When reading the parable of the sower in Luke 8, it’s natural to try to figure out which of the “soils” is truly born again. But actually, that misses the point. Surely we can say that the last type of soil represents a genuine believer’s heart because there’s lasting fruit. But again, the main point lies elsewhere.
So what is the point?
The key is that the seed is the Word of God, and it gets scattered by the sower. As it goes forth, it falls into one of four types of soil: the hard-packed wayside, the shallow soil, the weed-infested soil, and the good ground. The soil, of course, represents a man’s heart (v. 15), and the condition of the heart determines what eventually happens with the seed.
To be sure, the parable applies to the preaching of the Gospel: some are completely turned off and reject it; some like what they hear initially, until they find out the implications for daily living; some are too consumed with all the cares and pleasures of life to give them up for the sake of Christ; and some hear, receive, and are totally transformed.
Let’s not limit the application so narrowly, though.
The fact is, every time we sit under the preaching or teaching of the Word of God, the condition of our heart will determine the “seed’s” fruitfulness. That being the case, we should enter a preaching event with an “honest and good heart,” that is, one well-prepared to receive what the Lord has for us.
Think about this honestly. How do you prepare yourself before church on Sunday…or do you at all? Some practical things we can do include working hard to minimize Sunday morning mayhem, spending time in the Scriptures and in prayer before going to church, getting sufficient rest on Saturday night, eating a healthful breakfast, using the pre-service time to read the sermon text, and singing with our minds engaged.
The goal of all this, of course, is to allow the seed of God’s Word to bear fruit in our lives, because, as the Lord Jesus clarified in John 15, it is in the bearing of spiritual fruit that our heavenly Father is glorified!