“The seeds that fell on rocky ground (stony heart soil) stand for those who receive the message gladly as soon as they hear it. But it does not sink deep into them, and they don’t last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once” (Matthew 13:20-21).
The condition of our heart determines how the Word can take root, how far the Word can grow, and how much the Word can bear fruit. That’s why it’s important for us to know the actual condition of our hearts.
In Matthew 13, Jesus told us about four heart conditions that will appear when they hear the Word of the Kingdom is delivered. In my previous article about the parable of the sower, we have learned about the wayside heart soil, and now let us learn about the condition of stony heart soil.
Stony heart soil condition describes people who actually want to live in the truth but always hindered by the old thought concepts that are already built and have become a believe system in them. Paul called it by the term: self-righteousness.
“My brothers, how I wish with all my heart that my own people might be saved! How I pray to God for them! I can assure you that they are deeply devoted to God; but their devotion is not based on true knowledge. They have not known the way in which God puts people right with himself, and instead, they have tried to set up their own way; and so they did not submit themselves to God’s way of putting people right” (Romans 10:1-3).
It is those stones (self-righteousness) that inhibit the Word to grow and bear fruit in their lives. They are zealous for God, but never produce fruits. Self-righteousness itself is built from a collection of information, experiences, and teachings that they have ever received in the past that they already have believed as a truth.
The characteristics of the stony heart condition:
1. Very receptive to the Word but also easy to let go.
When they hear the Word of the Kingdom for the first time, they immediately receive it with joy, but a few days later, it would appear a contradiction in their minds, and when they have to face opposition because of the Word, they choose to let go and forget about it.
2. Unable to implement the Word fully.
When they heard the word of the kingdom for the first time, they accepted it with joy, but when they have to implement the Word, they collide with their own righteousness, so they ‘discount’ the implementation of the Word.
King Saul is an example of a person who has stony heart soil. When Samuel gave directions:
“You will go ahead of me to Gilgal, where I will meet you and offer burnt sacrifices and fellowship sacrifices. Wait there seven days until I come and tell you what to do” (I Sam. 10:8).
Saul actually wanted to do as directed, but when the situation was not conducive, he started wearing his own righteousness, and when Samuel asked, here’s his answer:
“The people were deserting me, and you had not come when you said you would; besides that, the Philistines are gathering at Michmash. So I thought, ‘The Philistines are going to attack me here in Gilgal, and I have not tried to win the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt I had to offer a sacrifice” (I Sam. 13:11-12).
When Samuel gave directions:
Now listen to what the LORD Almighty says. He is going to punish the people of Amalek because their ancestors opposed the Israelites when they were coming from Egypt. Go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Don’t leave a thing; kill all the men, women, children, and babies; the cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys” (I Sam. 15:2-3).
Saul discounted the direction again. All that was not valuable he killed indeed, but he separated all that were valuable. When Samuel asked, he reasoned:
“My men took them from the Amalekites. They kept the best sheep and cattle to offer as a sacrifice to the LORD your God, and the rest we have destroyed completely” (I Sam. 15:15).
Stony heart condition will always find a reason to ‘discount’ and lower the standard of the Word, because they have their “own truths” that cause them to be difficult to implement the Word fully.
3. They seem growing/bearing fruit but they actually don’t.
Usually these people have a lot of spiritual activities but also experience a lot of personal struggles. They are truly zealous for God, but without understanding. They think spiritual activities are the same as the divine fruits. Trees that have a lot of twigs and leaves don’t necessarily have much fruit.
How do you know that you’ve grown? Not from many activities, but from the responses that appear when facing obstacles. If you still continue to face the same problem and continue to give the same response, it means you haven’t grown. If you face the same problem but the response is different, it means you’ve started to grow.
When you were a baby, if you were hungry, you would cry. After growing up, if you are hungry, you don’t cry but you look for food. If you still cry when hungry, that indicates that you are still a baby and haven’t grown. Changes in response indicate the occurrence of growth.
How do I change the stony heart soil into a good heart soil?
1. Connect with a sower.
When a sower is sowing the seeds of the Kingdom, the stones that have been hidden will begin to appear. Earlier you never know that the reason you are not experiencing growth because it is hampered by the stones. A sower will be able to identify the self-righteousness stones that are still there within you, which all this time is pressing the Word so that it cannot grow in you.
2. Getting rid of the existing stones.
Once you are enlightened, then the stones must be removed, disposed away from your life. Ask for assistance from the sower to get rid of the stones by cutting them out of your life.
3. Plant new stones.
After the old stones are removed, you have to plant new stones. Word of the Kingdom’s seed provided by the sower will be the new stones that must be planted in you so that your life is built on the rock of God’s truth, not self-righteousness.
“So then, anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, and the wind blew hard against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock” (Matt. 7:24-25).
Read also: The Way Side Heart Soil.