Thursday, September 4, 2014

What Kind of Soil are You?

     I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being willing to fully receive the Word of God... to receive all that He tells us.  I don’t want to let anything or anyone steal the word that God has put in me. From this point on anytime you see the phrase “the word” I am referring to the scriptures found in the bible. That caused me to think about the “Parable of the Sower” found in Matthew 13:3-8 & 18-23
     What is a parable?  Briefly stated, it is a story shared to conceal or reveal a spiritual truth

Today we look at the four different soils that can be in our heart when receiving the Word of God.

Wayside - Indifferent Hearer – "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.  Matthew 13:19

     This hearer can be one of two people. He is like an unsaved person who comes in, hears the truth but is unwilling to accept it.  Or it’s the person who doesn’t take the Word of God seriously & just lay it lay there.  They only want to accept what they want from the bible. The seed has no chance to take root so the birds come snatch it.
Stony Ground - Emotional Hearer – “20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” Matthew 13:20-21 (emphasis mine)
     Look at how these verses describe this hearer. He has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, immediately he stumbles.  I looked up the Greek definition of the word “stumbles and it comes from a word that means, “offended.” These are hearers who are offended at the word of God. They don’t want to accept the truth that is being spoken. They are also “emotion driven”, meaning that when difficulties come along they give in the turmoil instead of turning to God.
Thorns - Double Minded Hearer – "Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”  Matthew 13:22
     When thorns and briars overtake an area, it proves unfruitful. The stuff underneath can’t grow like it should. The word has to compete against what the hearer thinks is right for himself instead of what the Lord is saying. Perhaps they were sincere at first, but later being committed to the word became an inconvenience. They have some understanding of the word, but too many things pulling at them because they allow sin to remain in their heart. One pastor said; “The sins that are allowed to stay in the harbor of the heart will surely manifest themselves, although they may be out of sight for a time, like thorns covered by the passing plough.”  They struggle because they’re still holding on to their “pet sins”. They want God in their life but they also want to do what they want to do. In James 1:14 it says it this way, "Each person is tempted when …enticed by his own desire." (Emphasis mine)
Good Soil - Honest Hearer "But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." Matthew 13:23
     Look at he characteristics of this hearer. 1) He hears – In other words he allows the seed of the word to go into the soil of his heart. He lets the seed be planted. 2) He understands –meaning he takes time to meditate on and study the word. This is how the germination of the seed takes place.  3) Bears Fruit – This means he applies the truth received and walks it out in his life. He is doer and not a hearer only. (James 1:23)  In spite of scorching, weeds, and the trial the seed survives or if you will, endures. He is not offended by the word. Yes, it may hurt at times but if we are truly God’s children we must expect discipline at times. He is our Heavenly Father and he desires that we grow more and more into the likeness of his son Jesus Christ. “A heart that has been ploughed & torn by the Spirit of God. Here the weeds & thorns have been cut up at the roots and gathered out. The heart that is truly anxious for spiritual things has no room for the cares and riches that hinder the one thing needful.” – (Pastor James Smith) And of course the one thing needful is Jesus Christ.
     The seed sown in good ground endures and it yields fruit.  Some 100 fold, some 60 fold, and    some 30 fold. What does this mean? It means that some will bear more fruit; the key is that we bear fruit at all. Most of us will never bear the fruit that Billy Graham has borne. But we should bear some sort of fruit if we're truly a disciple of Jesus.

     In closing, let me encourage you to examine the soil of your heart. Ask the Lord to show you if you have wayside, stony or thorny places in your heart that need to be plowed and cleared out by the Holy Spirit. It may hurt. It’s okay. Let the Holy Spirit have his way. You will be better person for it in the end. Until next time, keep the seed of the word growing in your heart so that you can produce some wonderful fruit for the Kingdom of God.