Thursday, April 6th, 2017
Self-Examination (Part 16)
Ears: The Overview
Behold, the sower went out to sow...
Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the Word of the kingdom and does not understand It, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom Seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom Seed was sown on the rocky places, 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. And 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. 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 13:18-23 (NASB)*
The Cliff Notes version (said by Christ Himself) on the crucial health concerns of our ears would be The Parable of the Sower: specifically His post-analysis. Because It's all about how we hear Him and the prior condition of our hearts.
So let's summarize His diagnoses:
1) Confusion prevents His Word from sprouting, so lost lambs are stranded by the wayside. Since they don't recognize their Shepherd's Voice, they are left behind in hostile places. The treatment? Seeking a positive flock; Getting in the midst of true believers; Immersing themselves in the Word of God. Confusion will leave and ears will open by communion with Christ and earnest kin.
2) Superficial faith is easily burned, if the Word has not grown deep enough roots. When digging slightly beneath the surface, the soil of pseudo-Christian hearts is hard. So when afflictions come to test their faith, shallow believers will wilt from the heat. The Treatment? Challenge cultural Christians. If they know how short their roots really are, perhaps they will seek the Vinedresser's help.
3) Jesus said, 'No man can serve two masters' (Matthew 6:24). Even less, multiple priorities. In today's hurry-up-and-get-it world, among modern prosperity Christians, within this era of entitlement, some gardens of faith are poorly tended. Big weeds begin to harm their fruitfulness. God's still, small Voice is lost in the jumble. The Treatment? Kneeling down, pulling weeds and listening.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Keep the soil of your hearts well-tended. Keep it soft and water it often. Expose it to plenty of Sun-Light. Because you're the good soil of this earth, and your witness must be multiplied.**
To Be Continued...
* The Parable of the Sower in Matthew, Mark and Luke: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+13%3A1-23%2CMark+4%3A1-25%2CLuke+8%3A4-18&version=NASB
** The soil of your heart is the 4th soil, the good soil, and it bears abundant fruit.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Self-Examination series.