Last month we talked about the different types of hearts based on the parable Jesus tells in Matthew 13:1-8:
“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”
So why does Jesus tell this parable? What is the connection between obedience and our hearts?
Obedience in the Christian life is very different than obedience in any other religion. God is not just after your actions, He is after your heart. Obedience doesn’t start with what we do (our actions), obedience begins with our desires(our hearts). God knows that when He has your heart, He has you.
The Israelites were often rebuked because they offered the right acts, but their hearts were far from God. Their sacrifices were right, but their hearts were not.
C.S. Lewis makes a similar point in Mere Christianity when he writes these words:
“Christianity is different: harder, and easier. Christ says, “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work. I want it all: I want You. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked – the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.” I have been crucified with Christ.”
He knows that when you truly love Him, you will live for Him.
What evidence suggests we are good soil?
The last heart we talked about was The “Fruitful Heart”. In verse 8 it says the seed fell on good soil and it produced grain. This soil produced a harvest! As we seek to have a fruitful heart, lets look at the evidence of a fruitful heart.
1. A fruitful heart is a believing heart. – We believe Him and His Word.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 says, “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”
2. A fruitful heart is a hungry heart. – We are hungry to know Him.
Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
Psalm 42:1-2 says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”
Our problem is not a lack of knowledge; it is a lack of desire.
3. A fruitful heart is a teachable heart. – We are continually molded by Him.
James 1:22-25 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”
Every morning we wake up and look in the mirror to make ourselves presentable. Mirrors in the ancient world were made of polished metal. You look at a mirror to see what the reflection reveals about yourself.
Vs. 25: But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
We must look intently into the Word and we must continue to look – In other words, take the mirror with you!
4. A fruitful heart is an obedient heart. – The gospel empowers obedience. Obedience doesn’t start with an act, it starts with an affection.
1 John 2:3-6 (NLT) says, “And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”
”A servant’s true obedience can sometimes be as well seen in what he does not do, as in what he does.” – Spurgeon
Friends, the fruitful heart is alive and God’s word is doing something in it and through it. Just like we look in the mirror every single day, as Mamas who are mentoring and discipling our children we must ask ourselves every morning, “How is my heart today?”
Ruth Schwenk, The Better Mom
*References taken from Pastor Patrick Schwenk message on a Fruitful Heart