Evaluating the Hearts Condition
As I pondered on the word cultivate, I was immediately drawn to agricultural imagery. Ideas of tilling the ground, raking up the dry soil and preparing it for planting new seeds. I thought of how the dry ground is broken up to discover the potent soil that lies beneath. I began to wonder how unpleasant it must be in the position of the ground as if it was a person, to experience such pain in order for seeds that are planted to grow and yield fruits. Growth and fruitfulness at times can only be experienced by going through this painful process of cultivation. There is such a thing as growing pains which you can’t avoid, they have to be endured in order to grow.
God is our cultivator. If you are able to acknowledge God as the cultivator of your life, He will pull things out of your life, tear down and break up the dry soul, your heart, so that it is ready to receive what He has for you. I think self-evaluation is important to know where our hearts are at; without it, we won’t allow God in to do what He wants to do.
The parable of the sower perfectly depicts the different soils that would require cultivation in order for the seed to flourish. Parables are often used metaphorically to describe something else, in this case, it is the conditions of our hearts. When the word of God is released how we receive it is dependent on the state of our hearts.
Four types of soils taken from Mark 4:1-20 (New King James Version):
These seeds fell by the wayside and the birds of the air came and devoured it. When the word is sown, Satan immediately comes and takes away the words that were sown in his heart.
We need to stay close to God. Satan will only steal the word away if he catches us unaware or we are idle. We may be in places we are not meant to be where the enemy has free reign to do as he wishes with us. We need to stay alert, as the enemy’s only goal is to steal, kill and destroy.
THE STONEY GROUND
It had no depth of earth. In the shallow ground the seeds immediately sprang up and because it was not deeply rooted in the ground, it withered away.
When these hearts hear the word they receive it with gladness, they have no root in themselves and only endure for a time. When tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, they immediately stumble. For the word’s sake implies that we will be tested concerning the word that we so gladly received.
We may read, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3, NKJV)
We would gladly receive this promise and desire to experience such, but then in the next moment we will be faced with a challenge that would require us to keep the faith and our eyes fixed on him. Will we sink or swim in that situation? Some may stumble forgetting the promise they heard a few moments before.
THE THORNY GROUND
These seeds fell among the thorny ground, the thorns grew up and choked the seed up and it yielded no crop.
This category of people hears the word, then the cares of the world and desires for other things in life choke up the word making it unfruitful. Worry and fear in our lives cannot compete with the word; we can either decide to believe one or the other. Something has to give. It is very easy to allow the cares of life to take center stage in our life but we need to constantly remind ourselves of whom and whose we are.
These seeds fell on good ground and yielded crops that sprang up and increased and produced fruit.
Seed sown on good ground are likened to those that hear the word and it becomes fruitful, it gives life and light to situations. The word is evident in the person’s life, what they produce, their actions, character and their ability to disciple others prove they are on good ground.
This particular parable highlights the effectiveness of the word being deposited in our lives and I imagine that seed as well as the word could represent the gifts God has given us to use to glorify him. What seed has God sown into you? Are you rooted enough in Him to be able to produce fruit? Do you need to get back to the source that is Jesus so that your seed is not choked up before it even has a chance to grow?
I personally have experienced being in multiple categories at different points in my life, and you may feel the same way too. Seasons change in our life and we will possibly see that our heart’s positioning may change because life happens, but our ultimate goal should be for our heart to be positioned and rooted in good ground. We must always aim for a heart that is rooted in Him.
Which ground are you? A continual self-evaluation of the positioning of our hearts is vital to ensure we are receptive to the word of God. This also includes us being obedient to God; that when we receive his word we don’t just sit on it, but we take it and run with it. We share it and teach others the way they should go. Once we begin bearing good fruit we must sow seeds in others so that they can bare their own fruit and they will then sow seeds in others to bare fruits. And so the cycle continues.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.