Contention of the Dream
Words by Amanda Antcliff
I have been stirred by the theme "Dream Again" of this year’s Everywoman Gathering and a prophetic message the Gathering's founder Chris Pringle shared recently that NOW is the time when God is redeeming old dreams, germinating dormant dreams, and sowing new dreams into the hearts of His daughters.
The Parable of the Sower talks about seeds which are like the dreams resting in our hearts (Mark 4:3-8, 13-20). In this story, the farmer sows seeds that fall into a variety of different soil conditions, which in turn determine if the seed will survive … grow roots … mature … and ultimately produce fruit. The four different scenarios represent the different lives of believers and their level of fruitfulness - but most importantly, the contentions they face to see the seed flourish. Every dream starts with a seed and that seed will be fiercely contested. We must be ready and willing to fight for the seed to not only germinate but also to grow and then become exceedingly fruitful.
The parable speaks about the potential and the significance of seeds. These seeds, which are sown into our heart and lives by God may be:
Desires hoping to be fulfilled
Gifts waiting to be expressed
Talents longing to be revealed
Knowledge eager to be learnt
Adventures hungry to be experienced
Creative ideas waiting to be expressed
Careers waiting to be seized
Businesses ready to be birthed
Dreams ready to be accomplished
Calling waiting to be fulfilled
The four plant scenarios also speak about four different contentions we can experience to see the seeds germinate, grow and become fruitful.
Scenario 1: Seed Falls on Path and is Eaten by the Birds
Contention 1: Satan who steals the seed!
Satan hates the seed as it is the beginning of every significant project, dream, relationship and calling. He will do whatever he can to snatch the seed that God sows into our heart. Often he’ll do this through lies that undermine our confidence and cause us to sabotage the seeds. We need to actively identify and defy these lies. In my own life there have been difficult seasons when I have overcome strong feelings of frustration, depression and being unsuccessful. I’ve done this by exposing the lies that were speaking loudly in my heart. In this parable our heart is portrayed by the path and the rocky ground and it’s so important that we keep our hearts free from any emotion or attitude that will hinder the seed taking root. Disappointment, grief, rejection, shame and fear make our hearts barren and the seed will not be nourished to grow.
Scenario 2: Seed Falls on Rocky Places - the Sun Scorches it Causing the Plant to Wither
Contention 2: The strength of our character!
The fulfilment of a dream and producing anything of significance will demand us to be confident, resilient and disciplined. Strength and depth of character is what will cause the plant to overcome every trial and obstacle. Often the seeds sown into our life demand us to grow … they require us to be bigger people. The seed therefore can’t germinate and grow until we first work on strengthening our character.
Scenario 3: Seed Falls Amongst Weeds and Thorns, Strangling the Plant
Contention 3: Our priorities!
This plant represents a life that gets distracted, enticed or overwhelmed by the things of the world. In some different Bible versions it states that the thorns represent the pleasures of life … and the anxieties and ambitions of life. Unfortunately there are too many believer’s that fit this description. They are alive, but they’re not mature nor fruitful because their priorities are self-focused and not Kingdom focused. They are not willing to pay the price to serve others, to build the Church and live a life of significance.
Scenario 4: Seed Falls in Good Soil and produces a Crop 30, 60, 100 fold
Contention 4: Perseverance and capacity!
The measure of your fruitfulness will be determined by your willingness to persevere and to enlarge your capacity. Every new level of fruitfulness will demand you to hold on and to grow. To increase from 30 fold … to 60 fold … to 100 fold will take determination and a streeeeeetch!
Let me conclude by encouraging you to CONTEND for the seeds that God sows in your heart. Be ready to defy Satan, be prepared to strengthen your character, be willing to focus on Kingdom priorities, and lastly, be ready to persevere and be enlarged.
AMANDA ANTCLIFF Amanda is on the pastoral team at C3 Oxford Falls, a lecturer at C3 College and together with her husband Pat, they oversee C3 East Africa. Amanda is also a personal coach, trainer, writer and speaker in both church and business spheres. You can read about what she does at www.amandaantcliff.com or www.mypersonalcoach.biz.