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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 9:44 PM
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Dirt and fruit

Dirt and fruit

This column represents the thoughts and opinions of Dr. Ron Braley. This is not the opinion of the Taylor Press.

I once heard the saying, “No root, no fruit.” It’s true, especially where God is concerned. Dirt that lacks nutrients, whether natural earth or spiritual soil, stunts root growth.

Here, we’ll look at the spiritual stuff. Jesus addressed spiritual seeds, sowers and receivers in Matthew 13:19 and 18-23. The “seed” is an introduction to God’s kingdom made by a sower — e.g., teacher, evangelist, or disciple-maker; the soil is the recipient. Depending on the sower and receiver, the result can be spiritual fruit or fuel for the burn pile (John 15:4-6). In Matthew 13, Jesus offered examples of the different seed recipients and their conditions to illustrate growth opportunities and outcomes. I’ll present each scenario one at a time.

Roadside (13:4 and 19)

“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.”

A lack of wisdom hides God’s kingdom; erroneous church leaders and teachers can be at fault. Flawed or incomplete evangelism, encouraging someone to enter a one-sided selfish relationship with God without understanding the terms and conditions, is also at fault. The cure?

Find a mature Christ-follower and imitate what you see and hear.

Rocks (13:5-6 and 20-21)

“… 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…” This person understands at least the appealing parts of Christianity and perhaps entered it emotionally. Once the feelings are gone, so is any motivation for growth. As with the roadside receiver, causes include bad teaching, inadequate evangelism and the absence of discipleship.

Thorns (13:7 and 22)

“… 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.” This person probably understands the Kingdom but chooses self-centeredness, where the “lust of the flesh and eyes” rules over all else (1 John 2:15-17).

Good soil (13:8 and 23)

“… 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.” This person likely benefitted from truthful teaching and has a fertile heart, ready to take in and put to work what they learn about God and his kingdom. No burn pile in their future.

To summarize, receive truth and engage in foundational discipleship and formational spiritual disciplines to grow fruit! Live and prosper by imitating authentic Christians who teach and model the Kingdom. What’s next? It’s often difficult to reconcile God’s realm “in the skies” and Satan’s kingdom on the earth and see how all things will be fixed one day as God takes back what’s his. So, let’s go there next time.

Meanwhile, always test what you hear or read to ensure it resonates with God’s nature and desires.

Questions or comments?

Email [email protected].

Blessings and peace, Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.


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