Roots that go Deep Published week of July 19, 2020
There is no doubt, Jesus was the greatest teacher this world ever witnessed. Crowds would gather to Him as He boldly proclaimed the truth with a perfect balance of compassion and tough love. One of His qualities, involved with His teaching, was the ability to “weed out” those who were not serious about following Him. He often taught through parables. The use of parables helped His learners to understand the deep mysteries of the Kingdom of God.
The Parable of the Sower is one of Jesus’ most well known parables. In it, He focuses on three types of ground (representative of the heart) the seed (representative of God’s Word) falls on: rocky ground, thorny ground, and good ground. I want to focus on the rocky soil because I am convinced that is where many religious people are in the present culture. In verse 21, Jesus describes such people as having no root. In other words, their faith is shallow and rooted in feelings and experiences rather than in Christ and His Word.
The person with a “rocky” heart often starts out zealous. On the outside, he appears changed and on fire for the Lord. But over time, when trouble comes, he falls away. There is a false gospel that says, “Come to Christ and be blessed. God wants you to be happy and successful.” Are these statements true? The answer is “Yes' and 'No' as it all depends on how one defines blessed, happy and successful. Many rocky-hearted people have mis-defined these words. The way the world defines these words is very different and often opposite than the way the Bible defines these words.
In God’s kingdom, blessing includes suffering, persecution, and hardship. In God’s kingdom, happiness is not based on circumstances and can be found from inside a prison cell or in the midst of a battle with cancer. In God’s kingdom, success is being last, not first. It is giving away and not storing up wealth. Success requires selflessness and humility, not ambition and power.
Throughout Jesus' earthly ministry, He encouraged the crowds following Him to count the cost of faith in Him. Jesus saw their hearts and He knew there were many with shallow, rocky soil in their hearts. As Christ-followers, we must do the same today. Start by examining your own heart. How deep is your faith? Is it shallow and rocky, joyously saying “Yes!” until trouble comes? Or is your faith deeply rooted in God and His truth?
Dear God, I admit that my sinfulness always longs for life to be easy and good. I surrender to Your Holy Spirit to help me to view life from Your perspective. Please deepen my faith and help me to grow in Your truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon [at once] with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth [endureth] for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended [falls away].