Last week, I dove back into God's Word for the first time in a while. With babies, homeschooling, chores and all the other things that go along with being a stay at home mom of three children five and under, it's really easy to "justify" not spending time in the Word.
I fought for this time of reconnecting with God through the inspired Words that so many people struggled over centuries to put into print (for me! And you!) It has been a battle since I have not yet mastered the art of waking up long before everyone in my house. (Note to self: make this happen!)
So with the baby napping, and the older two children semi-occupied with toys or a television show, I would sit, pen in hand, ready to underline Words that ministered grace to my soul and spirit.
Then one day, things got hectic, and I didn't get around to my new routine. By early afternoon, there was frustration, raised (angry) voices (okay, just one...mine!), and general chaos. Nothing had gone the way I planned for that day, and I began to wonder, "is God punishing me for not reading my Bible today?!"
"Is God punishing me for not reading my Bible today?!"
The immediate answer I "heard" in my spirit: "NO!"
Right after that, I was reminded of the parable of the sower in Mark 4:
3“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
14 The sower sows the word. 15 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. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 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. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 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. 20 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.”
Could it be that my heart is like the wayside? Or the stony ground? Now, I'm not generally one to blame the devil for all the mishaps of life. Sometimes, it's just me. But Satan really doesn't want the Word to take root in my life. Oh, God has got me! No doubt about that. But Satan wants to do everything in his power to make sure that the Word doesn't influence my actions, my relationships, my world (and all the people in it).
If I'm not busy tending the soil of my heart, the birds of the air would like nothing better than to steal away the seeds that have been planted. Distractions come. Children misbehave. Plans unravel. First and foremost, I need to make sure I'm guarding and protecting the precious Words God sows in my heart. Prayer waters them, and acting on the Word (James 1:22-23) tills the soil, until slowly but surely, the soil becomes good ground.
So, no. God does not punish me for neglecting His Word. But I can't bear fruit for Him if I am not diligent to seek after His Words and put them into practice. The enemy sure would like to distract me, sometimes right away, and I need to be aware and know that he likes to sneak in little attacks along the way. But, man! Sometimes it's hard to see through it to the bigger picture.