The Parable of the Sower describes Satan as a bird that swoops in and “takes away the word that was sown” in some of the people that we are seeking to disciple (Mark 4:15).
We know the parable well, but what does this actually look like in real life, and what do we do when it happens?
Listen to what Barnabas and Saul did when they saw it happening to Sergius Paulus, the Governor of Cyprus (Acts 13:6-12; see text at end of post).
This account shows us four things to do to keep Satan from taking away the seed we are sowing.
1. Be alert: observe and discern what is happening to those who are hearing the Gospel story. If something seems off, is it because they are experiencing spiritual opposition, social pressure or second thoughts?
2. Be responsive: follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. To do this well, do it consistently. Remember: Paul was able to speak up because he was “filled with the Holy Spirit.”
3. Be smart: let God deal with Satan. Paul didn’t go head-to-head with Satan – or even with Elymas. Paul simply announced what God was going to do.
4. Be expectant: God’s power and God’s word will accomplish God’s purposes. All we need to do is be alert, be responsive and be smart.
- Imagine the scene. What do you think Barnabas and John were doing while the focus was on Paul?
- What new insights does this account give you about the spiritual opposition faced by people of peace?
Share your thoughts and make it a conversation!
They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.
Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”
Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.