Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. Luke 8:12-15
I’m in there somewhere. Truthfully I’m all over the place.
I’ve heard God speak and carelessly allowed the Enemy to steal away divine truth so that I could without conscience (temporarily) continue on my own selfish path.
I’ve had great experiences that thrilled my heart and let me feel like jumping for joy, only to stumble and fall at the first temptation that came my way.
I’ve known better, but allowed my life to become overcrowded with the unsightly and unnecessary, sometimes drowning beneath them.
I’ve heard God and followed with my whole heart, too.
Listening to God isn’t always easy. There’s the whole ‘how‘ do I listen to God thing. Do you ever get irritated with the people that God is always telling something to? (“I was wondering what I should get my baby for Christmas and the Lord just spoke to my heart and told me to go ahead and get that iPad for myself and not worry about it.”) Seriously, I think the harder I try to listen to God the quieter things get. Contemplating God’s word and will … not a walk in the park.
But if we ever really listen we’ve got a much bigger struggle on our hands. Submitting our hearts to Him and following Him without editing his instructions to suit our preconceived notions. It’s one thing to listen to God, it’s quite another to decide ahead of time what we think He ought to tell us and then go look for it.
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
That is what I want to do. Tonight in class there were excellent suggestions for how to cultivate the good heart. Pray. Study. Fellowship. Serve. Seek His Kingdom First. I agree with all of those. I see three terse encouragements here from Jesus:
Hear the word. Not just words floating in the air, and not just hearing a thousand opinions about what everyone thinks about His word. Hear His word. Consume without being satisfied.
Retain the word. Keep it. Let it come into our hearts and stay… warm and welcomed … desiring to receive all that He has for us in the riches of his revealed will. Memorize (I’m terrible at that), contemplate, meditate, give His words time to have their effect. Linger over the thoughts He has provided to you.
Persevere. Stay with it. No crop was ever harvested after just a day or a week. Feeling a famine coming on? Facing some brick walls in your life? Got some heartache that won’t go away? Never let anything keep you from hearing, retaining, and staying on this path.
And if you fail (and you will fail), don’t think it’s all over. Open the book and read about the failures and mistakes of some of the greatest people that ever lived. Remind your heart how God is an expert at using broken people to change the world. Remember that it won’t be by your efforts alone that this will happen, His Holy Spirit will renew and strengthen you in ways you could not guess.
God bless you in getting to the good heart.