I have Kingdom potential inside my heart that the Lord desperately is trying to release. It is personal. It is individual. It cannot add anything to the Kingdom until first God grows it in me. I must become the nonperishable seed through living and enduring in and through the Word of God, His Spirit and by faith in the process of cultivation that I am steady undergoing when I choose to seek Him wholeheartedly.
I used to think science projects would be the death of me. When you have three kids in four years, it is inevitable to become overwhelmed. When that just was not excitement, two more were added to the mix. There were days that I thought I would spend my entire life in the parent pickup line. Homework was never ending. I was always taking care of someone or doing something. Now we only have two little birds in our nest, one will graduate from high school next year and the other will be moving up to high school. The season of life that I thought would never end is slowly drawing to a close. It is easy to get lost in the role playing of life. People where so many different hats with a variety of responsibility – it is no wonder that the seeds of promise get lost in busy, overwhelmed, overwrought, and overloaded hearts filled with worry, stress and anxiety. Today the Lord is whispering to us – to let Him cultivate our life so we can thrive again. I must give my heart to the Lord along with everything and everyone in it for His Careful Inspection. He has given me promises and filled me with potential that alone I will never discover. They are impossible without Jesus Christ. By surrendering my life again, I can have all the possibilities of a Constant God with Unfailing Love. Every season of our life has fruitful potential. It is in Christ alone we find it.
Psalm 126:3-6 (NIV) The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.