And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word (in an honest and good heart) and understands it and accept(s) it and hold(s) it fast; who indeed bears fruit with perseverance, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” (From: Matthew 13: 23, Mark 4:20, Luke 8:15 NASB – see comments below)
So what makes good soil?
1) It can’t be trodden underfoot and packed down like the path. We must allow God to turn the earth and break up the fallow ground. We must submit to the plowing of the Lord.
2) It can’t be full of rocks, and resistant to the sunlight, and must have the ability to take on water. How does a young Christian deal with affliction, persecution and temptation? Here is where the body comes into play.
We must be the body. We must stand together to support and comfort one another. And when I say comfort, I am not talking about patting each other on the hand and feeling sorry. I am talking about the real meaning of the word.
Com = with Fort = Strength.
The Holy Spirit is the One who comes along side us and brings strength – but He often uses the Body to do it. We must stand together in days of loss and sorrow, in days of persecution, and in days of temptation.
3) It can’t be full of thorns. When the enemy rises up with lies that would draw us away from the faith, when riches declare to us that they will protect us and exalt themselves against what we know is the truth, we must hold fast to Jesus, the truth. We must simplify our lives and pull the distractions from our soil.
This done – how do we hear?
- With an honest heart
- With a good heart.
- With understanding
- With acceptance
- Holding fast to it
- With perseverance [Tweet This]
Let me be honest here. Until I combined these three tellings of this parable, I had no idea there was so much involved in hearing. No wonder Jesus counsels “He who has ears let him hear.
Hearing is an activity, and never passive. Do not think that because you have a preachers voice washing over your ears, that you have heard the voice of the Spirit. You must DO the work of hearing. [Tweet This]
First prepare your heart (I know - I said that already) Is your's an honest heart? Are you honest with your self about the state of your heart. Do you claim (even to yourself) a level of love for the Lord that does not exist in reality? Is your heart wearing a mask that even you can't detect?
Is your heart a good heart? There is none good but God, so a good heart is one where the Lord God resides.
Then you must do what you need to do to understand what you have heard. How does it apply to your life. If the only application you have found is for your spouse or kids or the neighbor who you wish would behave, YOU HAVE NOT HEARD!. He was talking to you.
Then you must accept it – perhaps this will require repentance – course correction, or perhaps a full about-face.
Then you must hold fast to what you have heard. Don’t let the Word spoken to your heart slip away. Hold fast to what the Lord has spoken to you.
Finally you must persevere. Do it every day. Work it, walk it, let it become part of you.
Now get ready for a harvest, a harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And a harvest of souls, added daily to the kingdom.
I believe this is a year the Lord wants to bring forth a harvest in your life. Will you prepare the soil?
He who has an ear - let him hear.
* The 3 passages have been interwoven using colors to show which passage each word originates from. I have not added anything, just pulled from the NASB in each case. Red text is from Matthew, green from Mark and blue from Luke.