When Jesus walked on the earth He used parables to explain truth. Specific to the topic of His Word, He gave us the parable of the sower found in Mark 4. Take a moment to read that chapter. Here He likens God’s Word to seeds spread across a field. The types of soil found across the field represent us as we hear what the Bible has to say. Fortunately, each one of us gets to choose which type of soil we will be. According to Jesus, we have four choices. First, some seed falls along the wayside, not technically even part of the field. God’s Word is available to everyone whether one of His followers or not. Unfortunately for those with wayside hearts, there is no effect from God’s Word because the thief steals it before it can begin to germinate.
Among those who do receive the Word and let it sink in, the next group has stony-ground hearts. Jesus is clear that this group gladly hears God’s Word at first, but because they have no depth it affects them only temporarily. As soon as following the Word becomes unpopular or inconvenient, those with stony-ground hearts stumble.
Those in group number three have thorny-ground hearts too full of the distractions around them to let the Word take root. Desire for wealth and concern for temporal things take precedence over the eternal in these hearts. These things choke out the harvest, or the effect the Word could have, from the thorny-ground hearts.
So far this seems like a rather sobering parable. Three of the four groups available to us ultimately see no effect from the Word of God. We can choose to join the fourth group, the good-ground hearts. This is the sole group to see a harvest from the Word because they listen, receive, stick to the absolute truth even when unpopular or inconvenient, and seek first God’s kingdom rather than all the other things that can choke out God’s Word. Free will is a wonderful gift. You alone get to choose to which group you will belong. All of these heart conditions are changeable. No matter which group your heart is in today, it can be changed with repentance and God’s grace.