A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path. (Matthew 13:3-4)
The soil of the sanctified life can become a bit hard from time to time. This may happen when we face unexpected challenges. It can happen when we face unmet expectations. It can happen when we encounter unforeseen loss. Life is hard, and there are times when it may harden us. So we must always be on the lookout for any signs of “hard soil” in our hearts and allow God to till it with the truths of the Gospel. Below are two simple steps to take that will help in the process of softening our hearts.
Examination: The first step is to take time for self-reflection. We must sit with the Scriptures and allow the living and active Word of God to search our hearts and uncover any areas that may be growing cold, distant, or unyielding. We must first identify where the hard soil is before we can go to work on softening it.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
When you read that passage in context, you will see that David was asking God to make sure that David’s hatred for his enemies was not man-centered, but God-centered. David was zealous for the justice of God, and he wanted God to point him in the direction of any wrong motives so God could change them.
Excavation: The second step is to let the Lord do His work in softening our hard soil by digging down into the depths of our hearts through the truths of Scripture.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Here David was asking God to excavate his heart, which had been hardened through his grievous sins against Uriah and Bathsheba. David knew it would take a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to till the hard soil of his heart so God could then begin to plant new and better seeds of both thoughts and desires.
Unlike our paved roads today, most of the roads in Jesus’ day were simply hardened, dirt-packed paths. The more they were traveled upon, the harder they became. So when Jesus told the parable about the sower who scattered some seed along the path, the consequences were clear: “The birds came and ate it [that is, the seed of Gospel truth] up” (Matthew 13:5). Perhaps you have been trampled upon by the difficulties of life. Don’t let the birds steal the seed of your faith in the grace of God! Look to Jesus, and He will soften your soil and the Gospel seed will take root and produce new fruit in your life.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!