A Call to Stand Apart: Day #6

My Prayer:  God, thank you for allowing me to hear Your voice loud and clear.  You speak words of encouragement when I need them most.  You give correction and chastisement when I know that I’ve done wrong and even sometimes when I don’t.  No matter what You say, Your words are always on time.  And for that…I am grateful. -Amen

What Blessed Me From Chapter 6:

Oh the parable of the sower, found in Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23.  I love the title of this chapter in the book “The Answer Lies in the Soil”.  The parable and that title honestly speaks for itself easily.  I just love how Jesus used what the people knew and could relate to in order to better understand the gospel that He came to share with them.

– “The Jews of that day were fixated on a Messiah who would reestablish their earthly kingdom. But Jesus explained that the kingdom would not be established by force, violence, or weapons of war. It would come only when a startling new principle found fertile soil in human minds […] He taught them that the same laws that control planting, growth, and harvesting on a farm also apply to the development of our spiritual lives (ACS, p. 33).~~ I really like that metaphor for the mind…”fertile soil”.  Only in fertile soil can their be potential for growth…How fertile is your soil?

What does the seed represent?  “In the story, the seed represents the word of God. Every seed contains life. And every word from God contains life. Jesus said, ‘Anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.’ John 5:24 (ACS, p. 34).”

– When a seed is planted in fertile soil, it can only develop into the fruit from whence it came.  It’s impossible for it to do otherwise.  (See ACS, p. 34)

A seed’s environment plays a tremendous role in whether or not it is able to grow. “If you plant seeds under receptive conditions, then the specific life in that seed will grow. In the same way, if you plant the words of God in your life under receptive conditions, they will grow a life and character like the life and character of God (ACS, p. 34).”

The only way we can be effective preachers of the gospel, sowers of the seed that is God’s Word, is if we have a personal experience with Him. “We can teach effectively only what we have experienced. So before we share the good news, we must make it our own by personal experience (ACS, p. 34)

THE FOUR TYPES OF SOIL & THEIR RESULTS FOR THE SEED

1.  The Beaten Path – “The seed that falls on the beaten path is a symbol of God’s Word that comes to an35unresponsive heart. There is much traffic on this path—sinful types of pleasure, selfish career goals, worldly indulgences. Time and attention are completely absorbed, and no attention is given to the words that bring life […] soon our heart becomes like that hard path where the seeds of the gospel were scattered. It is unreceptive and calloused (ACS, p. 34-35).

2. Rocky Ground with Little Soil – “[…] if plants have no root system and can’t access the nutrients and moisture of the soil, they quickly wither. This is a symbol of the reaction of some to receiving God’s Word. There is a profession of interest, an external reaching out to God but, like the rich young ruler, they trust in their own good works instead of the strength and power of the Lord. Self interest continues to remain the active principle of life. There can be intellectual conviction, superficiality of action, but no true heart conviction, which means it soon comes to nothing.  the seed that falls in “rocky places” represents those who act rashly. They don’t count the cost; they act impulsively.  They don’t make a full commitment to the Lord Jesus or to living the life He offers.  Some people accept the gospel as a way out of personal difficulties rather than as a deliverance from sin. They’re happy for a time thinking that religion will solve their problems. And as long as life moves along smoothly, they appear to be consistent Christians. But they faint when confronted by the first fiery temptation (ACS, p. 35-36).”

3.  Soil filled with Thorns & Weeds – “[…] the seeds of God’s love can thrive only when what otherwise “grows naturally” is rooted out, allowing God’s grace to be the active principle in your life. As long as the Holy Spirit is allowed to work, our characters will be refined, and we will find the strength to weed out the habits that are in opposition to God’s will (ACS, p. 36).”
Weeds that can choke our growth:  The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful (Matthew 13:22).
“[…] we can become so absorbed in secular pursuits that we squeeze out of our lives those essentials for the growth of the seed of God’s Word—time to meditate about God and heaven, time to pray, time to study Scripture, time to seek and serve God. The noise of the world overpowers the voice of the Spirit of God (ACS, p. 37).

{Sidenote:  Wanted to mention this point that EGW made in this chapter concerning the “pleasures of life” that I think is very important to note.  “Jesus talked about “the pleasures of life.” He didn’t mean we were not to have a good time. (After all, He began His ministry in Palestine at a wedding celebration and didn’t hesitate to attend social gatherings such as Matthew’s and Simon’s.) Rather, here Jesus discusses the danger of those kinds of amusements that draw our affections away from Him. He’s condemning indulgences that diminish our physical strength, dull our minds, and numb our spiritual perceptions—all of which stifle spiritual growth (ACS, p. 37).”

4.  Good Ground – “This doesn’t refer to a heart without sin, because the Gospel is to be preached to the lost. Rather, the honest heart refers to one who yields to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, confessing guilt, feeling the need of the mercy and love of God. The person who receives the Scriptures as the voice of God is the true learner.  If our hearts become the “good ground,” we will choose38to fill our minds with great thoughts, pure thoughts. Jesus will live in us, producing the good fruit of obedience and good works (ACS, p. 37-38).

– “In each case the farmer is the same, and the seed is the same. So if the Word of God fails to prosper in our lives, the problem lies in ourselves. The results are in our control. It’s true that we can’t change ourselves; but we do have the power of choice, so we determine what we will become. If your experience has been that of a beaten pathway or stony ground, thorns, and weeds, it doesn’t have to continue that way. God’s Spirit is ready to break the old patterns and to give you a new life if you will allow your heart to be “good soil,” a hearer and a doer of His Word (ACS, p. 38).

*Feel free to leave your thoughts below*

Next Reading:  Section 1, Chapter 7 – “How to Pray” (p. 39-42)

Love and God Bless,

– T

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