If you’ve spent much time in church, chances are good that you have heard the parable of the sower. It is found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In this parable, a sower indiscriminately scatters seed and finds that only certain soil is ideal for growth. The seed that fell on the path never made it into the soil and was eaten by birds. The seed that fell onto the rocky areas, with only a little soil, could not grow deep roots and quickly withered. The seed that fell among the thorns or the weeds grew, but ultimately the weeds choked the life out of the plants. Only the seed that fell on soft, fertile soil was able to grow and flourish.
Now, if you’re like me, and you’ve heard this story a million times, you have worked hard to keep your heart soft and teachable, fertile ground for the word of God to flourish.
But the truth is, it wasn’t until a month ago, while on a missions trip to Cortez, CO that God began to refashion my whole perspective on this parable and ultimately the state of my heart. This trip was more than I could have ever expected and way more than I could ever begin to explain. From beginning to end the power and favor of God rested on our group in a completely tangible way. At every turn we encountered divine appointment after divine appointment. We saw hearts moved by the love of Jesus, people healed from long term injuries, and lives transformed by the Holy Spirit.
Out of all of the encounters we had on that trip, I never would have guessed that the most transformative moment for me would come in the form of pulling weeds. And in that moment I had no idea how God would use that experience to change my heart.
We were pulling weeds for a sweet lady in the community and we quickly realized that it was going to be a much bigger project than we had anticipated. We didn’t want to simply pluck the tops off the weeds, knowing they would quickly grow back. We wanted to dig down and pull them out by the roots. Which didn’t seem too difficult looking at the surface. The weeds didn’t seem that big. However, we discovered that much of the soil was soft and fertile, the kind of soil you want to represent the state of your heart. If the soil had been home to flowers and trees and crops, it would have been a beautiful garden.
But just as good soil is fertile for the plants we want to grow, it’s also a breeding ground for weeds.
The roots of those weeds seemed unending. We would dig and dig and dig, many times thinking we had reached the roots, only to realize that we needed to dig more. As we were digging, I remember thinking that there must be a lesson in that process, but I didn’t stop to think about what it was.
Over the next few days it was as though Jesus began to develop this picture, this new understanding, in my heart.
We want our hearts to be soft and tender to the Lord, good soil that will allow for roots to go down deep. However, if we are not deliberate in what we allow to be planted, our hearts can quickly become the third soil, overrun with weeds that choke out any life that is planted. If we allow the wrong ideas and beliefs to be planted in our hearts, those lies can and will grow down deep and can eventually strangle any truth that is planted.
Some of us have weeds that have been growing in us since childhood. A lie that was spoken over us, a thought that seemed true at the time, an action that devalued us. And those weeds have roots that go down deep.
Over the last several days, Jesus has been revealing many of the lies that I have believed, the ones that are deeply rooted in my heart. Most of these are beliefs that I have been made aware of in different seasons of my life. I’ve known just how deceptive they are and have seen that they’ve had some impact on my life. But in the past I’ve always dealt with them on a surface level. I’ve plucked the tops off those weeds and carried on.
And every one of those weeds continues to pop up at the worst possible time. Each one is in direct opposition to a truth that God has planted in my heart. I have a choice. I can continue to pluck the tops off my weeds and bury the roots, hoping that they will go away, knowing they will continue to overpower the truth. Or, I can do the hard work. I can allow Jesus to unearth and uproot everything that He has not planted in me.
I don’t want my heart to be overgrown with lies. I want my heart to be a beautiful, lush garden of God’s truth and life.
As I’ve allowed Jesus to work in my heart, I have suddenly realized exactly why I’ve buried those weeds in the past. The uprooting process is painful! My heart is raw and tender. I feel completely vulnerable and exposed. There is a constant temptation to bury those lies and move on as if nothing happened.
But as those lies have been exposed in my heart, I know that in order to grow in my relationship with Jesus, to allow His truth to flourish in me, I have to expose those wounds and uncover every deception living in my heart. My insecurities and fears have been laid bare before the Lord.
Some of you may be reading this completely aware of what your weeds are, and others may have no idea. But I challenge you today to allow Jesus to expose what’s in your heart. Will you let Him uproot those lies that are keeping you from walking in the fullness of what He has planned for you? Will you allow Him to uncover your wounds so that He can heal them and make your heart whole?
David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23)
I challenge you to pray that prayer. Allow Jesus to search and know your heart. Let Him do the work that will set you free from the lies that have held you back. Let Him replace those lies with the truth.
It may be painful in the moment, but a lifetime of freedom and abundance in Jesus is absolutely worth temporary pain. Don’t stay where you are at. Don’t live battling the same lies over and over again. Let today be the day where you allow Jesus to truly change your heart.