Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. -Mark 4:18-19 (NIV)
How deeply are you rooted? Can you withstand anything through Him who strengthens you? Or do you fall like a house of cards when the winds of circumstance and worldly worry blow?
I can honestly say I’m working daily, dying more to self and surrendering more of myself, toward the goal of accomplishing and withstanding anything through Christ who strengthens me. But, I still fall back to my old flesh habits of taking the brunt of attacks and bearing burdens in my own strength, and sometimes do fold.
But each day, as the Lord twists and sharpens the focusing knob on my life, I can see how I should be living through His lens, and I am stronger as I trust Him with outcomes and burdens. I don’t have to figure things out all the time, but rest in His strength and plans to carry me. And each time He picks me up after I fail under my own power, He makes me stronger than before.
One of Jesus’ parables, the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-8), really struck me, not only because I could see myself in it, but others around me. He spoke of four kinds of seed sown by a farmer:
- Those quickly eaten off the path by birds
- Shallow-rooted seed in rocky soil, which spring up quickly but don’t last
- Those that fell in thorny areas, choking plants around them, preventing fruit
- Those falling in good soil, fruitfully producing
And I don’t know about you, but I’m right there with the apostles to ask Him to please explain his parables more plainly to me! And so He does in Mark 4:14-20. I’ll repeat the four above with His explanation that the farmer (God) sows the Word, and the four types of recipients:
- Those quickly eaten off the path by birds: They hear the Word, but Satan takes it away as quickly as they hear it…in one ear and out the other
- Shallow-rooted seed in rocky soil, which spring up quickly but don’t last: They hear the Word and excitedly shoot up, but wither in the face of trials and persecution
- Those that fell in thorny areas, choking plants around them, preventing fruit: Believers who let life and worldly desires choke off their spiritual growth
- Those falling in good soil, fruitfully producing: Believers who accept, live, and walk in the Word in the face of anything, and are fruitful manyfold
(Thanks for clearing that up, Jesus!)
How deeply is God’s Word planted in your soil? Are you tending it to keep it rich and deep?
Fellow believer, we all want to be that last kind of seed, planted deep in rich soil…soil constantly replenished, fortified, and strengthened with His living water. When the trials and temptations of this life bluster and threaten to carry us away, we should always have a steady diet of His Word in our soil and roots to keep us anchored. He will grow and deepen our roots, and as a result, we will bear much fruit to His glory for the world to behold.