LUKE 8:15: “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Is my heart a fertile field ready to receive God’s Word? Am I experiencing the fruit of the Spirit in my life? Is there a singleness of purpose in my life or is my heart divided? How do I develop a good and noble heart?
Whenever I read the parable of the sower I always am drawn to examine my heart. Like Paul, my inner man is always ready to receive the Word of God but there is a constant battle within. The flesh wars against the spirit and the spirit wars against the flesh. How do we obtain and maintain a good and noble heart that is bringing forth godly fruit?
I remember when I was young, my next-door neighbor had a beautiful dichondra lawn. It was the only one of its kind in the entire neighborhood. It was very attractive but it was also very susceptible to weeds and it was a constant battle to keep it looking its best. My neighbor was a school teacher and would take the summer off with his family for a mini-sabbatical. One summer, when I was older, he enlisted me to take care of his lawn.
I accepted the job because I was saving money to buy a car when I turned 16 (still a few years away). No one else in the neighborhood, including our house, had a pure lawn like my next-door neighbor. It was unusually hot and windy that summer and the weeds in everyone else’s lawns were growing and spreading rapidly. I fought and fought to keep my neighbor’s lawn pure but I lost the battle.
Instead of a beautiful lawn, when my neighbor returned he saw a lawn with empty patches where I had tried to remove the onslaught of weeds in the yard. I thought for sure I was going to be in great trouble. Yet, as he looked over the neighborhood, and then as he looked over his yard, he commended me for the effort I had given to his little field of dichondra. Even though there were bare patches, I had not let the weeds take control. I had kept the yard ready for new seed to be sown.
It was that fall that my neighbor planted some new seed and began to transition his yard from dichondra to hearty bluegrass. What I thought was a losing battle was exactly what he would have done during that hot and weed-infested summer. And, this is exactly how we cultivate a good and noble heart. It does not happen by accident. It takes readiness, work, and diligence. It requires an understanding of the enemies of the heart and a willingness to engage them!
To have a heart that bears God’s fruit is not simply picking from the menu of stones, rocky soil, weed-infested soil, or good soil. This assumes that the soil of our hearts can always be weed-free. Rather, it takes a heart that is positioned in faith against the doubts and attacks of the enemy, cultivates the soil past the shallow root level, is ready to remove weeds when they sprout up and is not afraid to turn the soil over to prepare it to receive the good seed of God’s Word.
Once that battle is done, the seed must be watered, nurtured, and protected. The enemy will not stop once the seed is sown in the good ground. God’s Word will naturally bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. However, we must protect the seed in our hearts until it develops and grows. A good farmer never neglects his fields and we must never neglect our hearts.
Each day I must be aware of the attempts to kill, steal, and destroy the seed God is planting in my heart. I do not create the seed nor do I produce the fruit. My job is to prepare the soil of my heart to receive it by faith and then keep that ground free from doubt, discouragement, and distraction. God’s grace is available at every step to enable me to do so. As I abide in His Word I not only receive the good seed but I also receive the grace and wisdom to protect it as it grows!
Lord, this morning, help me to cultivate the good soil of my heart. Give me the wisdom to stand against the doubts, discouragement, and distractions that life and the enemy throw at me to try and keep the seed of Your Word from producing fruit in my life.
- “For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.” Mark 4:28 NKJV
In Jesus’ Name!