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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

Stony Places

Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. ~Matthew 13:5-6


Much of the ground soil in the Bay Area is a composition of top soil that appears usable for planting and bottom soil that consists of hard, clay-like dirt. This bottom soil makes growing any kind of plant a challenge. Seeds that go beneath the top soil will start to grow and roots will spread, but it is unable to go very deep due to the clay-like bottom soil. A plant might show early signs of growth, but unless those roots can go deep, the plant will be challenged to thrive for a long time. Our devotion this morning considers what Jesus referred to as “stony soil.” Soil that is just like this clay-like soil that I referred to. Soil is a picture of the heart of the individual who has heard the Word of God.

We see the condition of the soil.

Stony soil gives the appearance that growth can be sustained. Seeds can start to germinate in the pliable top soil, but way beneath the top soil is this hardened, rock-like stony soil. Plants cannot go beneath this stony soil unless it is broken up and made fertile enough to allow for deep-root growth. From the surface, a seed might bring forth sprouts and appear healthy, but in reality it is just top-soil growth. This is a picture of an emotional hearer of God’s Word. An emotional hearer reacts quickly and favorably, but when temptations and peer pressure come, this kind of person backs off. When there is little to no root, this kind of hearer shrivels up and backs out of any commitment. This kind of heart is emotional, unstable, and does not see growth. This person gets excited at first, but lacks substance for long-term sustainability. Does this kind of heart describe you? Are you one who gets very emotional when you hear the Word of God, but you do not have long-lasting results?

We see the challenge of the soil.

When the sun comes up, the plant growth is scorched and ultimately withers away. The soil condition precludes the plant from taking deep root. The secret to a lasting, satisfying, and fruitful Christian life is when the Word of God can take deep root. This means it dwells deep within the heart. It is the tree that dwells by the rivers of water: its leaf does not wither and whatsoever is done prospers. Hard soil results in little depth. A hardened heart where God’s Word is rejected and unable to go down deep cannot be productive. It will have immediate sprouting, but no long-term sustainability. The problem is never with the seed. The problem is always with the soil. What kind of heart do you have? Is it a heart where the soil is good for growing or a heart where there is clay-like substance beneath and the seed cannot take root?

We see the correction to the soil.

How do you deal with stony soil? Well, this fallow soil needs to be broken up. God’s Word is like a hammer. We must allow the Word of God to break our pride, our stubbornness, our disobedience, and our resistance. Then, this hardened soil needs to be watered and mixed up with good, fertile soil. God’s Word is pictured as water as well. We need to spend enough time in the Word to allow it to work its way deep within. We need to go from having a weakened conscience to a good conscience. We must get to the place where we can discern right from wrong. We must have a repentant heart that responds to the truth of God’s Word and allows it to change us. When change occurs, that is an indication that the seed is taking deep root. When the roots go downward and deep, a healthy plant develops, and fruit will be present.

The key to spiritual productivity is your heart. Let your heart always be ready to receive the Word, and let the Word go deep. Examine your heart today, and break up any hardened clay quickly. Let the soil of your heart be good soil that brings forth much fruit!

Have a deeply-rooted God Morning!

Bible Reading Schedule: Luke 6-7

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