You have probably heard this saying, ‘Life is a journey’. Our spiritual life is also a journey. Jesus talks about our spiritual life in the Parable of the Sower.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23 NIV
The seed is a metaphor in the parable, which is the word of God, whereas the soil is the man to whom the word is given. While the parable talks about how different people receive the word of God, there is also a progression of levels that a believer must face.
Our spiritual journey starts when we accept the word of God. Even when we accept the word of God, it doesn’t mean we are immune to problems. Do not be distressed if you are tempted to quit. Even Elijah, the great man of God, was almost on the brink of giving up when he was threatened by Jezebel. He still endured.
When we face problems, we can choose to be faithful or to fall away. Even if we are faithful, we can be prevented from being fruitful, if our problems consume us. The same parable mentioned in the book of Luke, says that such seed does not mature.
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
Luke 8:14 NIV
Spiritual maturity comes from persevering and bearing fruit despite our problems.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
Psalms 1:3 NIV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
Hebrews 12:1 NIV
What does it mean to be fruitful? For a seed, it means to mature into a plant and bear fruit, producing more seed. For us, it means to accomplish the purpose of God in our lives unique to our calling.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 NIV