Perseverance

Soil Improvement

But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. Luke 8:15 NASB

Have you ever planted a garden which looked great in spring as it sprouted and blossomed, only to be parched by the sun or overgrown with weeds in late summer?

Jesus presented a parable about four kinds of soil with four results. All began with the Sower sowing seed. Some seed fell on the hardened path and got trampled on, eaten by birds. Some fell on rocky shallow ground; the sun scorched the rootless plants. Some seed fell among thorns which choked the plants. But some seed fell on good soil and yielded fruit (Luke 8:5-8).

Jesus explained that the seed is the word of God. If we hear the word with hardened hearts, the devil comes and snatches it away. If we receive the word with joy but have no root, we’ll fall away during trials. If our soil is thorny, we’ll hear the word, but life’s worries, riches and pleasures choke it, and we don’t mature (Luke 8:11-15).

How do we help our roots to grow? How do we keep the weeds from choking growth? In Jesus’ time, seed was scattered before it was plowed into the ground. God plows, softening our hard hearts through difficult circumstances. What we think is preventing us from growing may be the very thing God uses to cause us to grow.

The word perseverance used in Luke 8:15 is the Greek hypomonē which means ”steadfastness, constancy, endurance.” In the New Testament it is the characteristic of one who is not swerved from deliberate purpose and loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.*

What are the weeds we need to pull up? Sin, whether obvious or hidden, interferes with growth. Instead of healthy roots, we may be growing bitterness and anger. Doubt and fear can choke faith and trust in God. Blame-shifting takes the focus off our sin. Self-pity and self-reliance blind us to God’s power.

The person with good soil has trials and sufferings just as persons with other types of soils. The difference is in how this person puts down healthy roots and perseveres.

How’s your soil? Is your garden producing good fruit?

DIG DEEPER:

Read Romans 5:1-5. (Note the word perseverance may be translated patience in some versions). What is the sequence Paul gives and the result of growing in grace? How would  you describe your pattern of growth? What specific circumstances has God used in your life to cause you to grow?

What illustration does Hebrews 12:7-15 use and what fruit is produced in this way?

Do you want to improve the soil of your heart? Use this helpful chart: Soil Improvement

Nancy J. Baker

* Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for hypomonē (Strong’s 5281)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 19 Aug 2013. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm? strongs=G5281 >

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