"Therefore hear the parable of the sower:
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
Tonight, in the middle of prayer, a thought sprang into mind. What if the three unfruitful seeds stood as warnings against the three enemies of the soul - the devil, the flesh, and the world? To combat these, I need to "ask, seek, and knock." (Luke 11:9)
Resist the devil - Ask God: I need to pray that the Lord would plant the seed of His word in understanding. Only the Author of Scripture can make me understand the meaning of His book. Satan's great sin was pride (Isaiah 14:13-14) and so I must turn and run in the opposite direction toward humility and holy reverence of God. A beautiful and powerful way that I can rely on God is through prayer. So may I ask God for help. Let me ask Him. Let me resist the devil through prayer, making my needs and requests known to God with thanksgiving. Let the seed of truth be planted in humble, safe soil.
Crucify the flesh - Seek God: I also need to seek, looking outside of myself by relying not "on the root in myself" but looking to the Root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:10). If I look only inside myself, my religion is self-focused and self-serving. I need to crucify my self-centered heart and seek the God who reigns over all. If my faith is based in myself, it will roll and sink like Simon in the sea. If my faith is based in God and my root is in Him, I stand upon the Rock and I will be able to walk on the water like Peter. I've heard it said that our confidence should not be placed in our "faith" but in the One "in whom we have faith." Or as the hymn says, "My love is ofttimes low, My joy still ebbs and flows, But peace with Him remains the same, No change my Savior knows." Faith that is based on God is a faith that will not be shaken - instead, that faith will shake the mountains and cast them into the sea. And how do I get faith? By hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). So may I spend more time sitting at the Rabbi's feet and listening to Him! May I crucify the flesh by seeking God. Let me seek Him. Let the seed of truth take root in the True Vine, that is Christ (John 15).
Love home more than the world - Knock on God's door: Finally, I need to remember that this world is reserved for fire and a new creation (2 Peter 3). As a citizen of a better country, I need to "seek those things which are above, where Christ is" (Colossians 3:1). If I allow my mind to get caught up with the temporary things which have no impact 10,000 years from now, then I will be choked by the cares of this world. On the other hand, if my perspective is aligned with God's, I will rise above the cares of this world and know what the Lord meant when he said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled." Why do I often feel so down? Why do I often feel so worn out? God welcomes me into His presence and offers His peace freely to me (Matthew 11:28, John 14:27). Why do I not receive it? Because I'm pacing outside His door, too blinded by earthly things to come and knock. May I come to God's door, knock, and be welcomed into His presence. May I sit with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6). Let me attend church and worship God with the body of Christ and see a preview of the future (Revelation 7:9). Let me come to His church and knock on His door and come in. Let me seek first His kingdom - and all these worldly things shall follow closely behind (Psalm 23:6). Let the seed of truth grow freely, casting off all hindering weeds and reaching heavenward toward the Light (Hebrews 12:1).
May God richly bless you with grace and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen your hands to serve Him as you grow in knowledge of Him. To Him be all glory and honor and praise. Amen.