Born Into Battle
"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weed also appeared" (Matthew 13:24-26).
In this blog, I want to examine wheat's evil twin - tares, also called darnel. In this parable, notice that directly after the good seed is planted the enemy sneaks in to pollute the crop with counterfeit seed.
Tares look just like wheat. They grow along with the wheat and they're often not identified until almost grown. At harvest time, special care must be taken to separate the wheat from the tares because tares are poisonous. If people eat the seed they get a dizzy, off-balanced nauseous feeling. In large enough quantities it will kill a person.
Tares are mentioned all through literary texts as a symbol of subversion. For example, in the Journal of Ethnobiology it says, "Where there is darnel, there is treachery and toxicity." because of its mind-altering effects. (1)
Jesus used a Greek word for "enemy" that means "devil". It means hate -- not having hate, but being the personification of hate. It also means "liar" or "slanderer." We can assume from this that Jesus wants us to see the malicious intent of this sneaky sower.
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy" (John 10:10).
We know the "seed" represents God's Word. How many times do we hear a teaching from Scripture and soon after something comes along that counters that truth? The battle we are born into is the conflict between Truth and Falsehood.
"Every philosophy, from Islam to communism, has arisen in reaction to Christianity." (2)
We see the first counterfeit seed sown in the garden when the devil tempted Eve with the words: "Did God really say?" (Genesis 3:1) I like the KJV "Hath God said?!"And so the battle began -- to trust God's Word or not. Down through the ages, all the way to your life and mine, his seeds of deception are sown to challenge every truth planted in our hearts.
We know that life in Christ carries a joy beyond happiness and inexhaustible blessing, but our conversion also comes with strenuous conflict as the spirit of this world, Satan, seeks to undermine what we believe.
We do no service to preach a peace without preaching the conflict that comes with it. Believers in Christ Jesus belong to a Kingdom not of this world. So, battles will always come to steal our blessings. Salvation in Christ turns us in a different direction. It sends us upstream, against the currents of this world.
The whole world "...lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1John 5:18b).
We have to keep watch! If the servants hadn't been sleeping, they could have stopped the enemy. They were supposed to be watching. We have to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. When falsehood, doubt, unbelief, or fear comes in - kick it out!
Then stand on the truth of God's Word.
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 24:41).
"Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully" (2 John 1:8).
"Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful" (Colossians 4:2).
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13).
(1) Wheat's Evil Twin has been Intoxicating Humans for Centuries. https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/wheats-evil-twin-has-been-intoxicating-humans-for-centuries The Journal of Ethnobiology.
(2) Christ's Words, The Mysteries of Jesus' Greek Revealed, https://christswords.com/main/content/mat-1325-while-men-slept-his-enemy