In the last post I looked at the thorns that grow with the plants and how I found it interesting that the thorns seemed to already be there and that they continue to grow with the word. The word makes it clear that these thorns are the pleasures of this world that eventually choke the word out of us and so we should uproot these thorns in our lives. Now onto the good news, the good soil.
Luke 8:8 “Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
Luke 8:15 “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
The good soil is what we all aspire to be and we all can. I always thought that a heart like this was difficult to obtain but reading the word I saw (just like a lot of things God asks us to do) that this was quite simple.
The people who have hearts that are classed as good ground, hear the word, meditate on it and put it into action.
• Now hearing the word shouldn’t be too difficult if you attend a church, own a bible or have heard the word at some point of your life.
• Meditating on the word to retain it will take more energy but still should be simple (if you don’t have problems studying for exams or the like). Writing notes about what you just read or a sermon you just heard and reading it over later is a good way to retain it. Learning a song is always a good way to retain anything (people are always complaining about having catchy songs stuck in their head).
• The last point, putting it into action or persevering will be the hardest but with practice and humility it will become better. If you hear a sermon that challenges or condemns something that you do regularly, instead of getting defensive ask God for forgiveness and to help you overcome this. If you are sure that God is asking you to do something you go and do it no matter how scary it may look.
When you do all three of these things you will see the crop that produces a hundred fold.
In the last post I explored the seeds that fell on rocky ground and how they reminded me of someone who doesn’t have a deep understanding of the gospel and the way to tackle this is to study the Bible and find a mature Christian to mentor you. Today I want to look at the seeds that grow with thorns;
Luke 8:7 ‘Some seeds fell among thorns, which grew up with it and chocked the plants’
Luke 8:14 ‘The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.’
I find it interesting that the thorns were there before the seeds and that the thorns continue to grow with the seeds.
Sometimes we don’t even realise that we have thorns in our hearts until the word of God comes and challenges them. Thorns can come in the forms of bad habits, wrong ambitions, etc, which are clearly wrong or they can come in the form of things that are good but can take us away from God when too much importance is placed on them such as; desires and good ambitions, success, wealth, careers and hobbies. These are all good but when we start to worry about how to keep these things and keep God out of them, they can become thorns.
I know that it is easy for anything in our lives to turn into thorns and choke the word out of us, in practical terms the only way a gardener gets rid of thorns permanently is when they uproot them and so I challenge myself and you to uproot anything that chokes out Gods word, you don’t have to give up your desires or hobbies (if they are good in themselves) but the worry, stress or overwhelming need to control them needs to be given up.
Allow God to control your life and give all your worries to him.
Next time the good ground…
In the last post I talked about the seeds that has fallen by the wayside and how I could relate to that when I see people attend church for a long time yet don’t commit and also the dangers of the back of church. Carrying on with the parable in the context of those who sit in church, listen to the sermon and what they do with it. Here is the second example;
• The rocky ground-
Luke 8:6 ‘Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.’
Luke 8:13 ‘Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.’
For those whose hearts resemble the rocky ground you don’t have a deep understanding of the gospel. Unfortunately I have heard of many people who become Christians and are very enthusiastic for a while but then some discouraging event happens in their life, such as bereavement, failure or illness then they give up on God thinking that Christians should be immune to these things, not understanding that we are still living on planet earth so we will still experience disappointment but the gospel changes our attitude to our situations and gives hope.
If you find yourself in this type of situation I suggest giving the seed some moisture. Strive to understand the word and understand your faith especially those who are new Christians but it also goes to those who have been Christians for a while. You can look quite silly when someone asks you a question about your faith and you don’t know how to answer it, sometimes the question is difficult to answer well but most of the time the Bible has an answer to that question and you don’t know it because you don’t read or understand what you have read. Become more involved in your church, talk to people, join in group discussions and Bible studies do everything you can to understand.
Next time we will look at the thorns that grow with the plants…
I really like the parable of the sower found in Luke chapter 8 because it cleverly shows how different people receive and apply the word of God to their lives. When I read this parable I can just imagine all the people who are sat in church listening to the sermon and then go back into their weekly routine where one of the four example in the parable happen to them. Most examples in the parable don’t apply the word properly and so life gets in the way and word does not flourish. Here is the first example;
Luke 5:8 ‘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.’
Luke 5:12 ‘Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.’
I know there are many people whose hearts resemble the wayside. It makes me think of all the people who attend church for many years, mostly for tradition, yet they are not Christians. As for the people I know like this I didn’t even know that for all those years they weren’t Christians until they tell me that they just got saved.
It also reminds me of the many times I have sat at the back of church (where everyone is having their conversations and obviously did not come to church to listen) and I hear the sermon but have trouble retaining it because of all the distractions going on around me. It as if I never came to church in the first place.
If you are in the first situation I encourage you to ask yourself why do you come to church? Be honest especially if you have been going for years, church is a great place to be but what exactly are you getting out of it. If you find yourself in the second situation move to the front pews.
Next time we will look at the rocky ground.