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 get a bit hard from time to time. It can 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; it can, from time to time, 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 the process of softening hard soil in our hearts.
The first step is to take time for self-reflection. Set aside to let the Scriptures search your heart and uncover any areas that may be growing cold, distant, or hard. 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)
In this passage David was asking God to make sure that his 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 that God could change them.
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 sins of adultery and murder. He knew it would take the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to till the hard soil so that God could then begin to plant new and better thoughts and desires.
When we read the parable of the soils (Matthew 13:3-8) we must understand that, unlike our paved roads today, most of the roads in Jesus’ day were hardened, dirt-packed paths. The more they were traveled on, the harder they became. The consequences were clear: When the “seed” of the Word of God is distributed, some of those seeds fell on that hardened surface and was not absorbed; “The birds came and ate it up” (Matthew 13:5).
Perhaps you have been trampled on by the difficulties or disappointments of life. Don’t let the birds steal the seed of the Word that have been planted in your heart. Look to Jesus, and He will soften the soil of your heart; the seed will take root and produce new fruit.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!