But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Matthew 13:23
Jesus often used parables, or stories, to teach new concepts. In one parable recorded in Matthew 13, he likened our hearts to different types of soil. The condition of our hearts (e.g., lacking in understanding, fearful in the face of persecution or trouble, distracted by worry and wealth, receptive to The Bible and hungry to understand) determines how well the seed of God’s words take root and grows when we hear them.
Soil that is hard packed, full of weeds, rocky, and left to fallow, or rest, needs to be plowed and the clumps broken up by a harrow in order to prepare it for planting. The same could be said of our hearts. We need to break up our fallow ground. We need to unlearn religion—those unproductive parts of our heart—so that when we hear a whisper from God, it takes root and does what God intended for it to do. But how do we do that? How do we become good soil? How do we become more receptive to Him?
Shoveling hard-packed dirt is not easy. A steady rain that soaks into the ground, however, loosens the dirt, making the task much easier. It also makes the weeds shoot up, giving greater visibility to what needs to be pulled. Think of that steady rain as God’s grace. Accepting God’s grace is acknowledging that just like we can’t save ourselves, we can’t make ourselves more like Jesus either.
When we yield to God’s workmanship and discipline, His grace soaks into our hearts, softening us and uprooting the weeds in our heart. These are the things that God would like to change in us. When we confess them and ask God to forgive us, He does! He pulls the weeds and we become a little more like Jesus. This lifelong continued process of engaging God’s grace and surrendering to Him brings us to a place where our hearts are receptive and sensitive to God’s whispers. This produces a bountiful “harvest” as God accomplishes His purposes in and through us.
Will you let God's grace work through you today?
Today’s Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for using stories to help us understand your way. Thank you for the restoring power of God’s grace and that we don’t have to depend on our own efforts to become more like you. Thank you for loving us so much.