by Tyler Barnes
Have you ever planted a tree, just to watch it die? For years my dad planted dogwood trees at our house. He was obsessed with the beauty of those trees and convinced that they would grow along our property. He must have planted dozens of them over the years, only for them to die, some slow and some quick. The conditions of the soil were never right for that particular species to flourish. The truth is no matter how many seeds you plant, a seed must be planted in the right conditions in order for it to grow, bud, and blossom. Scripture is full of parables relating our Christian growth to this process of sowing, growing, budding and blossoming. One of my favorite passages speaks specifically about the soil; the soil that our faith is planted in.
“…A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:3-8
Soil matters. What kind of soil is your life? Are you the rocky, impenetrable path were the seed of faith has yet to be planted? Maybe you’re a new Christian, whose walk with God sprung up quickly, but hasn’t built many roots yet. Is your spiritual growth slowly being choked by the thorns of pride, greed, jealousy, self-righteousness, or addiction? We all want to be the good soil, with deep roots, that bears fruit. Good soil is rich in nutrients, having everything it needs to grow. Over time these nutrients can be depleted from the soil and must be added back to the soil for continued growth. The nutrients for spiritual growth are simple. Read scripture daily. Talk with others about spiritual matters often. Meet God in prayer constantly. Be in church consistently. Simple, but difficult because it requires discipline. And then the thorns come, choking off the supply of nutrients and stunting our spiritual growth.
For me, I know I get so consumed with planting seeds, I often forget to check my own soil. I must always be vigilant to pull out the thorns that crop up in my life and keep my soil well-watered and packed full of nutrients for my soul. Be quick to remove the sin that crops up in your life; it is easier to pull out a weed than a bush. Join me today in examining your spiritual soil.