Examine your heart
By: Ysrael De la Cruz
Very often we wonder why some people grow faster than others; or why there are some who hardly grow in their faith. Scripture tells us why some people mature, and others do not. This is one of the things that concerns church leaders a lot. We know God expects us to grow and mature in our faith. But why is it that some people could be following Jesus for years and yet show no sign of maturity in their faith? Wouldn’t you like to know what keeps people from growing? Why some grow at a faster rate than others? Jesus had the answer to these questions during one of his parables in which he talked about farming or gardening.
Jesus was a busy preacher, everywhere he went large crowds followed him to hear his teaching and witness miracles. Jesus taught in parables (an earthly story that contain spiritual meaning) Most of Jesus’ parables were explained to those who wanted to know the meaning.
This is known by the gospel writers as the parable of the sower or the parable of the soils.
The parable (v.5-8)
Four types of soil:
–Path: trampled and eaten
-Rocky soil: no moisture, the plant withered
–Thorny soil: choked the plant
–Good soil: plant grew and produced fruit.
He who has ears, let them hear. (v.8) Listen up people
The disciples wanted to know the meaning to this parable (v.9)
The reason Jesus spoke in parable to separate those who really care about the kingdom from those who did not. God’s secrets of the kingdom were for his followers and not for the whole crowd; some in the crowds were not really after Jesus. Seeing, but they don’t see (perceive). Hearing, but yet now understanding. The disciples are the only ones coming to Jesus seeking for the meaning of the parable.
The parable explained (v.11-15)
The Seed=God’s word
4 types of soil =four types of heart
The path = hard hearts (hear, but the word is taken away from their heart by the devil. They do not believe and don’t get to be saved). The word of God does not penetrate their hearts because their hearts are hard.
Rocky soil = shallow hearts (hear, receive the word with joy, no deep roots, they believe until they are tested, then fall away. Those who believe only when things are going well. This is a superficial response to the Gospel of Jesus). Why did they fall away? Because their hearts were shallow; the word of God did not take roots in their hearts. There are lots of people in churches, following Jesus until they go through trials, then they fall away.
Thorny soil =overwhelmed hearts (they hear and believe, but they allow thorns to grow alongside the plants. The plant is overwhelmed by the thorns. Thorns = life’s worries, riches and pleasures. These things will choke the word of God, so it will not produce fruit in you. These are the Christians who never mature because the “thorns” overwhelmed their hearts. What things are choking the productivity of God’s word in you? Jesus said that the worries of life” what are you worried about? The pursue of riches or pleasures will hinder God’s word from producing fruit in you. These Christians do not mature. You will never mature until you get rid of those thorns and allow God’s word to grow freely in your heart.
The good soil = receptive hearts (v.15) (they hear, believe and retain it and eventually produce fruit. These are those who get to mature. The word of God is fruitful in their hearts because they receive it and persevere.
The Seed was the same, the word of God. There were four different types of soil. Growth and maturity as Christians only come from God’s word; letting it penetrate our hearts and produce the intended fruit God wants in us. But When God’s word does not produce fruit in us; it is time to examine our hearts. How is your heart?
Do you want to know why you may not be growing in your faith?
Because you have a heart problem. It may be hard, shallow or thorny.
There are those whose hearts are hardened, for years they listen to the word of God preached but nothing happens to them.
Others hear, believe for a while, you see them in church, but then fall away because they did not let the word of God develop roots in them. Others believe and it seems that they may mature, but they let other things (thorns) choke the progress of the word of God in their hearts. Then I see others who grow at a fast pace because their hearts were receptive; they persevere and retained what they heard. They get to grow and produce a crop for God’s glory. Receptive hearts grow and mature.
This parable is very encouraging to those who preach God’s word. We keep on sowing it, and occasionally falls on receptive hearts and we rejoice when we see God at work in those hearts. The seed was the same, the word of God, but it fell on four different soils. How is your heart this morning? Hard, shallow, overwhelmed, or receptive?
I just got done sowing the seed, whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.