In the parable of the sower (Luke 8), Jesus mentioned four kinds of soils, representing stages of a heart. This is a story of growth and proper development. At any given moment in life, there are only three possible reasons we are not developing as we should. The first reason (stated yesterday) was a lack of value for truth. The second condition is not a LACK of value, but a LOSS of value. We love truth, but we fail to nurture and support it.
What was once open to the growth while it showed value to us soon becomes abandoned when there is no longer an immediate benefit.
Jesus said they are those who, "when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away" (Luke 8:13). What was once received with joyful excitement quickly drops from favor when difficulties arise. There is no depth in this heart, no nourishment and nurturing of the truth. It lost value to them.
In times of temptation we can often blame God for our troubles. Maybe you've thought this before, "If it wasn't for God's law against this, there would be nothing wrong with it!" Soon the Word seems to be working against us. Eve followed this way of thinking. Convinced by the serpent that God did not have her best interests at heart, she was convinced that eating that forbidden fruit would help her. In that case, God's word prevented her maturation (in her way of looking at it).
Satan delights in fooling us into believing God's word restricts unnecessarily. But remember the words James wrote, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away be his desires and enticed. Then, when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin. And sin, when it is full grow, brings forth death. Do not be deceived my beloved brethren" (James 1:13-16).
There is a pattern to all sin.
- We have a desire.
- That desire conceives--i.e., we get a sinful idea (concept) for how to fulfill that desire.
- We act upon that concept to fulfill that desire. (We sin.)
- Sin grows and brings forth our death.
To win over temptation, interrupt the pattern by introducing God's word.
It looks like this.
- We have a desire (usually based on a need or perceived need).
- Instead of accepting a sinful concept, we choose to look to God's word for how to fulfill that desire.
- We avoid sin.
The heart must be full of God's word; we must nurture it within. The practice of God's word cannot come until it lies deep in the heart and is cherished there as the way of Life. When we continue to nourish our love for truth by using that knowledge, we will become more righteous and produce the fruit God intends. Following God will no longer be a chore or duty, but a joy! Trust God's word to lead you in the right pathway even if it does not seem possible.
So the challenge for today is to nurture truth and use God's guidance in fulfilling the desires of life.