Ok, I’m back to blogging and excited to do some additional writing! It’s been a busy year away from this blog, but I’ll be back, especially during the 21 Day of Prayer and Fasting. I’m planning to open this year with writing through some of the Parables of Jesus.
If you’re not familiar, Jesus taught some of the most amazing things through His Parables. Obviously, He was a smart dude, but the depth of his teachings are so amazing. Let me start with one of the more famous ones, and one that I’ve been working through again recently.
The Parable of the Sower
If you need to read the actual text, do so HERE. (seriously, take the time to read it real quick)
Let me give a few observations:
There are many types of people who hear the Word, listen to the Word, reject the Word, get confused by the Word, disregard the Word. Jesus mentioned 4 types of heart responses – the hard hearted (path), the immature zealot (stoney ground), the distracted or ultimately disinterested rejector (among thorns), and the receptive heart (good soil).
Jesus’ descriptions of these 4 types of people STILL EXIST TODAY! I’ve been in ministry for a long time now, and I’ve seen all 4 of these types of people. In fact, I’ve BEEN all 4 types of these people throughout my journey with God. Growing up, I was hard hearted. As a brand new believer, I was the immature zealot who had fast growth and was quick to struggle with faith when I didn’t understand, was offended, or couldn’t “argue others in.” Life happens, kids came along, job needs and money needs, and especially furthering my education did a number on my spiritual life. Literally these new cares and concerns became the priority over vibrant faith, and I spent 2 years in seminary NOT READING my Bible or praying. Choked out by the Thorns!
My prayer for the last 5 years, and when I started reading the Bible as a believer was that my heart would be GOOD SOIL so that I could receive the Word, trust it, believe it, and live according to it.
The Word never changes in this scenario. The “seed” is the same in all 4 scenarios. It is actually the ONE constant in the parable. Now, I live in a partly agricultural community, and I LOVE visiting some of my farmer friends, particularly during planting season. It’s so interesting that they will plant the same type of seed in hundreds of acres of fields, and no matter the field conditions, slope of the fields, water, etc. the same seed is sown. The fruit of the seed is actually dependent on the soil it is sown in.
In the same way, the WORD doesn’t change. But the condition of the heart it’s sown into makes the difference between whether or not it will take root, bear fruit, yield any lasting change, or not.
The condition of the soil is ALWAYS the responsibility of the farmer, and NEVER the responsibility of the seed! It’s not like better seeds will grow on a sidewalk. NO SEEDS grow on a sidewalk (hard heart). So, we must be constantly aware of the condition of our hearts.
Is our heart hardened against the seed of the Word of God? Are we resistant to God’s Word and His Truth?
Is our heart like the stoney ground? Do we have zealous yet immature responses to God’s Word, while refusing to grow in maturity and depth?
Perhaps your heart is like the thorns. Remember this: THORNS ALWAYS WIN! They have thicker and sturdier stalks, and will ultimately choke out the life of other plants. In the same way, the cares of this world will NEVER go away, and will always press your for more attention; thus choking out the Word! Stop caring more for the things of this world than the things of God and His Word! Just sayin…
Hopefully, your heart is good soil, and able to receive God’s Word and His Truth! If so, then you know the joy that comes with fruitful growth as a part of God’s family! If not, then YOU MUST cultivate your heart to become good soil. Turn the dirt! Clip the weeds out, put in the appropriate nutrients if you need them.
Cultivate your heart with prayer, repentance, submission to accountability if you need it. You may need to “lay aside” some junk in your life in order to cultivate your heart. Do it! It’s worth it!
My hope for you is that your heart would be good soil. That you not have short-lived faith in Jesus, but a long, healthy, & fruitful life in Him and in His Word!
Your turn, what do you do to cultivate your heart to receive the “seed” of God’s Word? How can you do Better?