“Read your Bible and pray everyday and you’ll grow, grow, grow…”
Do you remember that good old Sunday school tune? For those of you who haven’t heard it…come talk to me, I’ll sing it for you. Just kidding, but really this song speaks the truth! The time we spend in prayer or reading our Bible is meant help us grow. However, I often find myself reading the Bible just for the sake of reading it. Instead of truly capturing the heart of the message and understanding what it means for my life.
Jesus describes this kind of attitude as not just a bad habit, but a dangerous condition of the heart. You can see this as he explains the parable of the sower to his disciples.
“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart….As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty”- Matthew 13:18-23
To sum it up –whatever falls onto good soil, will grow. That is why Jesus is emphasizing the importance of the Word being planted in the right place. God will deposit the seed into us, but we determine how deeply it will become rooted in us. The quality of soil determines the quality of the plant. If our hearts are dry, nothing can grow and our seeds will be taken away from us. So what does it look like to have “good soil” in our lives? Jesus compares this good soil, to a heart that listens and understands.
What is significant about a heart that hears?
When we position ourselves to listen, we are demonstrating an openness to what God wants to reveal. It is an expression of humility and desire to increase in the knowledge of God. I believe this is an important posture in our relationship with God. Sometimes, it’s easy to treat God like we would a diary. A place to pour out our emotions and feelings, and expect nothing in return. However, God is not a distant being who doesn’t care about your life. He is our Father, and he wants to be more than a listening ear. Conversation is a key component to any relationship. Conversation builds intimacy while monologues rob one person of a voice. If you spend all your time talking at God, then your relationship is built on the expression of your own heart and emotions. Therefor your relationship with God becomes a reflection of what you feel in the moment. Our hearts can so easily deceive us (Jeremiah 17:9) so it’s important to build your life on what He says instead of what you feel.
Why is it important to understand?
Understanding adds substance to our belief in God that goes deeper than just a mere decision in a moment. Understanding takes a conscious effort. How beautiful is it when someone takes the time to understand us? We can never totally understand a person, unless we know their heart and history. It’s the same thing with God. There is so much to learn about what He has done and what He is going to do. When we grow in our knowledge of Him, the natural outpour is an increased faith because we know His character. If we don’t understand Him, we will never trust him.
When we take time to understand God, we are placing value on our relationship with Him. Time is a hard thing to spend, often harder than money; it always feels like we don’t have enough. God must have thought so too because He laid down His life in pursuit of our hearts, so we will not be limited by time in our relationship with Him. He wanted more than a lifetime relationship with us, his desire for us has always been eternity. Death will never do us part from Him.
You can always tell what someone treasures by the way they spend their time. The more time spent with God, the more we come to understand His ways. You will never understand what you don’t experience. I would encourage you to take the time to become fertile soil for the Lord to plant seeds of truth. Listen and take the time to understand God and His word, and you will grow!
You are so loved!