The Living Word
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” Luke 8:4-8
The Word in Motion
At the risk of sounding like Forrest Gump, have you ever noticed how the Bible is like a box of chocolates? You never know what you’re going to get. One time you may read a verse and God opens your eyes to some truth that you never noticed. And then, years later, you may read that same verse and God shows you something entirely different. There are a few reasons that happens:
1. God is infinite. His word can take on any nuance he wishes. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
2. His word is living and active. “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.
And 3. His word will accomplish the work he desires. “So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11.
So it was the other day when I was reading the gospels. I was reading the parable of the Sower. (Which I think would be more aptly titled “The parable of the Soil”. But who wants that kind of dirty talk in the Bible?) Since I was preparing a Bible study, I dug a little deeper. No one really had much more to say that Jesus hadn’t already said in His own interpretation of the parable. I read a sermon by Charles Spurgon. His passion for the lost became evident. As he talked about each of the various soil types he pleaded with those there to respond to the Sower. He recognized that he was not responsible for plowing the field, but to faithfully sow the seed, though it pained him to see the seed fall on poor soil.
So as I’m reading this, I’m thinking, “OK, Lord, this is good, but this is a Bible study geared toward established Christians. We’re talking about our Heart Condition.” About then it clicked, as it probably just did for you. Soil conditions mimic the heart conditions. Just as there are four soil types, there are four heart conditions within each of us. We are, as it were, the field, and within that field there are areas that may be hard, rocky, weedy, and good.
When you look at God’s word, think of it as the seed. When he plants it in you, how do you respond?
1. It has no impact whatsoever. That, my friend, is hard, packed down soil. You are set in your ways and nothing will change you. That area of your life is your own business. For God’s purposes, this area of your life produces NO fruit at all. I could go on to describe it further, but you would only say, “I know someone who fits into that category.” You would never think that it applied to you. The hard truth is, there is a little packed soil in each of us. The Holy Spirit is the one who plows the soil (not us, as so many of us would like to think) “and he will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” Be assured, dear field, that God wants all of his field (you) to be productive, and when he comes across a bit of the field that isn’t up to par, he will plow it.
2. Some people will respond to words - like this - with great enthusiasm. It sounds right, good even. This is the word I needed. This doesn’t necessarily represent the whole of your life, but sometimes you procrastinate. The word was good, but there is something I have to do first. Or someone says something that gets you to thinking, “did I really hear God say that?” That’s the same old voice of the enemy, the birds of the air in the parable, that stole away the Seed from Adam and Eve. Will you let him steal from you too? Has God challenged you on some part of your character or actions or attitudes lately that you just don’t want to deal with? Is it too hard? That’s the rocky soil keeping you from going deep in your walk with the Lord. Throw away the rocks, respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Take care of it now so you can produce the fruit the Lord has planned for your life.
3. Are there areas of your life where you have received Gods promises and then let the cares of the world and the love of wealth choke it out? This one can be a little uncomfortable for some. You see your success as a sign of favor from God and therefore pursue it with a passion. While God may show people such favor from time to time, it will never be at the expense of your relationship with Him or others. If you have patches of weeds in your field you may find that the Word of God sometimes takes a back seat to your own success. You may find yourself reading it a little less every passing day until you don’t read it at all. You may find that fellowship with other believers has become less of a priority than, well, fill in the blank.
This is not to say that you have no good soil in your field at all, after all if you’re reading this far chances are you do. The good soil is where God has his way in your life. God wants you, his precious field, to be full of only good soil. Yield to the Holy Spirit when he convicts you. Let him condition your heart, your soil, so that you will produce the kind of fruit he has planted in you. Will you be the one who produces 30 times, 60 times, 100 times the amount sown?