I really enjoy working outside in my yard. I love all the beautiful array of color that both my perennials and annual flowers provide. If you have flower beds, you know that it takes time to keep them looking nice. The flowers need the sun and rain that God provides; but they also need us to make sure that they are getting enough water when we haven’t had rain, fertilizer them when needed and weeding when thorns try to crowd the flowers out.
In Matthew 13 Jesus tells a story about a farmer who is sowing some seed. Some of the seed falls along the path and some falls among the rocks. Some of the seed falls among thorns and some of the seed falls on good soil. The seed on the path is eaten by birds. The seed on the rocks starts to grow in shallow soil, but soon the hot sun scorches the plant and it withers away. The seed that falls among the thorns starts to grow but soon the thorns take over and choke the growing plants out. The seed that falls on good soil grows strong and thrives. The seeds that land on the good soil produce an abundant crop. Matthew 13:14-16 goes on to tell us, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
The soil in my yard is mostly clay. When it rains the soil becomes slimy and it clumps together. It is very messy to try to work in the soil when it is like this. When the ground is dry, this same soil becomes like cement. When you try to dig the weeds out, you are unable to dig very far below the surface. If you try to pull the weeds out they just break off and you are unable to pull out the roots.
The condition of my heart, my eyes and ears are like the soil Jesus teaches about in Matthew 13
I do go to church. I listen to God’s Word being proclaimed. I sing songs of praise. I pray with others both corporately and with individual people. But am I truly worshiping God? Do I humbly seek His Face? Do I expect Him to come and meet with me? What is the condition of the soil of my heart? Do I go to church because I am eager to learn more about Him or do I go to church just because I need to check it off my to do list? When God’s word is proclaimed, do I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to me or do I allow my mind to drift miles away? Do I sing songs of praise with joy to God who has saved me or do I mindlessly sing the words? When I pray, am I asking the Holy Spirit to pray through me or do I just rattle off spiritual sounding words?
When I work in my yard I know I will accomplish the most when the soil in my yard is not too wet and when it is not rock hard. To keep my flowers thriving and free of weeds requires me to work consistently in my yard. I cannot water, fertilize, and pull weeds one time and expect my flowers to flourish. I need to be consistent and do these things regularly. The same is true of me spiritually. If I want the soil of my heart to be good soil then I need to put some spiritual disciplines into practice. I need more than just church attendance. I need to spend time daily in God’s Word and in prayer with Him. I need to learn to be quiet so I can hear His still small voice. I need to ask the Holy Spirit to show me when the condition of my heart is becoming filled with rocks or thorns because of some choices I am making. I need to pull those weeds by confessing my sin and God who is faithful will forgive me so my heart is once again good soil. If I allow days or weeks to go by without reading God’s Word and spending time with Him in prayer then my heart becomes filled with more rocks; and if I continue to neglect spending time with God, I have stopped growing spiritually. The condition of my heart has turned to cement like the soil in my garden. My ears no longer hear His still small voice and my eyes no longer see Him working around me.
I have a choice to make, what kind of soil do I want to be?
Do I want to produce abundant and beautiful fruit or do I want to produce thorns and weeds? I choose to have a heart that is fully surrendered to God. A heart that asks God to give me an increasing hunger and thirst for Him. I ask for ears that hear, for eyes that see, and a heart that understands. What choice will you make?