Heart Soil

November 17, 2022 — Krystal Craven
The devotional title text of "Heart Soil" overlaying a brick red background with four hearts. In the first heart is a bird eating a seed. In the second heart is a rocky ground with a dying plant growing out of it. In the third heart is wheat growing through thorns. In the fourth heart is a dark, rich soil with a green seedling growing in it.

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8:5-8)

This parable is not only good for understanding what Jesus described as one saved and unsaved, but it’s also good for the saved to understand our role as laborers in Lord’s harvest land, which we’ll dig into more next week.

A quick look at this parable with Jesus’ explanation further down in verses 9-15, we can clearly see that there is only one situation in which one is saved – a heart of good soil which bears fruit. It may seem rather exclusionary to claim only one of these four hearts are actually saved, but the way to Jesus is indeed straight and narrow.

The Pathway Soil

Jesus describes this person as one who heard the word, but the devil came and took away the word from their hearts so that they may not believe and be saved. This is one that would often be described as being hard hearted, because the pathway in which the seed fell was hard and did not allow the seed to get buried in the ground at all, it was simply trampled and devoured.

The Rocky Soil

Jesus describes this person as one who has a joyful reception upon hearing the word, but without moisture, there are no roots, and they eventually fall away. The Holy Spirit is our “moisture” and helps us to establish deep roots in Jesus. Without roots and moisture, there is no real life. In vegetable gardening, you expect to see seed leaves grow rather quickly. However, every gardener knows that until a seedling’s true leaves have grown, it’s not considered a viable plant. If a seedling only ever grows seed leaves and never grows true leaves, you wouldn’t say your plant died, you’d say your seedling never took. In the same way, the seeds that fall on rocky soil isn’t established, it just never takes.

Unfortunately, anyone in this category may be under the impression that because they know about God and had a joyful, maybe even a very emotional “salvation experience”, that they are indeed saved. Jesus also spoke to this when He said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

The Thorny Soil

Jesus describes this person as one who hears but ends up being choked out by the cares, riches, and pleasures of life, in which they don’t produce fruit. In some translations, it says something to the effect that their fruit doesn’t mature, or they bring no fruit to maturity, but the Greek makes it very clear that it’s not a maturity thing, it’s a complete lack of fruit. John makes this point very clear when he wrote, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

Anyone in this category may too be under the same impression as the rocky soil people, that because they go to church and do Christian activities, that they are saved. But Jesus again made it clear that fruit is the evidence of truly being His, and that fruit is not gathered from thornbushes, when He said, “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?… Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16,19-20)

The Good Soil

Jesus described His true followers in ones that have good soil and produce fruit. They hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience (Luke 8:15). This concept is written about throughout the New Testament:

Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. (Hebrews 3:6)

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end (Hebrews 3:12-14).

It is in the holding fast that we abide in Jesus and in turn produce fruit. But apart from Jesus, we cannot be saved. Jesus again made it abundantly clear when He said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

Your Heart Soil

In light of these, what would you say the soil of your heart is? Don’t answer this flippantly, because you don’t want to end up being one of those in the end whom Jesus says He never knew.

Now, this isn’t to say that you will never stumble, we all do. This is a heart check for those who may be seemingly “doing” all the right things – going to church, abstaining from blatant sins, has memorized some bible verses, etc. but this calls for a time to inspect whether you are holding fast to the Word of God and growing and bearing fruit. If you’re new in the Lord, your fruit may have not sprouted yet, but are you spending time everyday abiding in Jesus or has the joy of the good news already faded or the cares and riches and pleasures of the world already grabbed your full attention again?

If you have claimed to be in Christ for a long time and yet you notice that your joy in Christ has faded, or that you care more about riches and worldly pleasures, or that you simply aren’t abiding and producing fruit – take heed to what Jesus told the church in Sardis:

I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent (Revelation 3:1b-3a).

If your examination of yourself has been found that you indeed have good heart soil, I want to simply encourage you to keep on walking strong in the Lord! And just as Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy encouraged the saints in Thessalonica, I encourage you to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-24)

The text of "What is the soil of your heart" overlaying a brick red background with four hearts. In the first heart is a bird eating a seed. In the second heart is a rocky ground with a dying plant growing out of it. In the third heart is wheat growing through thorns. In the fourth heart is a dark, rich soil with a green seedling growing in it.