The Rocky Soil
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
– Matthew 13:20-21
Today I get to share the second poster in the Parable of the Sower series: The Rocky Soil. If you missed the first poster, you can find it here: The Pathway.
In The Pathway, as we kicked the series off, we discussed how this parable is about three hearts that have rejected God and one heart that is redeemed by God. Today we look at the second heart that has rejected.
The Rocky Soil
This soil is the shallow heart of someone who attempts to add God to their life, but never fully gives their life over to Christ. They love the idea of having guilt removed, forgiveness, blessings, and heaven, but have not counted the full cost of following Christ. God sounds like a good idea to them, but not to a point that they count death to be with him as gain (Philippians 1:21).
Jesus says that this type of heart receives the word with joy, yet has no root. This lack of true repentance and faith is later exposed under the scorching heat of trails and persecution. You see, it is not how you feel toward the gospel that proves your salvation, it is how you endure your hardest trial, through the power of the gospel, that is a true evidence of your faith in Christ.
It is easy to love God when things are going great. However, it is the one who has deep roots in Christ that survives the droughts of life. The one who sees Christ as everything they have, everything they need, and the provider of all their strength, they will make it though the long, hot, and dry seasons in their life. Their roots dig down deep to find water that sustains them.
If your faith is one that seeks Christ because you think he will give you lots of stuff, will never let something bad happen to, will take away every pain or suffering in this life, or maybe because you feel going to church is just a good thing to do, you will find yourself dried up and dead under the heat of your trials. You will walk away from your faith in Christ and prove yourself as one who has never taken root, because it is the one who endures to the end that will be saved.
Consider the words of Christ.
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. – Matthew 24:9-13
Paul teaches that those who have true deep roots of faith, are more than conquerors over every trial, because our roots can never be separated from Christ. It is by his power that we endure.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:35-39
And the writer of Hebrews warns that those who shrink back from their faith in trails, show themselves to have never had faith. But those who do have faith, endure and preserve their souls.
But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,
“Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back,my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. – Hebrews 10:32-39
Then finally, Peter sums it up perfectly. He says that the trails are necessary to show the genuineness of our faith.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter1:3-9
If you are going through a hot and dry season in your life right now, keep holding on! Dig deeper! God is able to pull the rocks away and help you grow stronger, but you must trust him. You must give up depending on yourself, your plans, and your strength. Get in his word, grab hold of him, repent from your sin, and see him as valuable enough that not matter what is taken from you in this life, that there is an inheritance being kept for you that outweighs it all!
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
I hope you enjoyed seeing this second poster in the Parable of the sower series! And most of all, I hope that your roots are deep for endurance with Christ! Keep your eyes open for the third poster, Among The Thorns.