But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. ~Matthew 13:8
Many years ago when I was in college, my first employer had a newly-constructed home that he purchased in a nice, upscale area of Contra Costa County. He discovered that his house was sinking in the front. A soil test was conducted to determine if the soil was buildable soil. Needless to say, it was not and he was involved in a lengthy lawsuit with the builder. Soil testing is a necessity for anyone thinking of purchasing land. Soil in the Bible is picture of the heart of man. This morning, let us see the importance of a soil test.
There is dangerous soil.
Three types of dangerous soil are described for us. There is wayside soil that has not been cultivated for planting. This is the roadside that is frequently traveled by passersby. It is soil where the seed sown lands on the way side, and it is either trampled on by the passersby or the fowls of the air snatch it up. This is a very hardened heart that despises God’s Word. Next, there is shallow soil where beneath the topsoil is hardened clay. Any seed that falls on shallow soil never takes deep root. This kind of soil refers to the emotional hearer who gets excited easily, but never allows the Seed to work its way deep beneath the surface. Where there is no root, there is no fruit. Last, there is thorny soil. Seed that is sown here winds up growing among thorns. The thorns eventually choke off the good growth. This refers to how the cares of this world subtly choke the Word of God from having any deep, lasting results. These three kinds of soil prevent the Seed of God’s Word from doing a deep, abiding work.
There is desirable soil.
This kind of soil is soil that has been broken up and tilled, and is ready for the seed. It is soil that allows the roots to go deep. It is soil where weeds and thorny plants are plucked out as soon as they are discovered. It is soil that is watered. It is good soil that brings forth its fruit in its season. It is precious soil. It represents a teachable and tender heart. It is productive soil. It is soil that brings a large harvest that is thirty, sixty, and an hundredfold in results. It is predictable soil. It is soil that will consistently bring forth good fruit. God wants every heart to be tender and ready to receive the engrafted Word. The soil determines how productive the planted Seed will be.
There is the discerning of soil.
We must take time to discern what kind of soil our heart is. The fruit or the lack thereof is a good indicator. Discerning the soil means we must do a periodic soil test. Is your heart touched by the Word of God? Is your conscience pricked about a sin or weight that is holding you down? Are the nine Fruit of the Spirit abounding in your life? Are you adding to your faith, as II Pet. 1:5-9 speaks of? Are you quickly obedient to God when God’s Word is read, memorized, mediated upon, or preached? What kind of soil is your heart? A soil test reveals to us what kind of heart we have.
Don’t let your heart become dangerous soil. Be vigilant in making sure the soil of your heart is being broken up, cultivated, and plowed over. Our hearts must always be ready to receive the engrafted Word.