by Barbara Latta
Why do gardeners take such great care to prepare soil before planting?
The proper space is chosen for the right amount of sunshine, furrows are plowed, and fertilizer is applied. Weeds are pulled to prevent choking the precious seeds that are soon sown. Germination success is due to the soil the gardener chooses.
Jesus used this agricultural picture in Mark 4:1-20 to teach us how important it is to prepare our hearts. He told the disciples this example was the key to understanding all His parables. The value placed on the truth of scripture is the determining factor for good growth.
I have received some great insight regarding this parable from some classes I am taking through Charis Bible College. The instructor, Greg Mohr, shared some parallels into this teaching about valuing biblical insight above all else.
These 4 examples show us the way we value scripture determines our belief system. Our heart is the ground where belief or unbelief grows. If God's Word isn't accepted as truth, a person goes their own way, and the produce of their lives leads to darkness.
1. The Wayside Ground. This ground is hard packed with no capacity to receive. The seeds can't penetrate the hardened earth; therefore, they can't produce.
This ground represents people who regard other belief systems over the accuracy and truth of biblical teaching.
Traditional sayings that aren't scriptural rule their lives such as "A loving God wouldn't send anyone to hell," or "God helps those who help themselves." The Bible carries no importance to their lives.
This hardened way of thinking is the basis for pro-choice and gay rights attitudes.
They elevate what they think and what is politically correct above all else. When a heart grows this hard, the Bible is seen as a myth with no importance.
2. The Stony Ground. People who depend upon their feelings represent the stony ground. They may seem excited about the Lord at first, but when difficulty arrives and they get offended, they jump ship and take the path of least resistance.
People who leave churches or jobs when something doesn’t go their way use emotions as the barometer of their lives.
Offenses guide their reactions and according to Luke 17:1 these offenses are the source of betrayal, and false prophets which leads to incorrect religious doctrine and cults. Lawlessness abounds because there is no fear of God.
What do we want the world to experience from our garden?
Pay attention to what you hear. By your own standard of measurement [that is, to the extent that you study spiritual truth and apply godly wisdom] it will be measured to you [and you will be given even greater ability to respond]-and more will be given to you besides. For whoever has [a teachable heart], to him more [understanding will be given; and whoever does not have [a yearning for truth], even what he has will be taken away from him (Mark 4:24-25 AMP).
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