In “The Parable of the Sower” as recorded in Mark 4:1-20, Jesus taught his followers that a farmer went out to sow his seeds by scattering them. Some of the seeds fell along the path and the birds came and ate them. Some fell on rocky places where they did not have much soil to anchor the roots so they withered away after germination and exposure to the elements. Others fell among thorns which grew up and choked the plants and prevented them from bearing fruits. Still other seeds fell on good soil and they grew and produced crops up to hundred times.
Later, when Jesus was alone, the twelve disciples and few others asked him about the meaning of the parable. Jesus explained to them that the farmer sows the word. Some people are like the seeds that fell along the path where the word was sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes the word that was sown in them. Others are like the seeds sown on rocky places. They hear the word, receive it with joy, but since they have no root, they are unable to survive when trouble or persecution comes. The seeds sown among thorns represent those who hear the word, but the worries of life and deceitfulness of wealth and desire for other things choke the word and make it unfruitful. Then, there were the seeds that fell on good soil. They represent those who hear the word, accept it, and produce crops up to hundred times.
Note that the Word of God is not reserved for any group of people. It is for the salvation of all and in all circumstances. The farmer scattered the seeds indiscriminately on good and bad soils. This is an example for Christians to spread the Gospel wherever we find ourselves, in good circumstances and in bad circumstances. The important criteria are obedience to God and willingness to spread the Word of God that has been freely given to us.
However, this article focuses on the first scenario -- the seeds that fell on the path where people hear the Word of God and Satan comes and takes it away. People hear the Word of God through many different means and occasions – written or spoken, through Bible reading, on radio, television, Internet, and particularly at Church services. For example, as pastors preach the Word of God during Church services, some members of the congregation may be wide awake and listening attentively, but the message may not stay with them because Satan takes it away soon thereafter. That may explain why some people attend Church Services regularly, but do not see much spiritual growth in their lives. They are victims of theft by Satan.
The message about the Word of God, however it is obtained, is a precious gift from God to all people, but Satan takes it away from some of us. In many societies, a person who takes away something of value belonging to another person without the owner’s consent is a thief. And so Jesus was essentially calling Satan a thief when he said in John 10:10 that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but that he came so that we may have life and have it abundantly.
The faith needed to accept that Jesus gives abundant life is strongly linked with the Word of God. We know that without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). The Bible also tells us that Abraham believed God and God declared him righteous because of his faith (Genesis 15:6). And faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Therefore, if Satan takes the Word of God away from a person, he deprives that person of the faith needed to please God. He also deprives the person of salvation since the person has no faith to believe in God or bear any fruit for God.
Maybe an Old Testament idea from Moses might help us fight against Satan’s ability to take the Word of God away from us. After Moses presented the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel, he gave the following useful guidelines: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NIV). If we prayerfully approach the Word of God like a serious student preparing for final, terminal examinations, we will remember a lot and Satan cannot take everything away from us.
Unfortunately, the Word of God is not the only valuable thing Satan takes away or snatches from us. Satan takes away our peace, our joy, our happiness, our health, our success, our knowledge, our money and other properties, and our very lives. Satan is busy hovering over us like birds in the skies looking for opportunities to steal from us.
We should watch and guard against Satan’s determination to steal from us. We should submit to God, resist Satan, and he will flee from us (James 4:7). A conscious and determined effort to embrace the Word of God in a manner described above would go a long way.
The idea that Satan can take away what rightfully belongs to us must be of great concern to all of us. We cannot catch the thief called Satan, but we can pray and keep watch to minimize his chances of success in robbing us. Thieves hardly succeed in areas where the security is tight. Self-awareness and being on guard would be helpful. So would serious approach to studying, understanding, and retaining the Word of God. We should also reject any friendship overtures from Satan that would make him comfortable or feel welcome to enter and live in our hearts.
Prayer is the key. May God grant us the grace to seek Him daily through our prayers.
Dr. Daniel Gyebi, Attorney-at-Law, Texas, U.S.A., and Founder, PrayerHouse Ministry, Kumasi, Ghana.
PrayerHouse Ministry is dedicated to providing a quiet facility for Christians to pray individually by themselves without any intermediary priest, pastor or any other person. This is a free service. No money is demanded or accepted. One facility is located at Kyerekrom / Fumesua, near Building and Road Research Institute Offices, one mile off the Kumasi-Accra Road and next to a house called Grace Castle. If you are interested, please contact Agnes at 054-7498653. Another is located at Kantinkyiren, at the junction of Kantinkyiren and Konkori, off the Kumasi-Obuasi Road, branching left at Trede junction. Contact Kwadwo at 020-8768461 / 0246-989413.