A Fruitful Heart

And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.
—Matthew 13:23

In our discussion of Jesus’ parable of the four soils, we have seen His explanation of the impenetrable heart and the shallow heart. Today we will look at the remaining two soils, each of which represents a person’s heart in response to hearing the Word of God.

The third soil represents the infested heart. Verse 22 says, “The one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” This is a person who looks like everyone else in church. But if his heart is infested, he has a hard time concentrating on the sermon. He is thinking about his to-do list. He is thinking about the meeting he has this week. He is thinking about his financial situation. He is so distracted that the Word can’t take root in his heart because spiritual life is being strangled out by the worries of this world. And of all the things that can choke out your spiritual life, Jesus singles out a love for money: “the deceitfulness of wealth.” There is something about a preoccupation with money that destroys any buddings of spiritual life. That is why Paul said, “The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10).

Finally, there is the soft heart, or the fertile heart. Verse 23 says, “The one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” This is the climax of the story. This is the only soil that actually brings forth fruit. In the first type of soil, the seed was snatched away before it could ever take root. In the second and third types of soil, there was the budding of spiritual life, but still there was no fruit. It’s only in this final kind of soil that fruit is produced. And by the way, that is Jesus’ point over and over again. The sign of true spiritual life is fruit. If there is no fruit, there is no spiritual life. The proof of salvation is fruit. For as Christ said, “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16).

What kind of fruit? I could mention all kinds of things, including a love for God and a sincere desire to obey God in every part of your life. The fruit of the Spirit, mentioned in Galatians 5, includes love, self-control, and freedom from anger. But the Bible is very clear that the absence of spiritual fruit in your life is evidence that there is no spiritual life.

This parable calls for some serious self-examination. Is there fruit in your life? Again, Jesus makes it very clear, not every Christian produces the same amount of fruit. But where there is life, there is fruit. Where there is no fruit, there is no life.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Matters of the Heart,” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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