The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God's word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!" - Matthew 13: 23 (NLT)
The Parable of the Sower. Usually used theologically to discuss how people initially react to the Word of God we can also use it today to examine how the believer reacts to the Word on an individual basis. In this day of modern technology we are exposed more frequently to the Word through different mediums. We go to hear the Word preached at church on Sundays or maybe a prayer service. We can read the Word on our own at home. We can watch our favorite preachers on television. Through the Internet we can listen to pod-casts, watch YouTube, or use various computer programs to further enhance the Word for us. Each separate time we have the Word imparted to us it is an opportunity for so many things. It can be a moment of great revelation for us. It can be an opportunity for God to speak directly into our lives and current situations. It can reassure us. It can build our faith. It can confirm something we have been seeking an answer on. All of this and so much more await us every single time we receive God's Word. We need to treat it with a greater importance than we currently do. Because there are four outcomes from hearing the Word of God according to the Parable of the Sower and only one of them is positive.
God uses the metaphor of a sower and seed to emphasize certain inherent truths. The Word of God is meant to go down deep inside of us and grow. It is meant to help us grow. It carries with it the essentials of life, as a seed does. It is meant to be tended to. We water the seed when we pray. We water the seed when we study. We water the seed by seeking out the deeper things of God. We are meant to be good soil beloved. Good soil is ready to receive the seed. A farmer tills the soil before planting s o that the soil is less dense on the surface, allowing seeds to be easily buried once sown . The more we are about the business of God the less dense our topsoil will be. The more we fall away the harder it is for the seed to find its way down into who we are. Then there are always the elements which wage war against us:
The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don't understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. - Matthew 13: 19 (NLT)
The birds came and snatched away the seed. I often have spoken to Christians who simply did not understand the Word that was preached. Often embarrassed, Christians will not want to admit such for the risk of not appearing as "spiritual" as everyone else. I have even heard some twisted Christianese logic such as "the Word must not have been meant for me." ALL of God's Word is meant for us. It is the enemy who seeks to steal away the seeds God is trying to plant inside of us. I have also heard the lament from Christians that they do not understand the Bible when they read it. Instead of internalizing the message from God they end up internalizing the guilt from the enemy. This of course leads to less Bible reading habits. Who wants to feel inferior? This is of course exactly what the enemy wants.
We need to practice our other Christian disciplines better if we are to expect to start receiving the deeper truths of God in His Word. The Bible says that the things of God are spiritually discerned. We try too often to turn the Bible into an academic exercise when it really is a spiritual one. What is our prayer life like? How is our daily relationship with God? The Spirit of God living inside of us will lead us into all truth. Also, a quick word about expectancy. I think as Christians we fall so short sometimes in what we expect from God. I do not understand how we can go to church and not expect to have an encounter with God. Why go? Because we serve in a ministry? Because all our friends are there? Because we feel we are supposed to? None of those are good reasons for going to church. We should be going to meet God. He will always show up. Likewise, when we sit down to read the Bible; what are our expectations? Are we reading the Bible because we think we are required to? Because the Pastor said we should? Beloved, if we want to get more out of the Words God is speaking into our hearts then we must prepare the soil better by expecting more from God.
The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don't have deep roots, they don't last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God's word. - Matthew 13: 20-21 (NLT)
Have you ever dealt with someone who is full of the Christian bells and whistles while in church but cannot seem to apply any of the learned principles to their everyday lives? Have you been there before? I know I have. Knowledge without application is useless. We all know how to play church. We know how to play the part. We know when to shout amen and take copious notes during the sermon. Then we know how to even discuss it when we go out for coffee after service. The Word was meant for so much more than that. It was meant to empower us through the valleys we face in this life. I remember once dealing with someone close who was struggling in the faith. I would recite a Scripture and she would say "I know that." My answer would be that knowing it is not enough because you have stopped believing it. Faith is an action verb. It requires something from us. The three Hebrew boys knew the God they served: