Happy Sunday everyone! I've been studying Matthew 13:1-23, the Parable of the Four Soils. Sketching what I read often helps me see the message more clearly, and I became challenged by Jesus's teaching.
The thorns represent the false security of riches, glamour and fame, as well as the cares of this world. They are actually not a pleasant place to be. It looks green with some lovely purple flowers, but the blossom's only purpose is to reseed more thorny brambles. The things of this world look lovely, at first, but trying to survive in it becomes a struggle, where everything pure and lovely is choked out. Illustrating it made it clear it's a tangled trap. I place I don't want to go.
Leaving the thorns for the open road seems like a way better place to be, but is has its drawbacks as well. Being exposed leaves one vulnerable. It's here Jesus explains how the birds, the enemy, Satan actually, steals whatever truths were given. The open road is where we are robbed of our joy.
Positioning oneself on the rocks looks like a better option. It's not in the thorns and it’s off the open path, but here whatever truths are taught can't take root in our hearts. Why, because it's on the sideline, not in the actual field. It represents half-heartedness, not going all the way, approaching truth but not taking hold of it. When difficulties arise, a hard heart soon looses hope and is filled with despair, easily giving up all it had believed at first.
Ultimately the only fruitful place to be is in the rich soil of God's love, where the seeds of His truths can take root deep within our hearts and lives. It's here where our feet get muddy as the Holy Spirit waters us with His peace. As we abide in Christ's care He surrounds us in His ever-loving protection, fills us with His hope, and causes us to live fruitful lives.
I'm not going to lie to you: it's not always going to be rosy in the fruitful field. The enemy of our souls will plant his weeds among us, the birds will hover overhead, and haters will cast their stones when they don't understand us. But Jesus understands us, and He loves us beyond all measure. There is no better place to be than in His care. When we fully trust and yield to His guidance, He causes His fruit to abound in and though us. Then when the fruit that He planted in our hearts takes root, it reseeds in the lives of others.
May this illustration help you decide where you want to be. Me, I'm choosing to cling to Jesus, the one who paid the ultimate price for my redemption. It's not unreasonable to anticipate thorns, birds, or stones in my journey. But God is bigger than my enemy, for greater is He who lives in me the he who lives in the world.
All glory and honor be to God the Father and to Jesus His Son, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, who made a way for us to be free.