I love the New Year. Even though it means I’m a year older, I still love a fresh start. There is something unique about the feeling of beginning fresh without the weight of the previous year bearing down upon you. I was thinking that 2019 was a tough year for me personally. I won’t bore you with the details, but it was a struggle in many ways. Yet, at the same time with all the thorns hanging out of my flesh, I found myself getting stronger in my Faith and was developing a perseverance that will not easily be deterred. So, each thorn of adversity represents an opportunity for God to do something great and new in your life.
2019 was also a year when several friends went home to be with the Lord. Some of them suffered with cancer, but God was Merciful to bring them home without too long of an ordeal. Death, as the Bible teaches, is not the ultimate enemy; that place is reserved for unbelief. Death has been subdued by the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, but unbelief is the ultimate Enemy because it robs us of the Hope and Promises of God. Unbelief can affect so many things and is illustrated by the Parable of the Sower.
As the Parable teaches, some of God’s Seed fell upon the hard path of soil that was packed down by the thousands of people walking upon it day after day. Education, media, family, and employment have all hardened this path. There was no way for that Seed of Belief to grow in that atmosphere. People live in that kind of climate every day with no hope, no God, no future. Then comes the soil filled with rocks providing the obstacles that prevents any Seed from germinating. These rocks are the things that affect us from growing Spiritually. We may have a Faith in God, but it is underdeveloped and immature. The next obstacle is that of the weeds which are those things that choke out any and all good things in our lives. These are the cares of this world tempting and influencing us with the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. As Jesus taught, all three soils are environments of unbelief. The Seed of God’s Word is sown, but the conditions of our heart (the soil) prevents that Seed from germinating into Rewarding Faith in God. The last soil is not an obstacle at all but is an environment that brings out the best in us in both Morals and Character so that we can Believe in God and grow in His Ways.
When Jesus told this Parable, I am sure He was being reminded of when the Prophet Jeremiah said:
Jeremiah 10 2Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. 3For the practices of the peoples are worthless
The soils of the heart as Jesus described them are all affected by the ways of the world:
· The hardness has no time for God because it is the way of the world.
· The rocks or the busyness of life is the way of the world
· The weeds of pride and desire is the way of the world
So, if we summarize the Parable of the Sower through the lens of the ways of the world, we can see how easy it can be to ignore the Seed of God’s Word. The goal of these soils is to create an environment for the ultimate Enemy of unbelief to destroy your life.
2020 has the opportunity for each of us to determine which kind of soil we want our lives to grow. As all the years before it, we will see both the good and the bad happen in the year ahead of us, but what we don’t want is to face any of it in a state of unbelief.
God is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, and that is the call to each of us in this New Year.
Hebrews 11:6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Keeping Life Honest and Truthful … Larry Kutzler
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