How to (not) grow: Don’t Take Responsibility for the Condition of Your Soil
In the Parable of the Sower/Soils (Luke 8), Jesus describes some of the reasons people do or don’t receive the gospel, as well as what gets in the way of people growing in the gospel.
Here’s the lesson from the good soil: You won’t grow much if your soil isn’t in good shape.
And good soil doesn’t just happen. It requires some attention. That’s really the takeaway from the Parable of the Sower/Soils– Jesus wants his listeners and followers to pay attention to the condition of their soil. Their souls. And even take personal responsibility for it.
To put it another way: You won’t grow much if you don’t pay attention to and take responsibility for the condition of your soil (soul).
Jesus says that our salvation is like being born again. We are brought from spiritual death to spiritual life, through faith in Christ. We are all “baby Christians” to start, and the Christian life is about growing up in the faith. Not just older, but more mature.
And, just like a baby growing into a mature adult, this doesn’t “just happen.”
In most churches we’re not only saved by grace, we’re paralyzed by it… Grace is not opposed to effort; it’s opposed to earning.
– Dallas Willard
There are so many things we can do to encourage growth. We know these things. Good things. Things like studying God’s word, praying faithfully, personal and corporate worship, serving and loving others, and so on.
These things will, hopefully, help us to see God more clearly and love Him more deeply.
These things will, hopefully, encourage our hearts to cling to God’s grace and surrender to his salvation.
These things will, hopefully, always point us to the gospel and help us grow selflessly.
But one thing that’s key to Christian maturity isn’t just doing these things, it’s taking personal responsibility for where your heart and soul is at with God and others.
8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.
15 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.
– Jesus (Luke 8)
Yes, there are things mature Christians do.
And there are things mature Christians are.
But perhaps the most significant thing a mature Christian does is take responsibility for the condition of their own heart and soul and life– their soil. But this doesn’t mean it’s a solo project. Invite others into it. Ask others to help. Seek God’s powerful presence in your life.
But it’s your soil to keep. And you are God’s to grow.