Readings Mark 4
What if the pitcher suddenly decided to quit? Maybe another event distracted him. Now, how does that change the results of the game?
It can be pretty frustrating when you get a group together who says that want to play a game, and then they quickly show that their heart is not in it. I enjoy competition. If I am going to play some sport, I usually like to give it my best, even when I readily know I am not close to the best.
Maybe it was my early domination this year in our fantasy football league that made some not follow things closely and leave their rosters empty at times. They knew I was going to beat them, so why try? 🙂 It just doesn’t seem fair that I have the best record two years in a row only to lose in the playoffs. I am not bitter at all. 🙂
There have been many other occasions where a basketball game, softball game, a monopoly game, started out good, then deteriorated into, “how can I get out of this” type game. The people playing were not true basketball, softball, monopoly, “converts”. Otherwise, they would have finished.
In Mark 4, we read about the sower and the seed. It is a story about the Gospel, the Word of God, being spoken to someone, and the response. Some quickly will say no, some will grab it quickly, but only to let go of it, letting the desires, and concerns of this world grab their hearts. Only the last ones in the parable, are a picture of true followers of Christ, True Converts. They are the ones we see elsewhere in Scripture, that persevere, that are overcomers. There will be evidence of their conversion, bearing fruit that is consistent with their salvation.
So what makes the difference? The parable mentions that different ones/soils received the seed, the Word, the Gospel. It has to do with the soil. Each “soil” received the same “seed”. It has to do with the heart. It has to do with repentance. Has the soil, the heart, been prepared to receive the Word?
Timothy Keller in Gospel in Life, Grace Changes Everything, page 28-30, describes what true repentance is, and isn’t. Religious repentance , “we are sorry for sin, only because of it’s consequences. Sin will bring us punishment–and we want to avoid that, so we repent.” In true repentance, Gospel repentance, “we are sorry for the sin itself.”
True repentance involves deep remorse, it involves understanding our true depravity, and how we have rebelled against a Holy God. We are truly broken, and not just sorry we have been “caught”. We no longer try to please God, but realize we need to accept His perfect gift of His Son, Jesus.
What kind of soil are you? What kind of repentance did you/do you have? Have you seen the fruit yet?
The question continually needs to be asked of us and those around us. Have you truly repented? Are you finishing the “competition”, the “race”? Are you a true convert, still repenting when sin surfaces?
Are you ready to be used to plant some “seed”?
Thankful He prepared this soil,
Let’s talk about the “healthy aspects” of a life of repentance. Should it be a part of a Christian’s life after salvation?