Matthew 13:1-23 is the well-known Parable of the Sower. It tells of a sower who scattered the seed of God’s Word on the soil, or hearts, of four people. Following the parable, Jesus explains it so His disciples could understand:
“Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom [regarding salvation] and does not understand and grasp it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and at once welcomes it with joy; yet he has no [substantial] root in himself, but is only temporary, and when pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles and falls away [abandoning the One who is the source of salvation]. And the one on whom seed was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the worries and distractions of the world and the deceitfulness [the superficial pleasures and delight] of riches choke the word, and it yields no fruit. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands and grasps it; he indeed bears fruit and yields, some a hundred times [as much as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty.” (Mathew 13:18-23, AMP).
Notice each of these people had the same Word preached to them, yet each responded differently. Each had a strength or weakness that caused the Word to die or caused it to grow.
The Wayside Soil
The first example describes a person who does not understand the Word that is given to them. They hear it but it goes in one ear and out the other. The Words falls to the wayside where it is easy for the devil to come and snatch away. Because they didn’t diligently guard their heart and seek to understand, the Word produces nothing in their lives (Proverbs 4:23).
The Stony Soil
The second example talks about someone who gets excited about the Word, but the joy is shallow and temporary, more based on emotion. They don’t value it enough to study it and get it into their heart. As a result, it becomes head knowledge rather than a firm conviction of the Word’s truth, and the trials of life quickly overcome them. Again, nothing comes from the Word’s planting.
The Thorny Soil
The third example tells of someone who hears the Word, but it doesn’t bear any fruit because other things come in and snuff out its potential. Life, with all its allurements and cares, is a higher priority to this person. Like the stony soil, they don’t value the Word enough to give it their attention. Their life then holds no godly fruit.
The Good Soil
The fourth example was much different than the first three. It describes good soil—someone who both hears the word and understands it. They can understand it because they value it and allow it to go deep into their heart. They become rooted and grounded in what they believe, rather than letting the devil, distractions, and the cares of life to overcome it (Colossians 2:7). The result? They produce fruit.
Notice that the sower did not force the soil to be good soil. He simply sowed the Word. Just the same, God does not decide for us what soil we will be. We have the power to understand and to see it produce in our lives. But we must value and be receptive to the Word we’re given for it to bear fruit. We can either allow life and its distractions to influence our hearts, or we can value God’s Word enough to study it, speak it, and act on it (Proverbs 4:20). How much we do this determines how much fruit we will produce. It’s our choice.
“Then the disciples came to Him and asked, “Why do You speak to the crowds in parables?” Jesus replied to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has [spiritual wisdom because he is receptive to God’s word], to him more will be given, and he will be richly and abundantly supplied; but whoever does not have [spiritual wisdom because he has devalued God’s word], even what he has will be taken away from him. This is the reason I speak to the crowds in parables: because while [having the power of] seeing they do not see, and while [having the power of] hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand and grasp [spiritual things]” (Matthew 13:10-13, AMP).
We know people by the fruit they bear in their lives (Matthew 7:15-20). If we want to project God’s nature in our lives, we must have good soil that produces good trees that produce good fruit. Good fruit would include a holy lifestyle, answered prayer, love and good works, and a faithfulness to the Kingdom of God. This is the fruit of a victorious life.