5 Habits - Word #7

Welcome to Everyday Devotions. These daily Bible readings and Prayer Pathways are designed to help you go deeper with God each day in response to what you are hearing at the Everyday Church services and Life Group gatherings.

Sunday 12th January

In this week’s Everyday Devotions, we are exploring the power of God’s Word to change our lives. We are looking at what Jesus wants to teach us through the Parable of the Sower. Today we are looking at the fourth and final type of soil.

Bible Meditation

Luke 8:4-15

4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “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 ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 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, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” 9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 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.’
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 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. 13 Those on the rocky ground 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. 14 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. 15 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.
1) The seed that falls on good soil represents those of us who are whole-hearted in our response to the Word of God. What do you think Jesus means when he refers to our yielding “a hundred times more than was sown”?

2) Jesus tells us three big things that his whole-hearted followers do with the Word of God. First, they hear it – that is, listen carefully to what it says. Second, they retain it – that is, they meditate on, taking to heart what it means for their lives. Third, the persevere in it – that is, the continue to apply it to their lives even when it proves costly. What would it mean for you, in very practical ways, to do each of these three things more and more each day?

Watchman Nee comments on this fourth group of believers in his book ‘What Shall This Man Do?’ Quoting from the King James translation of verse 15, which refers to the good soil as those “with a good and honest heart”, Watchman Nee argues:

 “The basic condition of a sinner’s salvation is not belief or repentance, but just this honesty of heart towards God … Of the two thoroughly dishonest thieves crucified with the Lord, there was in the one a little bit of honest desire. The publican who prayed in the temple was a crooked man, but in him too there was that honesty to acknowledge his sinfulness and cry to God for mercy … I affirm once again: all that is needed is an honest heart. If you want God there is no difficulty. But praise God, even if you do not want Him, He will still hear you if you will come to Him and be honest about it … I remember that I was once talking to a brother in his home. His wife and mother were upstairs, but his small son was in the sitting-room with us. Presently the little fellow wanted something, and called out to his mother for it. ‘It is up here,’ she replied; ‘come up and get it.’ But he cried out to here, ‘I can’t, Mummy; it’s such a long way. Please bring it down to me.’ And indeed he was very small; so she brought it down. And salvation is just like that. Only by His coming right down to us could our need be met. Had He not come, sinners could not have approached Him; but He came down in order to lift them up … Never lose sight of the fact that He is a living God, ready to act in mercy. Even if men could be a little better than they are it would not help matters, and if they were much worse it would not hinder. All He looks for is ‘an honest and good heart.’”

3) In what ways do you find what Watchman Nee says helpful and encouraging? How does God’s call for us merely to have ‘an honest and good heart’ towards him make our salvation much more about him than it does about us?

4) What would it mean for you to have ‘an honest and good heart’ towards God today? What would you need to confess to him? For what would you need to ask help from him?

Prayer Pathway

Prayer for today:
Lord God, I want to be fruitful. I want my life to yield the godly character that Galatians 5 describes as ‘the fruit of the Spirit’. I also want my life to yield the conversation of many of the nonbelievers around me to Christ. This parable promises me that you want to save a hundred people through me but, Lord, I’d be happy if you just started with one between now and Easter. Help me to respond to your Word so wholeheartedly that those around me are prompted to take your Word seriously too. Help me to plant the seed of your Word in other people’s hearts through my conversation with them. Please God, oh please God, save one person through me in the next few months of this year. Amen.

Pray in Luke 8:15: Spend time speaking to God with ‘an honest and good heart’. What do you need to say to God in all honesty? What are you struggling with? Where are you weak and faltering? Thank God that he doesn’t want you to pretend you’re doing better than you are. He just wants you to be honest with him! Spend some unhurried time doing so today.

Pray in Luke 8:8: Jesus speaks about a hundred nonbelievers coming to faith in him through you, but let’s start small today. Make a list of between 5 and 10 nonbelievers that God has placed into your life. Ask him to use you to show the Gospel to them by the way that you respond wholeheartedly to God’s Word. Then ask him to use you to share the Gospel with them verbally, telling them the good news about Jesus and planting the seed of God’s Word deep down into their hearts.
Comment: to friends on social media by using the hashtag #WeAreEveryday
Connect: We’d really like your feedback on how these Everyday Devotions are helping you and how we might help you even better. Talk to us by emailing: devotions@everyday.org.uk
Continue: your connection with us by attending our online service.

These Everyday Devotions have been produced and edited by Phil and Ruth Moore on behalf of the Everyday Church Elders