Summary: The Parable of the Soils describes four ways to respond to God. Three of them hinder spiritual growth. In this parable Jesus is saying, "You must take responsiblity for your personal spiritual growth."
Which raises the question, if we’re going to take responsibility for our spiritual growth, what does full spiritual maturity look like? What are we shooting for anyway? Does it mean that we can recite a lot of verses from the Bible? Does it mean that we could give the sermon on Sunday?
The Bible gives us a picture of full spiritual maturity. It’s Jesus, on the Cross. Having been beaten and nailed there to die, He looks at His assailants, and then He looks up to heaven, and He says, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”
When Jesus said that, I don’t think He struggled to get the words out. I don’t think He said it begrudgingly. I think it was the natural overflow of His heart. Jesus had walked so closely with His Father, had been so responsive to God’s words and promptings, that thinking of others, serving others, looking out for their welfare, acting like God does, just came naturally to Him.
How does that kind of spiritual maturity come to us?
It comes by reading about it in the Bible, so we begin to think like God. And thinking about God’s ways, which is called, “Meditation.”
It comes from studying the Bible with others, so it’s reinforced to us through them.
It comes from serving, and giving, and praying, and attending church.
How do you get there?
The Spiritual Disciplines (explain how this works – it works into your thinking, then into your feeling (fake it), then into your actions consciously, then into your actions unconsciously.
Over the centuries, people who have thought deeply about how you become more and more like God have come up with about 30 different habits people can cultivate that head them higher spiritually. I’ve included a partial list on the back of your notes. You might find this list helpful. In fact, you might find some things on here that you’ve begun doing lately, or are about to begin doing as a result of what talked about during Lifeflow or Small. You might find God talking to you through this list as you read it. And if you do, I hope you’ll be responsive to Him. In fact, my entire hope for this service could be summed up this way:
I hope you will become good soil. I hope you’ll be responsive to God every day. I hope you’ll take responsibility for your spiritual growth and become more and more a person who looks more and more like the One whose name we bear. I’ve been praying this for you all week.
Invite people to receive Christ. Invite them, and others, forward for prayer.