Monday, February 4, 2008

Growing Roots

I like to think that I have a fairly strong faith. That when life tries to get me down I'll turn to God for strength. That my belief in Christ is so deeply planted in my spirit that it will not fade away during difficult times. But thinking is one thing - I'd like to be sure!

This morning, I read the parable of the sower (luke 8:4-15):
While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown."
When he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, 'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'
This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

How do I KNOW if the seeds of God's Word were planted in good soil? Better yet, how can I prevent them from simply 'falling on rocks' or 'growing among thorns?' Is there something I can do to help my faith take root?

I've seen people go either way - for some, life goes crazy and they grow deeper into their relationship with the Lord; for others, they begin to question what they've believed and doubt who God is. So what's the difference? And what can I do to solidify my faith, so that when tough times come (which they will - James 1:2 says WHENEVER you have troubles, not IF you have troubles), my faith won't fall away or get choked up?

I've got some ideas, but what I'm really looking for here is COMMENTS! What do you think can be done to grow a deep faith with strong roots?


  1. Hmmm, kinda sounds like a conversation we had the other night. Good question though, not sure I have the answer at this precise moment.... wish I did.

  2. Wish I had an answer for is definately something I also have pondered... can't wait to see if anyone has anything good to input on this

  3. I am guessing this post is a result of a few certain emails I sent your way, or at least I added to thoughts you already had. I think it is niave to blindly follow, especially when tragedy hits, without being confident in what you believe to be true. At this point, I don't know what that is. Scripture contradicts itself and makes me wonder a great deal. Not of God's existance so much, but the 'rules' and 'life lessons' I have been taught within the church. I could easily turn this comment into a three page document, but will spare you :) It would get messy.

  4. Heidi and Barb - even if you have thoughts/ideas that are not precise or certain, I'd love to hear them. Do you think your faith will hold up under intense pressure? Why or why not?

    Thanks Louise - I think you've helped me to elaborate on my question... How can we be conifdent? What can be done to build that confidence, to solidify it, so that when tragedy hits we are not 'blind' or 'naive,' but are sure?

  5. Is God who He says He is or is He not? That is the question. To me it's all about choices. I choose to believe that God is everything He says. I have to admit that I struggle sometimes when people doubt God's real-ness in their lives. Fortunately I guess, I've never doubted that way. I can doubt people, doubt myself, feel insecure in my circumstances, but for me, I chose to believe in God so I know I'm never walking alone.

    However, on your question regarding the soil in my soul - good question. I'd love to say my soil is rich, dark and moist - ready for a great harvest - but honestly, it's often hardpacked by self-will. I just keep praying that God will create a yielded and open heart to Him. That my desire will be for Him. I know that on my own I can do nothing but through Him I can do anything. I'm resting in Him to make me fertile ground.


  6. Tyler...I do believe my faith will hold up even under extreme pressure. I guess time will tell..
    I believe God is good and I have learned so much along the way and have learned that God is always there in every situation..even if you do not realize it at the time

  7. I don't doubt in if He is who He says He is, but rather in what I have believed to be true of Him. So much of my walk is based upon what others have taught me, or adapting values that maybe are man made. I think I am on a walk of self exploration, needing a bit of concrete to define what it is about Him that I believe. Not only do I have to find who I am but who He is to me as an individual.

  8. Louise, I think your comments are so true. We were talking at bible study last night how some people struggle with knowing God because they haven't gotten to know him personally - they only know what they've been told. Somehow, each and every one of us has to encounter God individually. Sometimes (often) that's through pain or a crisis - when we fall on our knees and he meets us there. So often we look to others to guide us, teach us, and fill our empty spaces. We think that because God isn't walking beside us like a human that His love is somehow not sufficient. We say His love isn't like human love and we continue to crave our fulfillment from others.
    I think what God wants, and what our souls desire, is to have a one on one intimate relationship with our maker. He wants to be our all in all and show us that He is more than sufficient.
    How we get there is uniquely individual...but He's waiting for us - arms outstretched. Too cool.


  9. I guess that leaves the question of how? I thought I knew, I thought I had it down pat, but that personal walk became tainted with lies and deception that ultimately God knew was going on but I didn't. Not only do I feel lied to by a man that called me his wife but by God who allowed it to carry on until the point I am at now. Am I bitter? Who wouldn't be?

    A nine comment post Tyler, you must be so excited! :)

  10. Nah, I won't be satisfied till I get at least 22 comments (LOL).

    As for the how, I think each person is different. But ultimately, we can never go wrong by getting deep into the Word, spending time worshipping, and praying diligently. And if the need for answers/ understanding/ wisdom is really pressing, fasting is another idea.

    Did God allow this to happen in your life? Sure. Did He try to prevent it? I'm guessing yes. Unfortunately, some people will go their own way no matter how loudly God tries to get their attention.

    I am sad and angry that you were betrayed in this way, and I don't blame you for feeling bitter. But I do know that God is with you, and my prayer is that you will experience Him in a new way through all of this pain and heartache.

  11. Having been on the road of many up and downs hanging on to God has been hard at times...and only because I let my pain cloud over what was really taking place...Hard times and to some of us they come more often ...why that is I do not know...but having traveled a road that is full of ups and downs I understand what God wants of me and has asked of me.
    He wants me to want just one else can fill the desires of my heart..He wants me to trust HIM in not only the good times but the hard fall on my knees crying out to HIM...not just my friends..
    There are times in the last year that it has been very hard to hold to God's word...and I think what has helped in time of this are the to be around people who know who God is...
    So in times of hardship I turn on the worship music a wee bit louder so it can penetrate the lost part of my soul and give me the comfort He seeks me to find in Him...
    Does this make sense?

  12. I'm not ready to let this one go yet - heres an email I just received...


    I envy Kevin. My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night.

    He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, 'Are you there, God?' he said. 'Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed...'

    I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique
    perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.

    He was born 30 years ago,mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult.

    He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every
    Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

    I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?

    Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese
    for dinner, and later to bed.

    The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers
    excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.

    He does not seem dissatisfied.

    He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work.

    He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

    And Saturdays-oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. 'That one's goin' to
    Chi-car-go!' Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.

    His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

    And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.

    He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.

    His life is simple.

    He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not

    His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in

    He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax

    He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.

    He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.

    Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.

    Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp. God seems like his
    closest companion.

    In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.

    It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine
    knowledge that rises above my mortal questions. It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap . I
    am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.
    Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.
    And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.
    Kevin won't be surprised at all!



    This devotional has really ministered to me in my tough times.

  14. OMG, when I first starting reading I thought you said reading the parable in the shower, maybe God's way of saying, slow down and read my words.
    I really don't think it matters where God's words are planted, you bloom where you are planted, right? God's words have been around for much longer than any of us have and I know myself, have chosen to listen (good soil) and have chosen not to hear but not listen (not letting the roots take).
    I think you even asking the question means that his words are planted in good soil and will flourish.
    God doesn't want us to beat ourselves us worrying about not being good enough. I really thing we need to praise what is right and not be so concerned about what we are doing wrong.
    Maybe I am simplifying it to far but I think we the endless love God has for each and everyone of us that if our faith falters, as I am know mine has, that eventually we will fall on the right soil and flourish there to make up for the times we falter.

  15. Thanks for posting - great insight! I'd love it if you'd introduce yourself... :)


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