Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does bear fruit and yields: some 100, some 60, some 30 times what was sown.” - (Matt. 13:19–23)

So let’s take a closer look. The one sown on the path clearly describes someone who didn’t get it, who never believed. The seed never took root in their lives. That one’s easy. Then comes the one sown on rocky ground.

In this one you can see the “borrower” or the “renter” we talked about earlier, who has no root in himself—all of the root was in others around him. So in this case of borrowed faith, when pressure comes, faith flies out the window. When the rubber hits the road and things get tough, your faith—not being yours to begin with—serves no purpose, gives no hope, and offers no help. Next, the seeds sown among the thorns could be used to describe the one who picks and chooses. The seed finds earth, it digs in, but since its roots are entangled with the roots of thorns, the entanglement or the mixture of multiple beliefs that are inconsistent with each other chokes out faith.

When you pick and choose the parts of God that you want for yourself, you create another God— one that cannot survive the worries of everyday life. And finally, Jesus talks about a fourth landing place for the seeds, and that is the good ground. In this case, the seed finds nice deep soil to bury itself in and take root, and since there are no weeds competing for the attention of the water and the sun, the seed can grow fat and happy and eventually spring up through the earth and climb toward the sun. In this case we see a seed that grows into a tree that then grows more seeds that fall to the ground and plants more trees. This kind of faith multiplies its fruit.

It grows nourishment for those that come to it, it feeds them and makes them want more, and it speaks to the kindness and goodness of the one who sowed the seeds in the first place. If you feel like your faith is on rocky ground and the thorns are fighting to rule your life, then your faith in God may be faltering or all together gone. You may feel Him to be ineffective, distant, unavailable—and because of that, you’ve given up on Him, or at least kept Him at arm’s length. That’s because the truth is that the seed of faith has yet to take root. If your faith doesn’t feel like your own, the truth might be that the seed never truly took root in your life.

That’s good news—it means that the faith that you find ineffective, a failure, was never true faith at all. This just proves that faith in anything or anyone other than God is not faith at all. When your faith isn’t your own, but another’s, when you do not own it, it does not change you, it does not cost you, and it will not save you. And so knowing that, you can be done with the cheap imitation because it has proven to be of no value. Believing what you have had until today was true faith and it just wasn’t enough is the biggest lie you’ve ever believed. 

True faith is powerful and life changing. Fake faith is ineffective and life sucking. But when the seed of faith falls onto good ground, when God clears away the weeds and you receive the seed, true faith can grow. So let’s take a look at what true faith looks like. Let’s all start with the assumption that up until now you were living a lie, a pretend faith—one that looked and sounded real, but you know deep down was anything but genuine.

Let’s start from there and consider what it means to find your faith anew. To see it for what it really is for the first time as you start to consider giving up the charade and instead truly own your faith.

*This Excerpt Published 9/25/2013