The Testing Soil

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Original photo by Blackbird

Daily Reformation, Psalm 26:1-12

From the Reformer

The second class of hearers are those who receive the Word with joy, but they do not persevere. These are also a large multitude who understand the Word correctly and lay hold of it in its purity without any spirit of sect, division or fanaticism, they rejoice also in that they know the real truth, and are able to know how they may be saved without works through faith. They also know that they are free from the bondage of the law, of their conscience and of human teachings; but when it comes to the test that they must suffer harm, disgrace and loss of life or property, then they fall and deny it; for they have not root enough, and are not planted deep enough in the soil. Hence they are like the growth on a rock, which springs forth fresh and green, that it is a pleasure to behold it and it awakens bright hopes. But when the sun shines hot it withers, because it has no soil and moisture, and only rock is there.

—Martin Luther, Assorted Sermons, “The Parable of the Sower”

Pulling It Together

Sometimes deceit is so cleverly deployed that it almost seems sincere. “I will not speak up for the Name because it may injure that person’s chances at believing.” Such things are better left in the Spirit’s capable hands than yours. Is God not able to take your puny and frightened efforts and make them Samsonesque? Shrinking back in the heat of the moment is tantamount to unbelief no matter how it is disguised. “I will not give what I might to the kingdom on Sunday because God wants me to be responsible toward my future.” If only his stewards were so careful when it came to their spending habits Monday through Saturday! These opportunities are tests God allows so that you may find the depths with him. The actions and inactions of believers show what kind of soil the gospel seed is planted in and how much deeper they should go with Christ.

The sun is shining on your life; will you allow the thorns all the light while you you shrivel in the heat? Or will you go deeper with Jesus and be nourished despite the test.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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