It is that time of year when sniffles and sore throats seem to be arriving. The first term back at school is nearly (but not yet) complete and general health seems to be a little under the weather. So I love that the page I have come to on the blog is a bit of a health check for our hearts.
This parable is one that I remember from childhood. A farmer scatters the seed and where the seed lands it either grows well or it doesn’t.
The seed is subjected to four different conditions. When Jesus explains it he says that the seed is the word. The word being what GOD says, the Bible – His instruction has the potential to grow and produce a harvest … so that leaves the state/place of the growing to represent us. He tells us about four different heart conditions.
Condition 1: Hard heart. It is interesting that with a hard heart, Satan messes with the seed. When there is a hard ground there is no way a seed can even start to grow and it is snatched away before any impact has been made. A hard heart rejects what GOD says. How are we at receiving/being obedient to what GOD has said?
Condition 2: Half-hearted. The ground is shallow and so the roots cannot go deeply. A plant grows but it cannot grow well. This is a condition of the heart that is has no depth and no sure foundation. Our minds can become muddled, we can have unbelief and our understanding cannot withstand any heat. We are robbed of growth in relationship with Him. Do we dig deep into GOD when things get tough?
Condition 3: Divided heart. The ground is good for growing … but not just the right plants. The things of GOD can be exciting and we rush in but because we are easily distracted or focus on other things the rapid growth in GOD is overshadowed. We take our eyes from Him. There may have been growth but we are not fruitful. Is our perspective focused on GOD yet wide enough to see the bigger picture?
Condition 4: Whole-hearted. With a whole heart there is plenty of growth and fruitfulness. The roots of GOD’s word go very deep so that when the sun shines we are not scorched because the source of water is still found. The growth is strong so that other plants are pushed into the shadows. The deep roots and strong growth are evident in the fruit of the plant. What areas of our lives show wholeheartedness … and more to the point, which areas don’t?
We know that the good soil is where the fruitfulness will happen. A heart that is hard, half-hearted or divided will rob us of growth and fruitfulness. Yet realistically, I think we all suffer from the whole variety of conditions … and sometimes all in the same day!
To counteract a hard, half-hearted and divided heart we need to resolve to keep our heart soft, focused, complete and devoted. A devoted heart will be evident in what we do and say. How do we do keep our heart in the best condition?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deut 6:5
When He is loved with all your heart there is no room to be lukewarm! I think of King David and how he was described as a man after GOD’s own heart. His life encourages me because he was by no means faultless. David really messed up but he was able to restore the whole hearted condition by turning back and focusing on GOD. His heart condition was how he is remembered!
This is just a gentle reminder to myself, and maybe you too, to be aware of our heart condition.