March 16, 2010
Soil vs. Dirt
"But still others received the seed that fell on good soil. They are those who hear the message and understand it. They produce a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than the farmer planted."Matthew 13:23 (NIRV)
Being raised in the Arizona desert, I have a different approach to planting than folks in other parts of the country. This was pointed out to me clearly when I was in the beautiful and lush state of Oregon a few years ago.
Some friends and I were discussing the Bible story about sowing seeds and reaping a harvest. I made a comment about planting seed in dirt. "Actually," one of the ladies replied kindly, "seed gets put in soil."
I smiled, and said, "Maybe here it does, but in my part of the country, we've got dirt."
We laughed about that, but it's true. In many parts of the desert, in order to plant, we need to break up the dirt and replace it in part or in total, with good, nutritious soil. This soil is created with lots of additives, or brought in from somewhere else, like Oregon. Without healthy soil, our fruits and vegetables are only a poor reflection of what they could be.
Sadly, our hearts can sometimes be compared to hard dirt, resistant to the truth God longs to plant in it. When a seed of truth is presented to a hardened heart, it is not easily received or embraced. There might be an initial acceptance, but no long term change or "fruit."
Jesus told a parable recorded in Matthew 13 about those who hear the truth, and what they do with it. In the story, some of the hearers did not benefit from the good seed because their "soil" wasn't ready for it. As I read that parable, and considered the hard desert dirt, I wondered if there is any way we can soften hard hearts.
I believe the Bible, and the natural world, give us ways to do just that. Like planting in dirt, the first step is to break it up. We can break up the hardness of our hearts by asking God to search us and reveal the hard places. The psalmist asked God to do this in Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me…" (ASV).
Then we can bring healthy "soil" in to those places. For example, if God reveals there is unforgiveness in your heart, mix in God's truth about forgiveness. You might memorize Luke 17:4, "If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him" (NIV).
Finally, keep your heart "watered" so it doesn't harden again. Jesus declared that He was living water, and that when we believe in Him, streams of water will flow from within (John 7:38). This water is the Holy Spirit, who lives in us when we believe and keeps our hearts receptive to God.
I believe God longs to bring many believers into a more mature and vibrant faith, but hardened hearts keep us from growing. Having a heart receptive to truth is an important part of living a life that's productive and used by God. We may have lots of dirt in the desert … and our hearts … but where God's living water is, there is always an orchard ready to grow.
Dear Lord, thank You for making a way for even the hardest heart to soften. Help me see the areas of my heart that are hard like dirt. Please replace those places with healthy soil so that Your truth can produce a harvest in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
i am not, but i know I AM by Louie Giglio
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Read Matthew 13:1-23. Consider if you are like any of the examples given by Jesus.
Why do some people find it easier to accept the Bible as truth, while others struggle with it?
What are some reasons God's truth doesn't "stick" in our hearts?
What are some ways to increase your understanding of God's Word?
John 8:32, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (NIV)
1 John 1:8, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." (NIV)
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