1 On that day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, while the whole crowd stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “Consider the sower who went out to sow. 4 As he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. 6 But when the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it. 8 Still other seed fell on good ground and produced fruit: some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times what was sown. 9 Let anyone who has ears listen.”
One morning, my pastor asked our church, “What do you have to do to be conformed to this world?” As a 14-year-old, I began to think in legalistic terms…maybe hang out with bad friends, do drugs, watch inappropriate movies, etc. I was wrong. The pastor reminded us, “Nothing!” He went on to explain that we are bombarded by worldly influences every single day, and we must gauge the time we spend receiving God’s Word into our lives. In Jesus’ parable of the sower, we find that three types of soil did not receive the seed (or God’s Word).
I am a millennial, and I will admit that our generation does have an overabundance of weeds in our soil. Instead of recognizing God’s Word as the absolute truth, we search for authority in many different places. Voices from our culture, social media, and the news constantly contradict what the Bible teaches us. We are encouraged to “like” and “love” everything without diligent reflection or processing. It is evident that we desperately need help with the theological and spiritual weeds that are subtly planted and grown within us. We must be rooted in Jesus Christ and His Word by replacing the worldly affections of our hearts with the truth.
This parable is about the evangelistic ministry of the gospel, but it can also be applied to our lives as Christians. We want to mature in Christ, but much is at stake if these weeds are permitted to stay and grow within us. Thorns of selfishness, weeds of pride, and rocks of sin will cause destructive blows to our walk if they remain. We cannot do this on our own. It is only the power of the gospel that can purify and cleanse us from the inside out.
How are you responding to the gospel? Is it getting choked out? Is it shriveling up by persecution or your own hardened heart? Will you receive His Word and let it penetrate your roots? The power of the Spirit will bear the fruit of renewal and transformation in our lives.
May our hearts not be filled with weeds. Instead, may they be a well-tended garden of His fruit in and through us. Matthew Henry writes: “That which distinguished this good ground from the rest, was, in one word, fruitfulness. He does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but there were none that prevailed to hinder its fruitfulness. Stones or thorns may be found in the good soil of a true believer’s heart, but such obstructions do not finally prevent us from bearing fruit. Despite your remaining sin, is your life bearing fruit for Christ?”
Questions to Ask Yourself
- On most days, which soil best represents your heart in relation to God’s Word?
- God is the ultimate cultivator of our hearts. Is there anything you can do to come alongside him in preparing your heart to receive His Word?