We all know the parable of the Sower, from Mark chapter four. It is a well preached message. A man sows grain in a field and it falls into four different kinds of soil. There was the pathway, the rocky ground, the thorny soil and the good soil.
This parable was one of the most preached messages in my childhood. But I never understood the meaning of it and did not know what it was referring to. Sure, I had an understanding that it is about the state of our heart, but it was only in the light of recent events that I have really begun to "see" and understand just how critical the message of this parable is. This parable holds the key to our ability to yield a fruitful harvest. There is a knowing which only comes through personal experience.
In this parable, Jesus reveals specific issues of the heart which hinder us from yielding a harvest. So, what are the issues of the heart? What are those things that stop us from allowing God's word to grow in our heart and bear the fruit of change to our lives?
"The sower sows God's message. Some people are like the seeds that fall along the path; as soon as they hear the message, Satan comes and takes it away.
Other people are like the seeds that fall on the rocky ground. As soon as they hear the message, they receive it gladly. But it does not sink deep into them, and they don't last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once.
Other people are like the seeds sown among the thorn bushes. These are the ones who hear the message, but the worries about this life, the love for riches, and all other kinds of desires crowd in and choke the message, and they don't bear fruit.
But other people are like seeds sown in good soil. They hear the message, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred." Mark 4:14-20 GNT
I have been meditating on this scripture over the past few weeks. As God is talking to me about this passage, I have seen these heart issues manifesting as real struggles in people's lives, including my own. I would like to unpack the areas God has been highlighting to me.
The seed that fell on the path was taken by the satan. Some people have a path set in their heart and even though they hear the same messages, the enemy steals the word away and their is no sign of change in their lives. These are people who have in their hearts a path of success, but they are seeking to acheive it according to good works, and worldly wisdom.
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 14:12 NLT
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. Matthew 7:13 AMP
What areas in our hearts do we still have a pathway, a plan or a formula to success? This is how the enemy can snatch away what God is trying to tell us in this area. Our own plans and pathways will block our hearts from the true message.
The seed which fell into the rocky ground had immediate growth, but could not withstand any persecution. Any rocks of offense in our hearts will trigger when trouble or persecution comes. An offended heart builds a wall around the hurt area to protect itself so that noone can touch it or put pressure on that area. But these areas of offense also stop the Word of God from growing and producing a harvest. As soon as we face pressure, God's Word in our heart dies. Offense leads us into doublemindedness and insecurity so we are forced to build walls of self-protection around our heart so we feel safe. Only, the hardness of heart which comes from offenses makes that whole area of our heart become unfruitful.
And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart. Ezekiel 11:19 NLT
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Ephesians 4:18 NIV
We need to open our heart before God so that He can reveal to us the true state of our heart. God is the one who tests and tries our hearts
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts. Psalm 139:23 ESV
"The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12-13 ESV
When we see ourselves in truth, then we are able to deal with these things in our heart. We will be able to say with confidence that our hearts will be pure gold.
But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. Job 23:10 NLT
And the additional bonus is that with a pure heart, we have complete access to stand in God's holy place and see God.
Who may climb the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure. Psalm 24:3-4 NLT
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8 NLT
What a joy to trade our heart issues for a deeper and more intimate relationship with our Father God!