Grow Through The Gospels - Matthew 13

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

June 15, 2024

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Grow Through The Gospels - Matthew 13

Read: Matthew 13

Matthew 13:5,6, 23 “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, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away… As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Think

Have you ever been to the desert, like the area around Phoenix or maybe even West Texas? If so, you might have noticed that the soil there is often hard and barren, making it difficult to grow anything without significant effort. In many parts of the desert, we need to break up the dirt and replace it with good, nutritious soil, often brought in from elsewhere. Without healthy soil, our fruits and vegetables are only a poor reflection of what they could be.

Our hearts can sometimes be like that hard desert dirt, resistant to the truth God wants to plant in us. When a seed of truth is presented to a hardened heart, it’s not easily received or embraced. There might be an initial acceptance, but no lasting change or fruit. Jesus talked about this in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, where some hearers didn't benefit from the good seed because their "soil" wasn’t ready for it. This makes me wonder: is there a way to soften hard hearts?

I believe both the Bible and nature show us ways to do just that. Just as we break up hard dirt to plant in the desert, we must break up the hardness in our hearts. This starts with asking God to search us and reveal those hard places, just as the psalmist did in Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me…" (ASV). Recognizing and acknowledging the hard areas is the first step toward transformation.

Next, we need to bring healthy "soil" into those areas. For instance, if God reveals unforgiveness in your heart, mix in God's truth about forgiveness by memorizing and meditating on verses like Luke 17:4, "If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him" (NIV). Finally, keep your heart "watered" to prevent it from hardening again. Jesus declared himself as the living water, and when we believe in him, streams of living water flow from within us (John 7:38). This water is the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, keeping our hearts receptive to God. God desires to bring us into a mature and vibrant faith, but we need receptive hearts for growth. Even if we have lots of dirt in the desert of our hearts, where God's living water is, there is always the potential for a fruitful orchard.

Apply

When God reveals hardened areas in your heart, confess them to him. Whether it's unforgiveness, bitterness, pride, or any other issue, repent and ask for his help in transforming these areas. Keep your heart watered with his word and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you daily as you follow him.

Pray

Jesus, search my heart for any spaces that are hardened to you and your word. Break up the tough ground and keep my soul tender and fertile so I can hear from you. Let your word transform my heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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