Jesus Feeding the 5,000

A daily devotion for May 16th

What Is My Heart Like Now?

But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

Matthew 13:23

Notice the qualities of this soil. Here is a heart that is neither hard and narrow nor flippant. He understands the word; he thinks about it; ponders over it. He receives it gladly, and his life is not shallow. He bears fruit. The seed remains long enough to sprout and grow and to come to fruition. Finally, his fruit is not lost in a jumble of things, the thorns and thistles of life, but he brings forth varying amounts — thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.

The key point of this whole parable is that the only one of these four hearts which is genuinely Christian is the fourth one. The sowing is not salvation. Nor is the hearing of the word. Many hear, but they are not Christians. Even the sprouting of the seed is not salvation. The enthusiasm, the joy with which it is received, the immediate results in the life are not yet salvation. Isn't that startling? There are many who profess in this way, but they are not Christians. Salvation is seen when the fruit comes. Fruit appears when the will is genuinely yielded to the lordship of Christ, when the word is welcomed and acted on and allowed to grow to fruition.

But we need to note here that our Lord is describing hearts, not lives. He is not saying that once a man is like a certain kind of soil he is unchangeable. He is saying that his heart may be like this. But hearts change, altered by the circumstances of life. It is quite possible that a single individual can pass through all four of these conditions. Probably all of us do. What Jesus is asking us is, What is your heart like when it hears the word?

It is possible for your hard or shallow or distracted or resistant heart to be brought to God, because God is able to change it. He is the Creator. He is able to break up the hard heart. He is able to deepen the shallow life. He is able to slow up the over-busy life so that the wonderful, living, life-producing word may take root in your heart and change you.

What a picture this is of our age! The sowing has been going on constantly throughout the age. The enemies of the gospel have been at work as well. The devil lies to us, tells us that life consists only of what you can detect with your senses, and that nothing lies beyond that. The flesh allows us to relate only to the passing moment, to the changing scene, the surface of life, which touches our emotions and centers our attention upon them so that what concerns us is only how we are feeling at the moment. That is the destructive principle of the flesh at work. The world is that which engages us in busyness, in trying to amass riches, involved with the cares of this life, preserving our possessions and our material wealth, instead of personal fellowship and spiritual relationship. This is the world at work to destroy us. But as the word of God falls upon us, the question each of us must ask is, What is my heart like now? And with that our Lord leaves this parable with us, for us to answer that question in the depths of our hearts.

Heavenly Father, I ask that you will take my heart and make it good soil, responsive, ready to listen, ready to think, ready to pay attention.

Life Application

What is my heart like now?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Case of the Lavish Farmer

Listen to Ray