Verse: Matthew 13:18-23
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
This has always been one of my favorite parables that Jesus told. I think it is powerfully relevant every time I read it.
If you look at our lives, we are always in some way battling one (or all) of the bad soils:
1) Lazy Faith
2) Shallow Faith
3) Half-hearted Faith
Lazy faith happens when we don't want to take the time to let God's word penetrate our heart. We might hear it and feel slightly moved or convicted, but we don't take time to really take it seriously. Sometimes, for me, it can be because I know what God is speaking to me is hard, or challenging. It's easier to just ignore it and move on, and do what I want.
Shallow faith is probably the easiest to slip into. We do the right things on the outside (go to church, etc) but on the inside we aren't actually cultivating a deep dependence on and relationship with God. God wants to have a close relationship with us. He wants his word to go deep into our hearts. As we spend time with God, spend time in community, and learn to surrender to his Word, we grow deeper and deeper roots in our faith.
Lastly, half-hearted faith is when we try to hold two things at once in our hands. We try to hold our faith in Jesus and our desire for wordly pleasure. This "divided heart" is unsustainable. We will eventually drop one. Jesus says if we aren't careful our desire for worldly pleasure can end up choking the life out of our faith in him.
As we read this today, allow the Holy Spirit to highlight any area in your life where you are slipping into one of these three bad soils. Allow his gentle conviction to stir your heart and motivate you to renew your faith. For me, the one I need to watch out for right now in my life is half-hearted faith. The temptation of worldy goods is something I need to constantly be careful of. How about you?
Help me to see where I am starting to slip into bad soil Lord. I need your grace and strength to continue in you!