// LYNETTE ESTRADA
GOD WANTS US to be a living demonstration of all the good things He has placed in us as a testimony to the world. Where we are not only performing signs and wonders, but we are the sign and wonder. Getting to that place requires spiritual discipline, which is something most people don't want to hear. But if we are going to see results, it's necessary.
By studying the parable of the sower, we can learn how to demonstrate the goodness of God.
MARK 4:13–16, 20 (NKJV)
13 And He [Jesus] said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?
14 The sower sows the word.
15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred."
Jesus explains that the seed is God's Word. The ground represents the condition of our hearts. Verse 20 talks about the seed that is sown in good soil. This is the kind of heart that we should aspire to have. When the ground of our heart is good, we "hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit."
God expects us to bear fruit. It identifies us as Jesus' disciples (John 15:8), and it's what makes us a sign and a wonder. People should look at us in awe and ask, "How did you do that? You don't have an education. You don't have experience. How are you able to do what you're doing?"
The answer is found in the word "discipline."
1 CORINTHIANS 9:24–25 (NLT)
24 Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!
25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
Every day we should be intentionally disciplining ourselves as if we were training for something. Good athletes are disciplined in their training. Believers who want to be living demonstrations for God need to be disciplined in their spiritual training.
What does spiritual training and discipline look like for a child of God? It means praying each day with tenacity and reading our Bible daily. We are to connect with God and not merely go through the motions.
When situations aren't going right, we need to stay in faith and unwaveringly apply the Word to it until it turns around. It's a testimony to see our prayers answered—to us and others.
By being a living example, we are demonstrating God's goodness, faithfulness, and grace. We are declaring to the world, Heaven, and hell that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus.
It is God's will that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). How will this happen if we're not testifying by our lives, if we're not bearing fruit?
We must commit to disciplining ourselves to being a living example. The Holy Spirit will nudge us to pray and read our Bible instead of going out. When that happens, let's remember our commitment and respond to Him by making the necessary adjustments.
It will take focus and fight. But if we don't quit, we will see God's goodness and faithfulness in our lives. And those around us will see it too. Remember, we are here to be a demonstrator, to be a testimony, and to be a witness that God's Word is true.
[Editor's Note: Lynette Estrada co-pastors with her husband, Kenneth, at Kingdom Life Int'l. Church. This article was adapted from her session at Kindle the Flame 2017.]