Summary: When we look around at churches today, one of the things that we quickly discover is that there are not enough believers who are really living a healthy, growing Christian life. Everywhere we look we find people who have heard the gospel, they have heard
In His Foot Steps
When we look around at churches today, one of the things that we quickly discover is that there are not enough believers who are really living a healthy, growing Christian life. Everywhere we look we find people who have heard the gospel, they have heard the teachings of the Bible but their lives have not been changed. Many in fact have started the Christian life but for one reason or another they have simply stopped growing.
An old Indian story tells of a chief who was telling a group of young braves about the struggle we have inside of us. He said, “it is like 2 dogs fighting inside of us. There is 1 good dog who wants to do the right thing and the other dog always wants to do wrong. Sometimes the good dog seems stronger and is winning the fight. But sometimes the bad dog is stronger and wrong wins the fight. The young brave said well who is going to win in the end. The chief said, the one you feed.
It seems to me today that too many believers have been feeding the wrong dog. You see when we feed our worldly desires this dog grows into a ferocious animal that ruins our lives. Jesus told a parable tat tells us exactly why this happens. In this parable Jesus tells us how our hearts are like various types of soil. And he shows us how if we want to produce a great harvest we must learn to cultivate our hearts.
Look with me at verses 3-4, then 18-19. Jesus tells us here if you are going to grow spiritually (1) you need to plow the soil. The first type of soil described in this story is called the path. There were various paths around the farmer’s fields. And of course what makes a path, a path is that people constantly walk on it and the dirt gets packed down. Hard. So hard that when you throw seed on it, itjust sits there and the birds come along and eat it all.
Jesus is referring of course to those whose hearts are so hard that the truth cannot sink in. Farmers remedy this problem by plowing the field. Plowing breaks up the ground so that the seeds can get beneath the surface. Some of us need to do some plowing. The book of 1st Peter says that we need to prepare our minds. One things this means is this...if you are going to get anything out of the worship service on Sunday mornings then you must prepare your hearts and your minds before the service. How do you do that.
1. Get a good night’s sleep. And change your clocks. To be prepared for Sunday mornings you need a good night’s sleep. Someone told me a few weeks ago they got very little sleep Friday and Saturday but they were finally able to take a nap during the sermon Sunday. Get rested.
2. Ask God to open your heart and give you understanding. Remember it’s God’s word-so we need His help to understand it. And we need His help to live accordingly.
3. Apply the scripture to your life, not the person sitting next to you. Any time you walk away from a worship service and think man, that was great. I sure hope so and so was listening because they sure needed to hear that. Any time you walk away from a service in that frame of mind, you have definitely missed the point. The main purpose of Bible study is for you to hear from God personally.
You see plowing is not always a pleasant experience...it may hurt but it’s always worth it. You need to plow the soil.
2. You need to put down roots. Matthew 13:5-6; 20-21. The 2nd type of soil that James speaks of is rocky. He’s not talking about soil that has some rocks in it; he is talking about a very shallow layer of soil on top of solid rock. Like placing a couple of dirt on top of your driveway and trying to grow something. Won’t work. The rock will stop you from putting down roots. It’s important to note her that the plant doesn’t die due to the scorching sun. The sun is necessary for growth. It dies because the roots are not deep enough. Think of it this way. You can take a mature believer and also a believer who has a shallow faith and when a trial comes along the one who is shallow will be devastated. While the one who is mature will grow to be even stronger. If you want to grow through your trials, your difficulties, you must put down some roots.
The story is told of a ten year old boy who decided to study judo. The problem was he had been in a car accident and had lost his left arm. So he started the lessons and was doing well but he couldn’t understand after 3 months of lessons that his coach had only taught him one move. So he said to him Sensei, shouldn’t I be learning more moves. This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you will ever need to know. The boy didn’t understand but he kept training. Several months later he took the boy to his first tournament. To his surprise he won the first two matches. The third match was more difficult but eventually his opponent got impatient and charged him and when he did the boy used his one move and he won the match. Now he was in the finals. His opponent was bigger, stronger, more experienced. For a few moments he seemed to be outmatched. His opponent was hitting hard. The referee was afraid the boy might get hurt so he called a time-out. His coach stepped in and said no let him continue. In a few moments after they started back his opponent made a critical mistake; he dropped his guard and the boy used his one move to pin him down. So the boy was declared the champion. On the way home the boy and his coach reviewed every move in each of the matches. Then the boy got up enough courage to ask his coach, how did I win the tournament with just one move? He said well you won for tow reasons...(1) you mastered one of the most difficult moves in all of Judo. (2) the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.