Mark 4:1-9 presents this parable of soils, and the crowds walking away without any spiritual application. It is in the following verses that the few disciples begin to ask the meaning of the parables. Christ’s response in Mark 4:14-20 gives us a glimpse into the soil of our souls.
The four soils each represent your heart's willingness to receive the Word of God.
The first soil of Mark 4:14-15 represents a Deceived Heart. This soil is too close to the road, a hard heart that finds no room for God’s Word. The deceived heart lets Satan come and steal away the Word without anything sinking in. How often we forget a spiritual lesson before we have opportunity to share or write it down where we will remember it.
The second soil (Mark 4:16-17) responds quickly to the seed, but when the sun’s heat comes it withers for lack of soil. This emotional response is the Lovey-Dovey Heart. This heart is not willing to pay the price of being a Christian. There were thousands upon thousands who tracked Jesus down to watch him perform miracles, but only a dozen or so men who were willing to follow. What crowd do you find yourself in?
The third soil (Mark 4:18-19) sinks the seed in deep, but allows the weeds to grow and choke it out of producing any fruit. This Distracted Heart fails to produce fruit because of the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. Our world knows busy-ness, and we can see ourselves so busy that we forget to pick up our Bible, or even reflect on spiritual truths every week, but at what cost are we willing to keep living in this way?
The only fruitful soil (Mark 4:20) is the Discerning Heart that represents those who honestly come to Christ and believe the gospel. This heart sees fruit and reminds us of the continuous fruitfulness in every disciple’s life. Where is your fruit? Check your heart.
The point of this passage isn’t about how much “fruit” you produce, but it’s about our response. There are lots of ways we might respond, but ultimately we either reject the Gospel, or we believe and repent.
What will your response be? What is your receptivity to the Word of God?
Questions to Consider:
Do you find yourself with a hard heart?
Break up the soil and let God’s Word sink in. Take a truth from God’s Word and meditate. Start with a Fighter Verse.
Do you find yourself with a hollow heart?
Give God’s Word more room to grow. Let your excitement for God’s truth resinate through your life.
Do you find yourself with a half heart?
Consider what Christ called us to in the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20). Every believer is called to make disciples. Consider the cost of continually finding something that is more important than church, fellowship with other believers, or time in the Word. Take a look at your recent purchases. What does that tell about your true desires? Cling to God's truth.
Do you find yourself with a whole heart?
Are you thrilled to study God’s Word and see it become alive in your life and the lives of those around you? Trust in God to produce a great work in your life ‘both to will and to do of his good pleasure” Phil. 2:13. Share this parable with a friend. Christ's words to us have great significance.