Open your Bible and read Luke 8.
The house we live in was once owned by an elderly woman with the greenest of thumbs. It seemed she could grow something beautiful in every inch of the property. Long before we moved here, the property was covered in flowers, plants, and fruits – a lush garden enjoyed by all the neighbors.
Sadly, I do not possess even a fraction of her gardening skill. To describe the current state of our yard would be shameful.
But the raspberries. Oh, how I love their juicy red fruit! Those blessed plants thrive no matter what. They grow so persistently that I’ve actually attempted to hinder their growth because they threaten to take over the rest of the garden. My methods have all failed. The berries grow and multiply and bear abundant fruit regardless of what I do to them.
Imagine the impact on our communities if all Christians were as persistently fruitful as my raspberry bushes, overflowing with sweet nourishing goodness!
In today’s reading, Jesus tells the familiar parable of the sower and the seeds (v. 4-15). The application is obvious: Which seeds are you?
By God’s grace, may we be the seeds that fall on good soil, who hear God’s Word, cling to it, and bear fruit with perseverance. Like my raspberries, these are the Christians who grow despite temptation and trials and tribulation. Nothing can prevent their faithful fruitfulness.
How Are You Hearing?
After Jesus tells this parable, in verse 18, He says, “So take care how you listen (NASB, emphasis mine)…”
The New Living Translation reads,
“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.”
We are accountable for how we hear God’s Word.
It’s easy to check off the “God’s Word” box on our to-do lists and feel like we’ve done our duty. “As long as I regularly consume God’s Word, I’m good.”
Any time spent in God’s Word is time well spent, but we must be careful that we’re not consuming God’s Word passively. We must become doers of the Word, not hearers only (James 1:22).
We must become fruit-bearing hearers.
When we actively (not passively) hear God’s Word with a heart to receive (a heart of repentance), we will bear fruit. God’s Word changes us from the inside out.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires (Hebrews 4:12, NLT).”
“…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think (Romans 12:2, NLT)…”
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)…”
In verse 16 of today’s chapter in Luke, Jesus talks about light. We don’t turn on a light only to cover it up. The light is to eliminate the darkness. It exposes what’s hidden. We want everyone in the room to benefit from the light.
When we’re filled with the Light of God’s Word, others should benefit from it.
I’m encouraged by verse 39. The people simply shared their own testimony of what God had done for them personally, and it led many others to follow Jesus.
Let’s be careful about how we’re hearing God’s Word this Christmas season. Guard your heart against passive listening, and seek to shine the light of God’s Word for those around you. Bear fruit and pray for opportunities to share your testimony.