What is Your Heart's Condition?
"And He said to them, 'Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred,'" (Mark 4:13-20, NKJV).
Ever been called a ‘dirt bag’? Well, take it as a compliment! Especially if you discover you’re good dirt! In the parable of the sower, Jesus described four types of people by comparing their heart condition—receptivity to His Word and fruitfulness—with dirt. Perhaps the most interesting and sobering part of his parable is the realization that 75% of the dirt—that is, heart types—He described did not cut the mustard with Him.
Let’s look at the other two types of heart conditions Jesus described and let’s make good choices on what type of dirt we want to be!
Thorny Dirt: This describes the person who hears the Word and it grows! Their soil is so fertile everything grows there. They don’t seem to have the discipline or discernment to recognize or focus on things that really matter. This person might follow the Lord for a while, be a Bible study leader, on staff at a church, do missions work or a host of other ministry roles. Things are tooling along until thorns start to grow in their soil. The cares of life, the deceitfulness of riches and the love of other things creep in and choke the Word so that it becomes unfruitful. Wow! How sad it that story?
Jesus describes three thorns.
Thorn 1: The “cares of the world” is a thorn that comes to all of us. The world is defined in 1 John as the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. All of these things pull on us for attention and if we get distracted by these thorns, we will feel the need to use all of our energies on these things and we will be fruitless.
Thorn 2: The “deceitfulness of riches” is a big one. We all like nice things and we like them now! The idea of delayed gratification and trusting God for His blessings in His timing requires faith and patience and the thorny ground has no tolerance for this. They can make more money by working and skipping church, not tithing, getting two or three jobs, cheating on their taxes and being a little unethical. Choke. Choke.
Thorn 3: The love of other things is another big thorn. This one is subtle. It goes something like this, “This is ridiculous. You’ve been serving the Lord for a while, burning the midnight oil, giving your all and now it’s time for you to do something you want to do. You’ve put in your time. You’ve served the Lord, but there are ‘other’ things you know? Think about it—you could spend ALL of your time focused on you! C’mon, what’s the point of producing eternal fruit, studying the Word, winning people to Christ, praying or serving God? Let someone else do the work of praying, preaching, serving, worshipping and giving. Sure, you can give God a bit of your token attention, but the rest of the church/Christian life is a waste of your precious time...”
Thorns are crafty and enticing and before you know it, they have choked the Word. At the end of the day, there is no fruit.
How do we help someone with thorny dirt? We need some powerful miracle weed-killer! We must keep an eternal perspective and associate with people who are like-minded. There are plenty of people ready and willing to talk us out of the plan of God, so if we are going to produce fruit, we must remind ourselves that this temporary life is not the end of the story. Remember, when you seek first His kingdom, He finds a way of adding all of these other things to you. He will make sure the desires of your heart are fulfilled!
Good Dirt: Jesus said the good ground was dirt that hears the Word, accepts the Word and bears fruit. This is a person with an honest and good heart; they are faithful to God and His purposes and they obey Him to sow their lives into His kingdom. This is not for the faint, the weak or the weary. The good soil person has made a choice to enrich themselves with the Word and Spirit and keep the main thing the main thing. The good dirt realizes that they were designed to produce fruit and they focus on doing just that. Some people’s lives produce 30, 60 or 100 fold in fruit!
Our dirt determines our fruitfulness! What dirt best describes your heart? Wayside dirt? Stony dirt? Thorny dirt? Good dirt?
What kind of dirt do you want your heart to be? Let’s pray…
Say It: “Father, I want my heart to be identified with the good soil. I want to hear Your Word, receive it, accept it and produce fruit. Help me to weed, feed and nourish the dirt of my heart with things that matter. May I produce 30, 60 and 100 fold in fruit for Your kingdom and Your purposes. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
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