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By Tom Dill  – Associate Pastor

Many times when I read the parable of the sower, my mind immediately goes to the seed. Certainly, we cannot expect a harvest if we do not sow.

But, I would like to focus more on soil preparation and conditions that lead to a more abundant harvest. For us, preparation of the heart is likened to the soil the seed is sown into.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 KJV

The seed bed is vital for the seed to germinate and grow.

Photo by Goumbik

Our daughter, Taylor, earned her master’s degree in agronomy at The Ohio State University. She’s employed by Ohio State Extension – Darke County as an Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator. About this subject, she shares,

“Seeds require a specific environment to germinate and thrive. Seeds need water, oxygen, sunlight (heat) and nutrients from the soil. The soil contains the nutrients the plant needs to sustain it throughout its life. 

 However, at the beginning of the plant’s life, the soil needs to be at the correct temperature and have the perfect amount of water to ensure the seed can put out roots and eventually emerge from the soil and flourish.”

Within the soil, there is a lot of activity going on either to promote growth or to stop it. As in soil, there is a battle going on in the unseen spiritual realm to promote growth or to end it. (God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the angels all move in the unseen on our behalf.)

Many times in my life, I have been sowing seed when I needed to be more focused on preparing the soil instead.

“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:” Proverbs 3:1 KJV

Jesus taught us in Matthew:

“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” Matthew 12:35 KJV

The limiting factor for the harvest in the parable is not the seed. It is the soil the seed is sown into!

“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” Hebrews 4:2 KJV

This is referring to Israel while they were in the wilderness. They received God’s word (direction) to enter into the Promised Land. There were only two that rested in that promise.

The others believed an evil report. That word did not profit them. They were afraid to go into the land flowing with milk and honey. What they saw was bigger than the promise they received.

“And they told [Moses and Aaron], and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there…And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel.” Numbers 13:27, 28, 32 KJV

 The evil report from the 10 spies caused their hearts to faint, and they had no faith to enter in. They had received the promise, but did not guard their hearts.

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17 KJV

Joshua and Caleb condemned the evil report. The others did not.

In our farming business, there have been times when we have planted in very good conditions. Yet afterwards, the conditions changed, and we no longer had a good atmosphere for production. That can happen spiritually, too. We may sow seed in faith and then become discouraged, not trusting in the harvest.

Photo by icon0com

Sometimes, we may have a crop failure. That can come because of mistakes or the enemy brings a flood.

Either way, we must “die to it.” We cannot allow that setback to keep us from pressing on to victory. We are in a battle of two kingdoms, and our flesh can be weakened and our mind deceived.

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves…If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” James 1:22, 26 KJV

Our words and our actions need to be in agreement with God’s Word, and it will not return void (Isaiah 55:11). God’s Word is able to root out deception (by discerning of spirits) and unbelief (by faith).

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 KJV (see also verses 14-16).

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV

In Mark 4:24, Jesus encouraged them to “take heed what you hear.” He also said in Luke 8:18, “Take heed how ye hear.”

It’s up to us to give the Word a chance to make a difference in our lives. We do that by providing an environment that will allow the Word to take root, grow and produce faith.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 KJV

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:1-5 KJV

Both Romans 5 and 2 Corinthians 12 encourage us to learn to glory in weakness. That can only come with a relationship that is not strained when there is trouble. We are able to stand strong because the love of God by the Holy Spirit is given to us.

I would encourage you to read Romans 5. No matter what the world throws at us, we have great reason to hope (an expectation of something good).

We are to reign in life by one, Jesus Christ! We continue to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of faith and to the Father who gives us the victory through Him!

Let’s work at preparing our soil, our hearts, so we can rest in His promises. Let’s be a good ground family!