Matthew 13: 1-23
Luke 8: 4-15
Remember, knowing where your heart is with God before embarking on prayer and fasting is very important. God knows our hearts better than we do; nothing can be hidden from Him. There are 4 types of soil or attitudes of the heart biblically represented. We discussed the first 2 types of the soil or attitudes of the heart on the previous blog. Now here are the final 2 types. Do you identify where you are?
Roadside soil or a hardened heart
Rocky soil or shallow/superficial heart
Thorny soil or worldly/distracted heart
Good soil or ready/fertile heart
THORNY SOIL or WORLDLY/DISTRACTED HEART “Other seeds fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them.” [Matthew 13:7]
This is where the word is heard, but the care of life distracts the individual, and she becomes unfruitful. This is where the believer surrounds themselves with people that are not like minded, and she focuses on the things of the world more than the things of God. The unbelievers and worldly things/gains flourish in their lives and their Godly character sickens and dies, choked to death for lack of spiritual food, air, and sunshine. We are cautioned to not be unequally yoked “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” [2 Cor 6: 14-18].
Application: Oh yeah! Ladies Retreat was on fire! I felt delivered, all the issues that I was facing were addressed at the conference and I left there refreshed, and zealed up for Christ. But even though my issues were pointed out and I felt like God delivered me from my hot head and temper; I needed to make a few things right. I needed to apologize to my best friend and ask for forgiveness for some of the awful things I said. I needed to pay back the money I took that was not mine, or at least make amends, but I did not. You see, as the Word was springing forth and blossoming, there was something else growing in my heart as well - thistles, weeds, and thorns (issues of life) and they were growing fast, were strong, and they were deeply rooted. The roots of the thorns intermingle with the roots of our faith, and they begin to choke and strangle, and steal vital nutrients from our hearts.
There are issues in your life that you must address, uproot, or learn to face without getting depressed, anxious, or bothered. These issues can be so deeply grounded, rooted in your life that they give satan a stronghold in your life. When satan gets a hold of something that is unconfessed or not addressed, he does not let you forget it or walk away from it. You may think you have gotten rid of it, but have you dug it up at the root? Some of these things can only be released or uprooted by prayer and fasting. Until you dig up and uproot these strongholds, they will keep popping up; reminding you, taunting you, strangling what God wants to make beautiful with their ugliness.
We cannot let the cares of this world choke and steal what God has for us—we must pull the thorns out by their roots when we recognize that they are trying to steal our blessings and spiritual growth.
GOOD SOIL or READY/FERTILE HEART “Other seeds fell on good soil and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.” [Matthew 13:8]
The seed is sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word and understands it, who most certainly bears fruit and produces some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.
When Jesus’ message falls on a heart that is humble and fertile enough to receive His Word, retain His instructions, and reflect His character and image, then we have a believer that is fruitful. Not all believers will bear the same fruit or the same level of fruitfulness. It is our individual responsibility to cultivate the soil of our hearts and be ready to receive and grow in Christ. Our heart is God’s field, and we are famers together with God. BUT God cannot use what is not there. You must hunger and thirst after righteousness to be filled. Your level of filling, and therefore fruitfulness, is dependent on your level of commitment and thirst.
APPLICATION: You must be vigilant and dedicated – catch and kill the little foxes that want to ruin your spiritual life and growth. A vigilant Christian knows how to care for her garden (spiritual life). She knows that the plants in the garden must be planted in rich soil, fertilized, and watered with prayer, worship, and reading God’s Word every day. It doesn’t mean that there are no rocks, weeds or thorns that grow in her garden; but it does mean that as she grows in Christ, and dies daily in Him, they live in relationship where He helps her to see and remove the rocks before, they become a problem and recognize the weeds and thorns before they become too firmly rooted in her life. She recognizes that a healthy garden requires time, patience and pruning, but she is devoted to her spiritual growth, so her garden will flourish, prosper, and yield a bountiful harvest to and for the glory of God.
WHAT IS THE ISSUE? Unfortunately, today, you can find examples among Christians of each type of soil or heart attitude. It is important to recognize that the first 3 soils do not prevail. To get to the fourth soil, we must vigilantly guard our heart against the dangers of the other three soils. Any of these soils will ultimately cause the death of the Word of God in the heart and no production of fruit for the glory and honor of God. The fourth soil of the heart is what every Christian should strive for in their walk with God for this is the fertile ground that bears fruit for our Lord. In this soil the Word of God abundantly grows, flourishes, and produces fruitful crop that blesses, nourishes, and strengthens the heart.
It is easy for the soil of our heart to be contaminated and either remain or regress into one of these spiritually hazardous soils. But the soil of the heart can change. It is never doomed to stay in any of these soils for a lifetime. Even if your heart is the fertile ground of the fourth soil, there is no guarantee that it will not lapse into one of the other three soils.
THINK ABOUT IT! When I stop to really think about this, I feel challenged to take a closer look at my everyday life. It is good to check the condition of your soil, where is the Word falling (have I become so comfortable and prideful that I believe that I am okay with the status quo?); What kind of crop is God Word’s producing in me? Am I a woman who display godly character no matter who I am interacting with or what situation I am facing? Do I handle daily frustrations in a way that reflects a heart that loves the Lord?
ASK YOURSELF THIS: As I examine my “heart soil” in preparation for our annual global time of prayer and fasting, “What type of soil am I?”
2 Corinthians 13:5-6, 8 says, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth.”
If we want it to be obvious to the world and in our lives that we spend time with God, we must do more than just get by. We must choose to spend time with God and allow His Word to take root in our lives – to interrupt us, rearrange us, and redirect us – DAILY!
Get your heart ready for 21 days of prayer and fasting. Read Matthew 6: 1-18
v. 6: “But when you pray, go into your room, and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
v. 16-18: “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Prayer for you: Oh, Lord my God. Touch my sister. Help her to be intentional as she examines and test the soil of her heart to see where she is in You. Reveal the condition of her soil to her so, that she knows what to do to get the soil to be fertile. Help her not to be afraid of what she may find. Help her to realize that You know everything about her that you are patiently and lovingly waiting to guide and heal her. Help her to realize that You will loving taking her where You know that she needs to go to realign her to Your purpose.