24. Conditions for Growth & Newness

“New Days” Meditations 24: Conditions for Growth & Newness

Mt 13:8 other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop.”

If you wonder where the ‘new’ bit comes in, please be patient. Possibly this verse is not appropriate for Autumn (the Fall) but spiritual realities are not limited by seasons. I have two ideas. First, YOU are the good soil – you’ve proved it by becoming a believer. Second, you can plant spiritual seeds in yourself that will bring NEW fruit.

We may be mixing metaphors here but it may be worthwhile pondering a little more on these two ideas and we’ll start with the ‘good soil’ because in Jesus’ parable, the harvest is not so much determined by the seed – which is the same of all sorts of ground in the parable – but the ground.

In the parable, the seed is clearly the word of God, The ‘good soil’ is contrasted with a) the hard path (v.4) where it was immediately snatched up by the birds, b) the rocky ground (v.5) where it grew and then quickly died because the soil was shallow, c) the soil with thorns (v.7) which chocked the growth.

So according to the interpretation there was hardness that enabled the enemy to snatch away the word (v.19), the shallow ground inhibiting deep roots (v.20,21), and the thorns representing the worries of life (v.23). So, if we want new growth in our lives, our first thing to do is check we don’t have these three conditions:

First, our hearts are not hardened, fixed in outlook, set in our ways, not open to hear the new.

Second, we refuse shallowness, a casual approach to the word of God and to faith and instead have a yearning to learn, to go deeper with God, to take time in His word, asking Him daily to teach us.

Third, we refuse to become so materialistic that we focus our lives on pleasure and enjoyment (as good as they might be) to the detriment of our spiritual lives. What I observe quite often is people who are blessed by God so that their careers or lives are flourishing and bit by bit they stop exercising the spiritual disciplines – daily bible reading, daily prayer, regular worship of God and sharing God’s love – so that unwittingly they become hard, shallow and less concerned for their spiritual welfare, and soon crumble under the weight of the world, no longer having the resources to resists its pressures. So we want NEW life, we want to be open and available to the NEW thing that the Lord is speaking about bringing? OK, but we need to check our lives for these things above. ‘Good soil’ is that which is open, obedient and available to God, yearning for Him to come in power and bring life transformations in us and through us, that is soft and ready to hear, receive and respond to His word when it comes. Yes? Yes! 

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