Is Your Ground Fertile

And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8:4-8)

Over the last few weeks the Lord has been ministering to me about fruit and soil. After having a garden for a few years, I’ve come to realize the importance of having good, fertile soil and how it can help produce wonderful fruit and vegetables. If the soil isn’t tilled, rocks removed and weeds pulled out by the root, then the seed put into the ground will not grow and produce good fruit. If it does happen to grow, it won’t last and will come out withered and weak. Sometimes the soil can be bad, allowing nothing to grow which means we must dig it up and lay down some good soil or add something to the soil to help it to become good again. Once the seeds are planted, we must water the soil and keep it nourished to help the seed grow and produce good fruit.

As with the scripture in Luke 8, the soil the Lord is talking about is our hearts. This shows the importance of having a fertile heart so his seed, which is the Word of God, when planted can take root and grow and produce good fruit. What is the good fruit we are to produce? There are different ways to produce fruit but we can find one way in Galatians 5:22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

What constitutes bad fruit? We can find this in Galatians 5:18-21 which states it is the works of the flesh which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions (which is strong disagreements, quarreling and discord), heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.  Jesus states that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

In Luke 8, Jesus gives us 4 examples regarding sowing and soil and in verses 18-23, He explains what the parable means. It is important we understand this scripture and how it pertains to us. Just because we are Christians, it doesn’t mean our own soil, or hearts, can’t be tainted or turn bad as we go through this life. Our own hearts can be tainted through past issues rising up that we haven’t dealt with, through hurtful words and actions of others as well as through the trials we encounter. If our hearts are not correct, we will only be saying one thing but doing another which will be seen by those we are trying to bring to the Lord. We are not exempt because we bear the title “Christian”.

When the seed fell along the path, was trampled underfoot and then the birds of the air devoured it, this represents anyone who hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it. The evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. Here the responsibility is on both the person witnessing or teaching the Word and the receiver. It’s very important for us to make sure that those we witness to and the baby Christians that come under our care, fully understand the Word or seed we plant in them or the enemy will come and snatch whatever seed we planted away simply because we fail to take the time to fully explain it to them. It’s wrong to assume they will understand it the first time around. If it takes several times of explaining it to them just to make sure they understand then it’s vital we do it as God wants no one to perish. Some people could have been taught incorrectly so we must be careful about pointing a finger at a seasoned Christian saying they should know better. While this may be true, there may be something happening in their life at the moment which hinders them from producing good fruit. This is where patience comes into play, which is a result of nourished soil in our own hearts which produced the fruit of patience. Responsibility is also on the one receiving the word because once they receive it, if they don’t understand it, they must seek help in understanding and research it.

As for the seed that fell on rocky ground, let’s look at Luke 8:6 with Matthew 13:5-6

Luke 8:6 – And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.

Matthew 13:5-6 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.

The responsibility for this falls on the person receiving the Word, as it represents a person who receives the word and on the surface they exhibit excitement and joy, but when problems hit or persecution strikes, below the surface they have no root in the truth of the Word and they can only withstand persecution for so long before they fall away from God or what the Word tells them to do. You notice Luke 8 states it had no moisture. This means they did not continue watering their hearts with the Word of God. When we fail to water a seed it won’t grow. When we fail to water a plant, it will wither away and die. In Matthew 13:6 it states “when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away “The sun represents the Word and the heat it can bring when the truth of it is spoken. When we are persecuted for our beliefs, witnessing and teaching the Word, if we have not nourished our hearts daily with the Word of God, we will only be able to endure the persecution for a short time and then we will fall away under the pressure. We must water our hearts with the Word of God in order for our faith to grow stronger and the roots to grow deeper which means it will be difficult for someone to remove our faith because that root is deep and strong in our hearts. We can only spiritually live a short time without the nourishment of the word before we become sick with sin such as anger, jealousy, pride, greed, self-righteousness, and the like. By nourishing our hearts with the Word on a daily basis, this will give us strength to live and persevere under the pressure of persecution for our belief in Christ.

Luke 8:7 describes the seed that fell amongst the thorns. Jesus explains this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. We must be careful not to allow the things of this world to entice us or trap us or we risk it choking the word out of us and causing us to be unfruitful. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” We are not to seek the world and all it has to offer first but to seek God first. We must remember how Satan lured Adam and Eve into sin in Genesis 3:6. He tempted Eve through sight, by opening her eyes to something she was forbidden to have…the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. She was tempted by the power and knowledge it could provide her. She was tempted by her position or status…being like God as stated in Genesis 3:5. She was tempted through her sight and the lust of the flesh, wanting something so bad she felt she had to have it. She was tempted by believing it was something that would propel her further and once she fell into the temptation and took a bite, she then passed it to her husband for him to eat. We have to be careful with the things of the world and its enticements and then passing it on to others for them to partake of it or risk spiritual death.

Lastly, we have the seed that fell on good soil which produced grain. Jesus explains that this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” This represents the person who not only hears the word, but nourishes it daily with the Word of God, applies what it says, and shares it with others. This is the person who is unmoved by the problems and trials that come into their lives and firmly stands on the Word of God. This is the person who when under the fire of persecution, stand firm on the Word and continue to pray and wait for God to rescue them. This is the person who is confident in who they are in Christ and does not fear the negative words or actions of others and continue moving forward knowing that God is in control and continues applying His word in the situation.

When problems and trials come your way, don’t get upset and wonder why. Fall back on the Word, stand firm and wait on God’s rescue. Seek His guidance and wisdom. This doesn’t mean we will never worry and never be weak. This doesn’t mean we will never have a bad day or even a bad attitude. It just means that at the end of the day we will stand firm in our trial knowing that God will take care of everything, that He will rescue us and that He will provide for our every need. If you find yourself going through situations and weaknesses popping up. Know that it is possible that God is digging up things within yourself that need to come to the surface and leave. This isn’t a painless process. When He brings our weaknesses to the surface, it’s so we can face them, surrender them to Him and get rid of them, making room for good soil and good seed to be planted and watered and to grow good fruit to share with others.

Today, pray for fertile ground, not just for yourself but for others. Pray that God will prepare our hearts to receive his Word because He is always planting seeds…not just in non-believers and baby Christians, but in long time Christians as well. Pray for fertile hearts for those we want to witness to that they will receive the planted seed and the watering and that God will make it grow strong and firm.