In the Biblical record and throughout Church history we see the principles of The Plow in action. Men and women who call out for the Hand of The Plow were able to fulfill the calling of there lives. A.W. Tozer summed up the choice presented to us from the backdrop of history as follows, “God works as long as His people live daringly: He ceases when they no longer need His aid.”
The Western Church, generally speaking, has built herself on fallow ground and the glories of the revivals of the past, or the history surrounding its particular denomination, or movement as some like to refer to their history. According to the Biblical example seen throughout Scripture there is always a remnant holding to the truth, willing to embrace The Plow, willing to take the risk to grow and become what God desires them to be. My hope of discussing The Plow is that you want to open yourself up to the pain of The Plow and fulfill the mandate of the great Commission – to become and subsequently make disciples, willing to live and disciple others with all boldness under the authority of Jesus Christ. To be a disciple is to embrace The Plow.
What are some examples of the fallowed life of the Western Church? One is the seeker-friendly and church growth movements which have become commonplace in the West. The emphasis on the growth of attendees that come to your church (usually by stealing people from other churches and/or watering down the Word of God) instead of the individual growth of the people is the problem of fallow ground. There is no discipleship in these churches even though if you ask their staff or the people that attend they will tell you they are disciple making. A problem with fallow ground is that it becomes satisfied with growing weeds. In some cases the teaching may be fantastic, which is half the command of the Great Commission, but there still is no discipleship. Discipleship happens only on plowed ground.
The other example of modern fallowed ground Churchianity is the feel good Christianity which is taught because it is what the people want in the Western consumer-driven life. This is seen in different teachings that come out of the fallowed ground mindset. Prosperity, health, and wealth are presented as the gospel for consumers which line up and purchase the easy life the Western world believes in more than the God they profess. You often hear people talk about God as the Santa Clause who caters to their every need. What can Jesus do for you? What can God do for your situation? These are all too popular sermon topics instead of teaching the solid food of the Word of God. Even so-called Christian Colleges seek to present a feel good environment where students engage in worldly activities with other Christians. They truly believe sin done in a safe and Christian location will be blessed of God. This life has come to be considered normal, but we know no growth happens on fallowed ground. The pain of The Plow is contrary to the ease of the world.
The point Tozer tried to make is that we all have a choice to make when it comes to The Plow. Which life do you want to live? Another idea is that the life of growth, the life seeking after The Plow, is a life of pain. We cannot escape growing pains. We can choose the easy life of Christian normalcy or choose the life that follows after The Plow of God, the life God commands His people. There is no Biblical basis for the easy life, the life of fallowed ground.
The fruitful kingdom life of a disciple can only be accomplished through exchanging the easy life of Western Christianity for Biblical Christianity that follows The Plow. We know in other areas of the world revival and true growth of the Body of believers is happening in proportions not seen in recent Church history. In Asia, Africa, and South America great growth is taking place, but it has come with much pain and sacrifice of people who are willing to follow after The Plow.
We need to make a conscious effort to submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and embrace The Plow by which He unsettles our fallow ground. Then we too can experience astonishing growth and fruitfulness; and then be used by the Lord to disciple others.