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Are You Growing--Luke 8:15
Jack Klumpenhower

Jesus often spoke about the heart. So his followers have long recognized that true growth is not about church size or Bible knowledge. It’s about heart-level change. To grow in Christ is to become ever more passionate about him.

One of Jesus’ teachings about growth is his parable of the farmer scattering seed. Luke explains, “One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him” (Luke 8:4). The story went like this: A farmer scattered seed and much of it fell where no sustainable growth could occur—on paths or rocks or in thorns. But some fell in fertile soil and produced a large crop. Jesus closed by calling out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand” (Luke 8:8).

Well, most in the crowd didn’t understand. Even the disciples had to ask what the story meant.

The Heart of the Crowd

As it turns out, the parable itself is about how not everyone in the “Jesus crowd” really gets Jesus. It depends on the heart. Many hear Jesus. A good number even like what they hear. But their hearts are hard like the path or shallow like rocky ground or preoccupied with the thorny issues of this life. Only a few take Jesus in completely:

The seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.” (Luke 8:15)

A good heart. That’s what it takes to break free of the crowd and become a believer who’s truly growing. Okay, where do I get one of those?

The Heart of the Believer

We could talk about the mysteries of the heart-changing miracle worked by God’s Spirit, but Jesus makes it simple for his listeners. He speaks here of patiently clinging to God’s Word. A few verses later he adds, “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given” (Luke 8:18). If we truly and trustingly open ourselves to Jesus—to all he says and all he’s done for us—a fertile heart is part of the deal.

By the time Jesus died, the crowds had dwindled to just a few followers. But those few had clung to his words. They took in his teaching. They wondered at his compassion. They wept beneath his cross. It gave them true hearts for him, and God used them to spread his Kingdom throughout the world.

God’s Word grows like a seed in those whose hearts love Jesus. It becomes a living part of them, getting bigger and bigger until it bursts into blossom with a fragrance noticeable to everyone around. My prayer today is that God’s Spirit would give us such hearts; that you and I would grow in our love for Jesus.

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