(Soil of the Heart: Part Two)

I’m tempted daily to have a shallow faith.

You know the kind I’m talking about. It’s tempting to isolate our spirituality to highlighting a great verse in our quiet times, sharing a graphic with a catchy quote on it, or raising our hands in worship when singing that song that seriously grips our hearts.

But then Monday morning rolls around and we wake up in the middle of our reality- temper tantrum toddlers, suffocating anxiety, constantly complaining co-workers, or that disease that’s eating away at our bodies.

When we come face to face with the daily demands of life, we so easily neglect the good promises of truth over our lives. We don’t forget the truth, but the needs of the moment become the forefront of our thoughts as the Word slowly fades into the background.

It’s not that we’re being insincere in the moments where we are in the Word or singing the Word. We may initially receive God’s promises and truth with joy, but if we neglect the Word as we live out our lives, our faith will be shallow at best. We must find a way to merge truth with our everyday moments.

Truth only plants deep in our hearts if it develops roots in everyday moments.

Jesus spoke to the importance of roots when he discussed the second type of soil, the rocky ground. Jesus said this when describing the heart like the rocky ground-

Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. (Matthew 13:5-6 NIV)

He continued to explain the meaning of this analogy in verses 20-21:

The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

In Luke’s account of this teaching, he uses the phrase “a time of testing” to describe the reason for falling away.

For years, I considered the “trouble” or the “time of testing” to be my worst fears becoming a reality- a catastrophic life-changing event.

But what if the time of testing is simply real life?

Sure, the darkness of real persecution and overwhelming trouble are the most pressing trials we will face.

But what if everyday opposition is the time of testing? Our everyday moments a test of the depth of the Seed in our hearts? How deeply did that seed of truth plant? Did we dig deep? Or did it remain near the surface of our hearts and then slowly lose its life?

Jesus said the rocky soil produces no fruit because it lacks roots.

If the Word isn’t deposited deep enough to establish roots, then growth will only occur so long as the temperature and weather conditions are just right.

But the moment when life gets too hot and the rain doesn’t pour in provision, we scorch and burn out, wither and fall over.

This is because roots are one the most important parts of a plant. When a seed grows, the root is the first organ to appear.

The root anchors the plant. Keeps it in place. Steady. Firmly positioned.

The root also nourishes the plant. It seeks out water and minerals from the soil to send into the stem and all the way to the fruit.

If the seed of God’s Word is ever going to begin to grow in the soil of our hearts, it usually takes place just as the roots of a plant grow, in the underground, unseen instances when we believe God’s Word right where we are.

No one sees what happens underground in our hearts. It’s the sacred, secret exchange with God when we believe His promises over our lives even when some are unseen, unrealized, or unfelt in the current moment.

As we receive God’s truth in a seemingly insignificant moment of trouble or opposition, our roots begin to expand.

Day by day and little by little, the roots of a plant grow out and expand, and can eventually cover hundreds of miles underneath the earth.

In the same way, as we believe God in more and more circumstances, however small, His truth expands its reach and covers more ground in the soil of our hearts.

More ground means more nourishment for the plant. Roots send water all the way through the stem, through the branches, and to the very fruit on the end of the vine. The visible fruit draws its liveliness from the unseen root.

If we want to be fruitful in every good work, it matters how deeply we are rooted.

Truth goes deep when we dig deep in the everyday moments and let the seed of the Word establish roots-anchoring and fully nourishing us in every season of our souls.

Father, thank You that Your Word is true no matter what we see. We walk by faith, not sight. We believe Your Word is true even when we can’t see or feel that it is. Help me to dig deep in the everyday moments and invite Your promises in. Help me to see You in the moments that are unseen by others, day by day inviting Your presence into new crevices of my heart. Let Your Word take root in my heart in these underground moments so that fruit can grow and be seen as evidence of Your life nourishing me.