I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. Romans 7:17-20
If every true believer were asked which of the four soil types he preferred to have, every person would probably say they want the soil that allows seeds to thrive. Yet, few of us have it. We love what God loves and value intimacy, communion, holiness, love for the scriptures, etc. So, why doesn’t our desire translate to possession?
The Apostle Paul spells out why. He admits that what he wants to do, he doesn’t do. He knew that the obstacle was what was still so strong deep within him. The flesh.
After reviewing this beautiful parable, my intense desire is stirred up again for fertile soil. Yet, I know I can’t make it happen without God’s help. I must admit my inability to grow righteousness through self-effort. The sins of my flesh, resulting in bad soil, are never overcome without the Spirit. With hardened soil, my flesh bends toward unbelief. With stony soil, my flesh emotionally reacts passionately to the Gospel but can’t sustain it long enough to engage in the Spirit-driven lifestyle. With weeds in my soil, my flesh worries and then take matters into my own hands.
Today, I cry out again for Jesus’ help to move beyond the desire for the right things to the pursuit of them. God will give me the grace, and the grit, to take responsibility for my poor soil types, assess the reasons behind them, and then empower me to engage in true heart change. The Spirit and the Word are the catalysts. Scripture, blown across the darkened landscape of my heart, pulsates with new life. Seeds of the kingdom germinate and before long, there is a hint of the harvest to come. Once I taste of the fruit of fertile soil, I’ll never go backward.
Work the soil in me. Break up fallow ground. Make me ready for kingdom seeds. Amen
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