I found this post very difficult to write and so I almost didn’t. However, an insistent voice within kept on prompting me and so here is it. Bear with me and please be gentle!
I love the parable of the farmer sowing seeds. You know the one – it’s about how, when we sow out the Gospel, sometimes the message lands on fertile soil and grows but other times it can land in hard, stony places where it doesn’t. I’ve paraphrased hugely of course, but it’s to be found in Matthew 13:1-9 if you want to look it up.
Before taking communion last Sunday, I was praying and generally asking God to forgive me of the numerous ways that I sin against him. They are many and frustratingly, most of them are things I fall into again and again, despite some serious effort not to. As I prayed, the thought came to me very strongly that I should try not to provide such fertile soil in which the seeds of sin can be planted.
I was a bit puzzled by the phrase and so I asked a friend to pray about it further with me. While he was praying, I had the same picture in my mind as I do when reading the parable of the farmer planting seeds. I saw clearly, the field where good crops grow and also the hard stony path next to it where they struggle to get a foothold. However, in the context of sinful behaviours, I believe that the message in this case is that the flip-side of the parable applies. In other words, where sin is concerned we need to become more like this hard-baked path, impervious to its seeds. As we prayed together, I asked God to show me how to make my own path more sin-resistant.
Well, the path in this example is hard because it has been baked by sunlight. I felt that the answer for us is to spend as much time as we can in the sunshine, which in our Christian context is the light of Jesus Christ. However, a lot of our spare time is spent obsessed with things which do little to help us resist sin and often much to till our soil for it to take root more easily. Think how much time you spend unproductively on social media versus the amount of time praying or reading God ‘s word. For myself, the ratio is shamefully out of proportion! More time with God equals more time in his sunlight which equals harder baked soil more resistant to sin.
To follow the metaphor a little further, when weeds have taken root in soil, pulling them up and leaving them in the sunlight kills their roots. Again, we need to spend time weeding out the sin in our lives, exposing it to the “sunlight” of Jesus so that it can be killed and not grow bigger.
So now that the realisation has dawned, or at least been dragged up and better illuminated, I need to get on with putting it into practice. More time with God, more time in prayer and less time wasted.
Typing it makes it sound so easy, but I guess we’ll see…