Developing Our Life
Developing Our Life, My Life, Your Life
By, James L. Thornton
God has given us life. Our life is like a farm or parcel of ground deeded to us for life.
God has given each of us, let’s say 1000 acres. Its up to each individual to work and develop his ground. The ground and the production thereof is what you make of it.
You may say “I had a big disadvantage when I started in life. I was born into a very poor family or born into a race, or culture, or nationality, which gave me disadvantages other people do not experience.” It’s not where you start in life, but where you end up, that matters. I can name you many people who started in life much worse off than you, and made God’s honor role. Nobody else can work your farm. You can’t lease it out to someone else to work. You must take care of your own life.
This study is intended to reach out to both Church members and those who are not. Everyone needs to take another look at their position in life and respond to the need.
We will start this study by looking at a portion of The Parable Of The Sower. Jesus didn’t just tell stories to take up peoples time, but each story has many messages in it. We want to liken this parable to the farm God has given to each of us. Every one of us has all these kinds of soil on the farm God has given us and it’s up to us to make it bear fruit.
Luke 8:5. “A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Don’t say, “That was not a good farmer, he should have known better than to just throw seeds on ground, and in places, that hasn’t been prepared.” I want to say right off this is your farm we are looking at.
1. Let Us Look At Our Farm:
By the age of 35-40 you have had time to develop your farm; this is one-half or more of your productive life. Remember I said we received 1000 acres of land or life to use. Let’s say you now have 500 acres of productive land. You have a running stream of water that flows into your farm. (Everyone who has the Holy Ghost has a river of living water).
You have buildings, barns, storage buildings, a house, fences, cows, horses, and chickens. You are raising corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, a small orchard, and a garden. Everything looks fine—but appearances are deceitful.
You need more production. It is hard to make ends meet, paying for 100,000 dollar tractors, trucks, combines, corn pickers, tools of all sort, and 100s of other things that make a farm go.
What do you do?
What can you do?
You can’t expect to raise two crops each season.
You try more fertilizer.
You order different kinds of seeds.
These things are helpful but it will only increase production by a small percentage.
What can you do?
You need to look at the other 500 acres God gave you.
The neglected portion of your life needs developing.
2. The Neglected 500 Acres:
We emphasize our strong points. Everybody talks about your strong points, the areas that are producing fruit. The neglected 500 acres can be made to be productive, It can be developed.
You say it’s all overgrown, rocky, hard ground, some swamps, and dark dense woody places. Two or three old cars or trucks to start a junk pile which has grown considerably—trees blown over by storms and left to rot away, and gullies that have been washed out by years of neglect.
“No Trespassing,” signs are posted here and there, “Do Not Enter,” “Stay out.” Are all these kind of things cluttering up your life? I sure hope not.
All of these things that fill the 500 acres of your life that are non-productive must be dealt with, cleaned up.
WHY? Because the 500 acres of non-productive land could make you lose the farm.
God wants to help you. More than that, God wants to get down in the dirt with you. He wants to work with His children. God is willing to do the heavy lifting, things you cannot do.
He yearns for our cooperation—But, He will not go where He not invited.
First Thing, You must take down the no trespassing signs, and let God in.
What are you hiding? What is it that you don’t want God to see? Have you got areas of your life that are off-limits to your pastor, your friends, your wife or husband? No trespassing. Some hidden things need to be uncovered.
Dark Places. Some things need to be brought out into the light. Darkness cannot survive in the light. While we hide our faults and failings, they grow larger—they develop a power over us.
Before we know it, we are planning our days around our self-destructive habits, much like an alcoholic plans his days around when he will drink. And the more we hide these faults and weaknesses, the more power they tend to have over us.
If they are serious enough and left unattended for long enough, they begin to control our whole life. But when we bring them to the light they lose their power over us.
You say, “My life is a mess.” But God has seen messes before—He has helped clean up worse messes than you present. God wants to clean up the “junk” in your life, pull up the stumps, and get the rocks hauled out. He wants to help drain the swamps and get the stream flowing in your life; He wants to help smooth out the gullies so your neglected land can be cultivated and fruit bearing. God wants to help you become a 100 fold Christian.
In the 1930’s my family moved to a very old and a very large farm, over 1500 acres. About one-half of it was productive land that could be plowed with a mule team, about one-fourth was woods, but much of the rest was rocky, stump-filled and lay idle covered with wild growth.
