Am I retaining and persevering in the truth of God’s word that I have already heard?
11 "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
INSIGHT: There is no Biblical reason to believe that any of the first three seeds make it to heaven. My seed was sown among the thorns, and has since been set free. It is the theme of my story—a man trapped between his love for God and his love for success, because he is so driven to find the love and acceptance that he didn’t feel as a child.
I believe the majority of us living in the Western world are those who have received the seed among the thorns. Materialism is winning and the evidence is overwhelming. I meet too many Christians who cannot even identify with the walk I am now enjoying with Jesus, other than to label it “radical”. Today, I feel alone (not lonely) even among the majority of “Christians”. At first, I even wondered if there was something wrong with me, until God blessed me to read a chapter by A.W. Tozer entitled, “The Saint Must Walk Alone.” The first time I read it, I balled for several minutes because Tozer had just explained everything I was experiencing, yet didn’t understand.
I'm convinced because of the implications in v. 13 that this parable is not set in stone, such that we have no ability to affect our seed’s outcome. If the outcomes were set in stone, what would be the need for testing? I believe Christ is admonishing us to pay attention to this danger, and to avoid allowing our spiritual life to be choked off. In v.15, we read the three simple (but not easy) actions we must take in order to produce a crop (produce fruit). We must hear the word, retain it (through repetition, meditation, and practice), and never give up.