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Let's do a quick review. We are discussing those things that resist or inhibit a move of God. In the first lesson, we looked at demonic or enemy resistance to the move of God. We examined how Satan fights back, so it is important it is to maintain through prayer and intercession the ground that we gained that way. We saw that the enemy does not stop or give up. We learned that we can't stop and kick back and relax after taking some ground for God's kingdom. We have to actively work with God to maintain it once we've obtained it.
The next lesson shared how the biggest resistance to God's move is not enemy attacks and counter-attacks from outside. The biggest and most effective resistance to the move of God comes from within the hearts of God's people. We looked at the parable of the sower from Matthew 13, and found that it represents four different types of hearts. When God moves there are four different ways we may respond to Him. In that lesson, we examined the first of those hearts, the "closed heart." We saw that sometimes people are just too tired or worn out to work with God to substain His move. (The solution to that is to come back to God and allow Him to refresh and invigorate you.) We also saw that sometimes people are resistant to God's move because they have their own agendas and desires, and God's agenda seems to "mess up our plans". Or God many need to do a deep work in their heart, but they don't want to go through the "pain" that often accompanies the "refiner's fire." We also saw that people's expectations of how God "should" do it can make the resist God when He moves a different way than they expected Him to. That was all represented by the first soil in the parable, the hard soil.
Now we are ready to move on and examine the next soil. The second one is the rocky soil. This is the one where the plant grows and it grows at a constant rate. In regular soil, part of it is under the ground and it grows downward, and then the rest of it grows up. But if it is on the rocky soil, it can't go continue down and will spring up quickly on the top. What happens is that since there is no root there of no foundation because of the rocks, the sun comes and they get burned. It gets scorched and withers. The truth is that when God shows up, there is going to be some heat coming and you are going to feel the heat. You are going to get burned and scorched if you don't have a strong, deep foundation.
The rocky soil is the person who embraces the move of God. God comes by and they say, "Yes, Lord, Yes!" All of a sudden you see them catapult and they shoot up. And you say, "Man, they grew will quick.! Look at the power they are experiencing. They grew quickly in the Lord."
But then they just shoot back down because there is no foundation. They grow up and then they go back down. Why? Because they have rocky soil. They have to get rid of the rocks. We have rocks in our life and they keep us from experiencing the fullness of the Lord. They keep us from having a deep foundation.
What are these rocks? Some of these rocks can be past or present wounds. Wounds that we have experienced. Wounds by someone. Wounds that we have not been able to adequately and fully address and put behind us. We've been hurt, wounded, and offended, and we are not able to get past the pain of those things. We're still hanging on to the pain. The pain is still there. We haven't received the cleaning from the Lord, Who would cleanse the pain and free us of the pain. We just hang on to this thing. It becomes a rock.
So what happens is that we begin to grow in the Lord, but all of a sudden that rock is too big there and we can't go too deep with Him. We are unable to get pass that rock. Now there are some people who have rocks, who want to keep their rocks. They have this pain (rocks), and they want to keep them. They've buried this thing down deep, and they've got this nice little soil up there that looks really good, but they've got rocks underneath and they are going to keep them. "I want to keep my wounds. I want to keep that pain." I don't know why anyone would want to do that, but there are those who do.
Then there are those who do this. "Lord, I want to go deep with You, but I can't because I can't get over this pain." So, they dig up this rock and they pull it up. "Oh Lord, this is keeping me from adequately walking with You. Oh Lord, would You please take this rock?" So they give it to Him. But then they take it back. They plant it back in the dirt. You cannot get past it. Hello? What happens is that the enemy doesn't have to work hard to disable you, because basically you just hang onto those rocks.
Another rock could be sin. Sin that you are unwilling to forsake. When the Lord comes and we experience the glory and Presence of the Lord, we get really convicted. We confess our sins to Him because we know we should. But we are not ready to forsake our sin because we know that after this thing passes over, we are going to go back to it. We don't really forsake it. We just confess it. We know we shouldn't do it, so we say, "Yes, Lord. Let me experience Your Presence and Glory. Forgive me for that sin." However, in the back of my mind, I have already determined that I will go back to that thing. You haven't forsake it. You haven't given it up. It is a temporary stoppage.
Then another rock would be called fractured relationships. Some of you have unbelieving spouses. God touches you at church. You go home, and in a few words, all your joy is gone. Some relationships are going to stay fractured, but you can change the way you approach life. I know that because we see a biblical example of this. When it comes to rocks, I like to look at Paul. Paul said this, "I put it behind me and I go ahead." The NKJV puts it this way: Philippians 3:13-14, "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
If you're going to have good soil, you have to get rid of your rocks. You have to put them behind you. You have to give them up. Do you know how farmers convert rocky soil into good soil? They can do it, but it takes some time and it takes some work ... it requires plowing the ground. The plow digs deep and breaks up the soil and causes the rocks to be raised to the surface. Then the farmer comes along behind the plow and picks up the rocks and carts them away.
God wants to plow some of your hearts in a similar fashion. Plowing can hurt. It can be painful when God digs deep and it brings your rocks up to the surface. And it may seem like God is taking things away from you when He removes those pesty rocks. But what He is really doing is getting rid of those thing in your life that keep you from being good soil. He wants to do this for you so you can have a solid foundation and go deep in Him. Will you cooperate with Him on this? You have to receive it and then claim it if you want good soil.
Hosea 10:12 says, "Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you." Likewise, Jeremiah 4:3 says, "This is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: 'Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.'" In short, God is inviting us to cooperate with Him to get rid of those rocks and become good soil.
Let's take this out of the metaphor for a bit and get practical. How can you work with God to get the rocks out? How do you remove those things from your life that interfere with your walk with God? The first step is to invite God to examine your heart with you, to show you what is there and what He wants you to do about it. King David put it this way in Psalm 139, verses 23 to 24: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
The solution is that we go to God. We invite Him to examine us, make us aware of anything that needs to be changed. Then next step is to cooperate with us as He works His transformation in us. Choose to let go of those attitudes and sins that hold you back. Release the pain and allow God to heal you. Forgive those who have hurt you in the past and get rid of any bitterness. Stop doing those things you know are sin. If it is a struggle, bring them to God and ask Him to help you get His victory over them.