For three years, during the time when there was no crops to plow, or harvest, my dad and I, as a very young boy, took the wagon and a team of mules to those non-productive areas and hauled wagon load after wagon load of rocks out and piled them along the river bank. It seemed like we were wasting our time, and the job would never get done.
At other times we would pull stumps by taking a long pole and chaining one end to the stump and tying the mules to the other end of the pole and twisting the stump out. If the stump could not be twisted out that way we dug under the stump and put in 3 or 4 sticks of dynamite to blow it up. We cleared an acre at a time, not an acre a day but an acre at a time. Slowly but surely crop-land was cleared, productive land.
Today, many years have passed and the farmers are working the once-waste land that my dad and I cleared not realizing what it once looked like.
So let’s get started on the non-productive 500 acres.
3. First Step Is Conviction:
I hope the Holy Ghost has worked on your heart in some of the things I have said. Old time preachers called it “Conviction.”
That’s the way the Holy Ghost works.
It convicts us of our sins.
It makes us realize that we are sinners. That’s what conviction is.
John the Baptist’s preaching brought conviction on the multitude.
What a preacher!
When the people were brought face to face with their sins they were moved to act.
Mark 5:1. tells us “They came confessing their sins and were baptized by John.”
A woman was brought to Jesus one day having been caught in adultery, and the men wanted to stone her. Jesus stooped and wrote in the sand, and then said, “He that is without sin let him cast the first stone.”
John 8:9. “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”
Some people are convicted and just walk away. They do nothing about it. I’ve seen people who were under conviction, lose their appetite, and lose sleep fighting conviction. Conviction brings us before God just as we are. Yield to conviction.
Conviction leads to confession. “I am a sinner.” Admit your sins.
John writing to church members,
8. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)
Jesus didn’t come for the healthy, He came for the sick. We all do things that are wrong and that makes us a lesser person. We say things that hurt others or hurt other by not saying things we ought to day. Like “I’m sorry,” “pardon me,” “or “forgive me.”
Deep down within we don’t want to think, say, and do theses things. I don’t want to be the lesser person—I really want to be the best version of myself, and I’m sure you do to.
2. Nominal Christianity:
Spiritually you are living a nominal (minimum) Christian life.
The first 500 acres are your spiritual strength.
Everyone has good points, hardly anyone is completely bad.
That’s where the Gospel of Jesus Christ speaks to our hearts. (Read Romans 7:14-25).
Confession Leads To Repentance:
This was the message of John The Baptist—“Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
Jesus’ Message—“Repent for the kingdom of Heave is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17).
You say, “I repented a long time ago.”
Yet Christians need to repent.
Repentance is a powerful word. Repentance is a powerful event when it takes place in our lives. Repentance means the same as it did two-thousand years ago. Repent means “To turn back to God.”
Do you need to turn back to God?
Do you need to repent?
We often turn away from God in small ways—just for a moment—at other times in much larger ways. Turning our backs on God is an inner action.
It is quite possible for people to turn their back on God and still go to Church on Sunday. They still pay their tithes, and go through all the motions of Church life. The external actions don’t guarantee the internal actions. Have you turned your back on God? I certainly hope not.
Very few people turn their backs on God completely—maybe one or two areas of our lives. Just a little corner of our heart. Is there an area of your heart that you have turned your back on God?
Every journey towards something is a journey away from something. If we need to turn back to God—we also need to turn away from whatever led us away from God and keeps us away.
It may be that certain people have led you to stray from God. Perhaps possessions have distracted you or certain pleasures have seduced you into walking a wayward path.
Whatever it is that distracted you, it is important to realize that you cannot journey back to God and at the same time stay where you are.
Repentance is turning your back on the distractions and walk towards God. The journey to God is a journey away from the defects of your life.
Question: Are we willing to turn back to God? Are you willing to be more like what God is calling you to be?
Reality: I am a sinner and I need to be saved. I need to be saved from myself and from my sins.
I assure you sin and evil are real. There is a lot of evil in the world.
The line that separates good from evil is cast down the center of my heart and yours.
The Battle Is Within:
So the question is, are we willing to fight the battle?
If you need help, remember Jesus is ready to help you. Call out to Him, confess your sins to Him, turn toward Him in repentance, turn away from evil, and seek His forgiveness.
Luke 8:8 “And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
I want to be a hundredfold Christian, how about you?
By, James L. Thornton