In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus spoke a parable which became known as ‘The Parable of the Sower’. This parable was used to illustrate the four different responses that people have to hearing God’s Word. Each different response is represented by a different type of ground, with only one out of the four being what Jesus called ‘good ground’. So how do we make sure that we are ‘good ground’ for God’s Word? How to we ensure that the devil is not able to deceive us into missing out on what God has for us?
They have no desire to understand it.
Let’s look at the four different types of ground that Jesus describes. The first type of ground where the seeds fell, is called ‘the wayside’, or ‘the path’. Verse 4 says, “Some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up“. Jesus’ own interpretation of this is, “The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.” (verse 19, The Living Bible). These are people who make no attempt to pay attention to a message that is being spoken, or to a passage they read in the Bible. They have no desire to understand it, because if they wanted to understand, they could. James 1:5, says “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God“. Psalm 119:130 says, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple“. The problem with wayside people, is not a lack of understanding, it is a lack of motivation to want to understand. So the first step to becoming ‘good ground’, is to earnestly desire God’s Word and to want to gain an ever deeper understanding of it.
They give up, often just before they would have received the promise.
The second type of ground is ‘stony places’. Jesus said in verses 20-21, “He that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it. Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended“. These people are keen to hear the Word of God, but they have no real commitment to it. They have not made God’s Word final authority in their lives. So when tough times or persecution come along, they fold. Hebrews 10:36 says, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise“. These people do not have that patience, and so they give up – often just before they would have received the promise. Do not be like that, determine that you will hear God’s Word and stick to it – no matter what. Keep your attention focused on Jesus.
We need to decide what we are going to believe.
The third type of ground is the ‘thorny ground’. Jesus said in verse 22, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful“. Once again, these are people that have eagerly received the Word, but they have trouble believing that it can really be true when their faith is tested. When situations come along that would be overcome by standing on God’s Word, the devil says to them the same thing he said to Eve: “Did God really say….?” or, “Is that really what God meant?” God has made us more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), but Satan will continue to defeat us and walk all over us, if we allow him to. We need to decide what we are going to believe: the Word of God, or circumstances. Circumstances can certainly be quite convincing, but remember that circumstances are subject to change, God’s Word is not. 1 Peter 1:25 says, “The word of the Lord endureth for ever“. Follow the advice that Paul gave in Ephesians chapter 6 and “having done all, to stand“. When you do this, you will emerge victorious every single time, and the devil will be where he belongs – under your feet.
It is the ‘good ground’ that produces a good life.
Which brings us to the final type of ground – the ‘good ground’. This is what we want, because it is the ‘good ground’ that is fruitful. It is the ‘good ground’ that produces a good life. Jesus described the people represented by the ‘good ground’ in verse 23, “He that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty“. The way to be ‘good ground’ is simple:
- Get as much of God’s Word into you as possible. Go to church and pay attention, read at least one chapter of the Bible daily, listen to anointed preachers on CD, DVD, Christian TV or via the internet, read Christian books by anointed men and women of God, etc.
- Make a determination to understand what you are reading and hearing. Ask God to help you, if you have any problems with understanding anything.
- Believe God’s Word above everything else. Above what other people say, above circumstances, above experiences, above everything.
- Make a determined decision to know God’s Word and to live by it, no matter what.
You need to decide if you want to be a half-hearted Christian, or a whole-hearted Christian. The choice is yours, but if you are lacklustre in your approach to God, the life you experience here will be somewhat lacklustre. But if you seek first the kingdom of God, if you determine to be ‘good ground’, then you will experience the abundant life that Jesus promised.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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