March 22, 2010
I wish I was able to cultivate my backyard into a spacious garden where plants thrive and flourish. However, somehow I seem to kill every plant I touch. My Black Thumb sends every seed six feet under to its death sentence. In order to understand why devastation reigns supreme in my backyard, I headed over to Home Depot to seek advice from the garden experts. After answering numerous questions, my fears were relieved when they informed me the seeds lack of growth was not due solely to my incompetence, but rather the terrible soil in which it had been sown.
The expert informed me how the condition of the soil determined whether a seed would sprout or stay dormant, never to see the light of day. While some elements found in soil provide key nutrients, there are others that can be toxic to plants. Erosion, drought, rocks and other random organisms make it nearly impossible for growth to occur. In essence, the seed never stood a chance to develop deep roots.
Even though Luke 8:4-15 is often referred to as the Parable of the Sower, very little energy is spent focusing on the farmer himself. Instead great detail goes into describing the conditions of the various soils. This does not mean the identity of the Sower is insignificant. In fact, it is just the opposite. Without the Sower (Jesus Christ) taking the time to plant the seeds (word of God), no fruit would be produced from the soil (our hearts).
Yet, we need to ask ourselves: Why is Jesus so concerned over the environment the seed is placed in? What is He ultimately nudging us to do with what we have been told? Like the soil expert at Home Depot, Jesus understood how critical a role the condition of the soil plays in a seeds development.
If the seed in the parable represents the word of God then it should unsettle us how only one environment provided an ideal setting for the seed to bear fruit. So, what can we do to make the conditions ripe for our spiritual growth? It starts by immersing ourselves in the Word of God. To reflect Gods heart, we have to know Gods heart. We must allow the truth of scripture to define our actions, words and lives; yet at the same time understand how just like a seed our maturity and growth take time to develop. Weeds can pop up overnight, but mature fruit occurs over time.
A heart found in good soil is the place in which the character of God takes root in our lives. This good soil is a byproduct of a heart which is real, submissive, and tenacious in pursuing the qualities of their One Word. The seed that will bear fruit is the one which can withstand the heat, distraction, and everything else working against it. This last point is critical to understand as you begin to ponder your current struggles with your One Word and whether or not you might be good soil. You need to understand how faith doesnt eliminate the struggle. Rather faith perseveres until the fullness of God is demonstrated and His fruit is born. Good soil is not the finished work. Soil is simply a context for potential. When you cultivate, you dig. You move dirt around to make room. You create an area where you hope what you plant will grow. You create room to grow.
- Read Luke 8:4-15. Which of the four seeds most accurately reflects the condition of your heart right now and your receptiveness to your One Word? How long has your heart been like this? Is this a place that you find yourself often? If so, why? Are you comfortable in this place or is your heart longing for change?
- Read Colossians 2:6-7. How does the imagery found in this passage encourage you and provide comfort that change can occur through your One Word? How can you can begin to cultivate the soil to affect positive change in your heart? How will you be able to tell if your heart is softening toward this change?
Are you looking for a way to keep your word in front of you all year long? Register for a My One Word account! One of the key features of a MOW account is an online Word Journal that allows you to capture your thoughts to reflective questions like you see above. You can go back at any time to read your completed journals to see how God has been moving in your life through your word in 2010. If you already have an account, the questions from this blog have been posted to your Word Journal — log in to your account to start your Word Journal today!