January 14, 2011: Matthew 13:1-23 Devotional Sharing

Submitted by Bryan Song, Gracepoint Austin

Matthew 13:1-23

Which soil would be an apt description of my spiritual condition today? As I think about my spiritual condition today, I think it’s between the thorn phase and good soil.  Having just come back from the Riverside mission trip, God really softened my heart and opened my eyes to see and ears to hear many things He was trying to communicate to me.  I was reminded of the incredible responsibility I have as a bearer of the Gospel, and how this really is the most precious thing I have been given.  I also was challenged about my role to be Ezekiel on the college campuses.  As the devotions were so fitting during the mission trip, God reminded me that I need to prophesy His words to the valley of dry bones on college campuses, especially the UT campus which is where God has currently place me.  Even with all these meaningful, personal experience from just this past week,  I already do sense Satan at work to try and filter my heart.  He is trying to make my heart filled with all types of thorns and rocks already.  The everyday responsibilities at work, the burdens of parenthood, the upcoming retreat and semester.  He is trying to make me filled with all kinds of worries and anxieties.  And so I’m reminded today of the fragile nature of my own heart, of the difficult work it is to try and have a fertile heart.  With the retreat coming up for Austin next weekend, I know that I need to be vigilant to keep things from cluttering or hardening my heart, so that God’s word can take root in my life.

The rocky soil is actually a reference to a type of shallow soil not uncommon in that area that had a thin layer of rock underneath it.  Thus, the roots could not penetrate deeper into the soil.  Given the link between having no root, and falling away when troubles or persecutions come, what might be some layers of rock that keep the gospel at a shallow level in my life?

The thin layers of rock that have the ability to keep the gospel at a shallow level in my life are my own pride and arrogance.  To think that I’m okay with myself, and that I have it together is something I’m constantly reminding myself against, because my tendency is to think I can get make it my own way just fine, which I know to be far from the truth, yet this is the insanity of my pride.  Pride is a monster that will continue to be something I battle against perhaps for the rest of my life.  Though it may not be so visible, not something I easily see everyday, the reality is that it resides in my heart.  It is there, and I would be foolish to think that it’s not there.  Another layer of rock is my family ,and my responsibilities of being a husband and father of two kids.  There are many aspects of family life that can keep the Gospel at a shallow level in my life.  For one, there are responsibilities of parenting that take their physical and emotional toll.  And when this happens, it can cause me to be lazy in my walk with God.  It can cause me to be mechanical in the way I approach my devotions and ministry.  Rather than spend quality time dwelling on what God may be trying to say to me, I’ll have a hurried approach, wanting to just get through and complete the questions.  This approach is pharisaic, merely something that I can potentially get proud about doing.  Yet the main purpose of the devotions, to get me closer in my relationship with God, will be unmet.

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