Jesus relays a parable in the book of Matthew explaining what happens when we are ‘sleeping’ rather than watching in prayer.
But be sure that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. Matthew 24:43
Watchful is a term for being alert concerning spiritual matters, being attentively observant, and exercising care or restraint.
That being said, I want to draw your attention to another type of thief that comes in when we sleep, both corporately as a body and as individual Christians.
This thief comes along, and plants tares after the word of God is sown.
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. Matthew 13:24
This is a kingdom principle. When the seed, God’s word, is sown on the earth, the enemy comes along immediately to sow tares. You can know you are sleeping and not being watchful if you have yet to consider this spiritual principle.
The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. Luke 8:11,12
“So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Mark 4: 26-29
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. LUKE 8:11
Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 1 PETER 1:23
The enemy sows tares. The enemy, the devil, is a thief. He comes to kill, steal, and destroy. He does this by coming along after the seed is sown to sow his tares.
What is interesting is the interpretation of the word tares. It is the Greek word zizanion. This is a type of Darnel that resembles wheat. Darnel, known as Lolium temulentum is a false grain. It is an annual plant of the Lolium, Poaceae family. Which are types of grass.
Darnel grows in the same areas as wheat. In fact, it looks so much like wheat that it is often mistaken as wheat. Darnel however is a toxic grass.
Eaten in enough of a dose, Darnel can actually kill a person. Darnel seeds actually make a person drunk. It was used at one time to make beer.
The Latin word for Darnel is L. temulentum. It means ‘to get drunk’.
Darnel looks similar to wheat until the ear appears.
Farmers have to separate Darnel from the true harvest. Darnel today is removed by sorting machinery that separates it from wheat.
On closer observance, wheat can be distinguished from Darnel. Darnel has thinner spikes than wheat. However, if Darnel is plucked out too soon, the true wheat will be damaged.
At harvest time, the Darnel and wheat can be more easily distinguished.
Watching in prayer is making sure the seed that is planted is indeed wheat. We do this by observation or discernment in the Spirit.
Seeds can be separated before planting, but sometimes this process is difficult, so Jesus tells us to wait until harvest. Then, it will become clear which is wheat and which is not.
Sometimes people look and act like real Christians, or a ministry may seem to be of the Lord, or the message preached may seem sound, but after careful observance, we find that it is really Darnel, not wheat.
Also, sometimes wheat and Darnel grow together. There is a mix, and we need to be able to separate.
It is easier to spot a blatant false way than one that seems right but is slightly off. Since a little leaven will eventually grow, it’s best to separate ourselves before we get choked out from the false wheat!
One way to discern false wheat from true wheat is by comparing what the word of God says to what is being put forth. This is not so easy. Sometimes one must dig deeper to find false wheat. What looks true may be either outright false or have some false attributes.
All of us have been duped at one time or another by false wheat. This is because false wheat looks almost true. How can we know for sure what is true and what is false?
By doing what Jesus said, ‘watching and observing’. We must look closely to see if something is off. The Bible gives us guidelines on what to look for in this regard. I am not addressing in this blog blatant doctrinal error or cultish behaviors, (although that is part of the Darnell problem); I am talking more about distinguishing what is Biblically true from what is almost true.
Paul tells us that false teachers or false messages put people in bondage. Even if the word being presented has some truth in it, if that message is imposed upon another person, it becomes a work of law rather than an act of grace.
Paul tells us not to impose our views or our conscience upon others. While some have a clear conscience about eating meat, others do not. Some may feel that wearing makeup, jewelry, tattoos, what one eats, or how one worships is wrong. If a view is imposed on another person, then it becomes to them a form of law. Even if that view is grace to you. (Romans 14:1-23)
Christians should always operate in a graceful spirit. That does not mean we give license to sinful behavior, it means being respectful and graceful in our operation toward others. Even if we do not agree with them or practice our relationship with the Lord in the same way.
Let me give some examples.
Some Christians feel to get up and pray every day at 5 in the morning. Nothing is wrong with that, but if they impose it on others, then it becomes spiritual abuse. Law is imposed rather than grace being exercised.
That makes it, Darnell. False wheat. Why? Because everything, if it is not done in love with the objective of perfecting the saints for their spiritual growth, is the law.
The law brings death because no one can keep all its stringent requirements! My grace maybe someone else’s law!
Paul tells us that whatever bothers our conscience is a sin! We don’t know another person’s issues, culture or life journey. To impose our lifestyle on other people becomes a sin! It does not matter if it’s a good thing or not!
This Darnell I’m addressing is the Darnel of the law instead of grace. It can cover a whole bunch of things. The point is that grace is loving another person who does not live up to our standards!
Now the guy who gets up and prays every day from 5 am until 6 am, then goes to work all day, and then gets up at 5 am the next day and does the same thing has a pattern of prayer that works for him. However, the retired grandma who spends all day in prayer has a different schedule.
She gets up and works in the garden, praying and worshipping. Then she prays as she cooks dinner, prays while she shops, prays after dinner in her rocker, and prays before bed.
Shall Grandma impose that on all the people who have to work all day?
What about the biker or gang member who gets saved and has tattoos all over them? Should we condemn that guy for having tattoos before he was saved? Impose our law or grace on him?
What about the new believer addict in recovery? Should we impose a strict law-based schedule on that guy who doesn’t even know how to live straight, let alone adhere to a bunch of scriptural requirements?
Do you see the point? Spiritual adherence without love is the law. It is a form of Darnell.
The Pharisees tried imposing their stuff on Jesus all the time. He called it obeying jots and tittles.
Paul calls it ‘touch not, eat not, handle not’. (Colossians 2:21)
Legalism is Darnell disguised as wheat.
Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment after loving God is loving others.
Paul said that if we have faith to move mountains but don’t have love, then we are nothing.
Love is the greatest pursuit. God’s love is revealed through his grace. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
God’s grace teaches us to live godly. Living godly is being an example to others, not imposing our way of doing things on others.
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
In conclusion, Darnell is fake wheat. It is poisonous. It can even kill.
The law kills, but grace through Jesus Christ brings life. This is the true wheat. God’s word in the flesh!
Love that came down from heaven!
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