Sanctification, part 3: Seed and Water
Consider these two Bible verses: I Peter 1:23: ". . . having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever," and Isaiah 55:10-11: "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please. And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."
In these Scriptures, God gives us two different metaphors for His Word. The more we reflect on metaphors, the more we will understand spiritual truth. God's Word is likened to both seed and water. The life is in the seed. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God's Word is living and active. II Timothy tells us that God's Word is breathed by the Holy Spirit of God. And John 1:12-13 says that those who believe in Jesus are birthed into God's family by God Himself. Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that the Scriptures, the Word of God was written to lead them (and us) to Himself, to Christ, who is also called in John 1:1-5 the Word of God. Those same verses in John 1 say that in Him, that is, Jesus, the Word of God, is life.
Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1); Jesus is life (John 1:4); believing in Jesus causes us to be born into God's family (John 1:12). The Holy Spirit breathed the Word of God (II Timothy 3:16); the Word of God is the seed carrying the life (I Peter 1:23); the Word of God births us into God's family (I Peter 1:23). Do you see the interchangeability and interconnectedness of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God? You cannot separate one from the others. This is why the Word of God is living. The Word of God reveals the heart and mind of God the Father (I Corinthians 2:10-16); it is expressed and lived out in the life of God the Son, Jesus Christ; and it is spoken and revealed to us by God the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is inextricably intertwined with the Trinity, the One who is Life itself, the One who spoke all life into existence.
Paul also tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Our life in God cannot be separated from the Word of God. For the Word of God is the expression of the trinitarian God. His Life is embedded in and breathed through His Word, the Bible. As we spend time seeking God through His Word, His Life will germinate in us and begin to grow.
Germination and growth take time. There is a waiting period before fruit begins to blossom. But even then, the growth of the fruit to full maturity takes time. Perhaps this is why the Bible speaks of meditating on God's Word. Meditation takes time. It requires slowing down and purposeful concentration on God and what He has spoken. Through meditation we allow God's Word to germinate and grow within us. We are willing to take the time. The Life is in the Word.
But seeds also require water. Water causes things to grow; it accomplishes the purpose of making seeds to sprout and bringing forth fruit. Here in Washington State the Columbia River flows through some very barren desert terrain. For a state that's known for its lush greenery, this seems surprisingly out of place. The river itself seems out of place. How can such a mighty river flow through such barrenness? Yet where the water of that river is channeled into irrigation ditches and sprinkler systems, groves of trees, green lawns, beautiful flowers, and the most productive of fruit orchards grow. Jesus said that whoever comes to Him and believes in Him would have rivers of living water flow from within them. John tells us that He was speaking of the Holy Spirit who would be given to those who believe (John 7:37-39). And Jesus told the Samaritan woman that whoever drank of the water He had to give, that water would become within us a fountain of water springing up into eternal life (John 4:14).
Water enables life. We live on the far western side of the state, which gets lots and lots of rain each year. The land is rich and dense with foliage. The trees are tall and drip with moss. The more rain, the more life. As quoted in the first paragraph, the Bible likens the Word of God to rainwater. Here again, we see the merging metaphors of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. As we allow the Word of God to flow through our lives and to fall on us faithfully, continually over time, it will bring forth Life; it will bear fruit, for it is the very breath of God. The more water, the more life.
The Word of God is both the seed that contains the Life and the water that enables the seed to sprout and grow and produce fruit. Meditation is the process over time. Receive the implanted Word (James 1:21); it is able to save our souls. The Life within the seed of that Word begins to overtake the barrenness. And let the water of the Word fall gently onto that Word to keep it growing—day in and day out.
The psalmist expresses it this way: Blessed is the one who delights greatly in the Law (Word) of God, meditating on it day and night. He shall be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper. That's a promise that's too outstanding to let slip through our fingers with the claim that we're too busy. Busyness leads to barrenness. Taking time to meditate on the Word of God leads to lush fruitfulness. It may not be seen today or tomorrow or next week, but Life will spring forth, grow, and produce an abundant harvest. Try it. Wait. You'll see.