Over the last two weeks we have been exploring what it means to be everything God called you to be… Discovering who you are in Christ and in response living for Christ with all you’ve got! If we are living for Christ and letting him work in our lives, we should see our lives affecting others around us.
So, How’s Your SOIL?
No, it’s not a misprint. I didn’t mean to put SOUL. I intentionally wrote SOIL. How good is your soil and what fruit are you producing? I have never claimed to have a green thumb, actually mine is more of a brown thumb. Now, living in South Texas with this heat… my plants don’t stand a chance. Sometimes it’s because of what I do to the plant, and sometimes it’s what I don’t do to the plant that kills it. Most of the time the soil is the issue. It’s either too dry (because I have forgotten to water it for over a month) or it’s too wet (because I realized I hadn’t watered it for over a month, then decide to make up for lost time by pouring a gallon of water on the plant). It could be that I didn’t plant it properly or that I planted it in the same pot and soil, as I had the last five plants I had killed. As we think about our life being the soil that God is sowing into, let’s read a parable that Jesus spoke in Matthew 13.
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 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, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
We notice in this scripture, that there were 4 types of soil. Jesus tells us that the seeds fell onto the path (hard soil), shallow soil (rocky ground), soil full of thorns, and good soil. As we begin to dig deeper into this scripture, take a few minutes and do a self-evaluation of your life (your soil). Which type of soil do you think you are?
I can remember a gentleman visiting the church we were pastoring several years ago asking my husband this question over lunch. “Pastor, are you good soil?” Quite bold, but a question that makes you examine your spiritual life rather quickly. He proceeded to say, “Pastor, I sense you are, so I want to sow into your life.” This gentlemen proceeded to take my husband to the local gym and pay for a year membership. He said, “Pastor, I want you to take care of yourself, God has big things for you.” I’m not sure if this gentleman knows the path our life has taken over the last 18 months, but his willingness to sow into our lives made a huge impact on us. My prayer is that as you go deeper into these scriptures this week, that your “soil” becomes one that others want to sow into as well. I think we need to ask ourselves that question frequently. ”Am I good soil?” Let’s take a look at the different types of soil that Jesus describes.
Hard Soil: Whether it be the circumstances of their life, experiences with other Christians or just lack of knowledge of the true grace of God, many people’s hearts have become like hard soil. Seeds cannot be planted because the ground is too hard to allow the seeds to get into the soil and take root. The enemy thrives on building discouragement, anger, hate, (just to name a few) in our lives to make us hardened to the word and work of God.
Rocky, Shallow Soil: The words that come to mind are “no depth”. Oh, we look good on the outside. We have our bible cover, Jesus sticker on our car, devotional on our desk at work, but when the storms come, how deep are our roots. When life turns up the heat, and circumstances shake our world, is our walk with Christ so shallow that we whither and die spiritually?
Thorny Soil: Life can be full of challenges and at times, hurt. We have to make the choice to allow God to heal and restore us or we will become the “thorny soil”. You may have been planted in Christ, growing in his word, then something happens that you weren’t expecting. You allow the pain and hurt to grow in your life. Soon, the pain and hurt begin to consume you, instead of Christ. God is more than enough to heal any pain or hurt, but we have to allow him full access to our life so that he can restore the things in our life that seem unrepairable. Not allowing Christ to heal these things in our life is in essence saying, “I would rather allow the hurt to continue to grow, than allow Christ to GROW me”.
Good Soil: The moist, nutrient rich soil. The soil longing to be cultivated and used to produce fruit. The life hungry for God’s word, his presence, and his leading. The heart that is willing to “tilled”, used, corrected, so to produce the greatest yield.
Not allowing Christ to heal things in our life is in essence saying, “I would rather allow the hurt to continue to grow, than allow Christ to GROW me”.
We should all desire to be “Good Soil”. In fact, I would venture to say at some point in most of our lives we have been “good soil”. You may be “good soil” today. But bear with me for a moment while I talk to those of us who may need some cultivating, some stone removal, some roots and thorns removed. If you find yourself as the hard soil, the shallow soil or the soil with thorns, there is no time like the present for God to start “plowing” in your life. Sounds a little harsh, but it’s necessary. I grew up on a farm. When spring came, I used to love the smell of freshly plowed dirt... Don’t judge me. There is something refreshing and exciting about the smell of freshly plowed soil. It was a sign of expectancy, a sign of what was to come. The farmers had to plow the land to prepare it to receive the seeds. Over the winter, the land had gotten hard, there were weeds, and unwanted debris in the field. They couldn’t plant their precious crops without preparing the soil first. They wanted good return from their investment. God wants good return from our lives as well. Even if we find ourselves as “good soil” now, just like a farmer, God is going to continually test our soil. Farmers do this periodically to improve and adjust their soil to grow the best crops on their land. I believe God is doing the same in our lives. What you do during the “tilling” process is up to you? Will you continually allow God access to your “field” to till when necessary, to add nutrients when needed and to remove thorns when they begin to grow? Or will you allow the things of the world to take hold of your soil and dictate what you produce?
As you read the scripture references this week, allow God to show you just what “good soil” is. Let “springtime” begin in your heart. Let God prepare your soil for a great harvest.
o Monday: Colossians 1:9-14
o Tuesday: John 15:1-8
o Wednesday: Jeremiah 17:7-8
o Thursday: 2 Peter 1:3-8
o Friday: Galatians 5:19-26