The Shallow Heart

The Shallow Heart

This is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.
–Matthew 13:20-21

In the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, the seed represents the Word of God. Whether the Word is received depends on the condition of a person’s heart. Jesus said the first kind of soil represents the impenetrable heart. This is somebody who has so rejected God’s truth that their heart has been hardened to the truth. Then He introduced a second kind of soil: the thin soil. Look at verses 5-6: “Others [seeds] fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.”

Underneath the Palestinian soil, there was a layer of limestone, sometimes only a couple of inches beneath the surface. When seed fell on this thin soil, it would begin to take root, but the roots could not penetrate the limestone. Having nowhere else to go, the plant would sprout upward–often blooming more quickly and beautifully than other plants. The only problem was, even though these plants were often the first to bloom, they were also the first to die because they had no root system through which to gather the moisture and nutrients they needed.

This thin soil represents the shallow heart. Verses 20-21 say, “This is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.” This is the person who hears the gospel at a revival meeting or experiences some miraculous healing in his life, and suddenly he is on fire for the Lord. He is at church every time the church doors open. He is sharing his faith with anyone and everyone.

But then a trial comes into his life. He becomes ill or loses a loved one or suffers a financial setback. And because he has no foundation, because he has not developed that deep relationship with God that is built on the truth of God’s Word, he falls apart and falls away.

In the church, we often talk about how trials strengthen our faith. The fact is, sometimes trials strengthen us, and sometimes they destroy us. It all depends on whether we have a strong foundation–a foundation built not just on experience, but on the truth of God’s Word.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Matters Of The Heart” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org