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And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.

Mark 4:4

There is no question made by Jesus on the quality of the seed in this parable, but rather His emphasis is on the soil. The soil represents our heart to receive the seed—His Kingdom.

This first type of heart is interesting because it is described as a path. The heart is so hard it has retained no resemblance of soil. There is no receptiveness to this kind of heart. Pride has hardened this heart so much that the seeds of God’s love just bounce on the path.

This kind of heart is extremely dangerous for the goodness of God will never be seen. If we are to be humans fully alive, pride must die and hardness of heart must cease, for the seed of goodness to have a chance.

The birds of the air represent the evil one or the devil. He doesn’t really get featured in any of the other types of soil. The devil has a feeding frenzy when our hearts are not willing to receive. The seed always remains on the surface of our lives when the attitude of our heart is hard towards God.

One seed from Jesus has the potential to bring a harvest of joy for so many through our lives. We make it so easy for the devil to be effective in stealing our potential in Christ when the condition of our hearts resembles a hard path. Our hearts may be path-like because we have been worn out by life. What once was soft soil has now been beaten down into a hardened path, as the effect of the others’ feet.

The list of reasons for hardness of heart can be very long—our own sin and the sin of others has a way of beating a firm path in our lives that leads to wrong living and wrong thinking. We may need to look at the influences in our lives, because we need people in our lives who rain love and grace by His Holy Spirit upon our hard hearts. We need humans to bring plows of humility after the rain to break the path apart.

May we be that kind of church community who rains grace upon each other, never allowing pride to harden our hearts. May we be a family who plow examples of humility and teachability, in each other's lives. May we be a field of hearts together, where the seed of His gospel may take root, giving the devil no chance to steal the potential of the Kingdom in our lives.

Today let’s grab ahold of God’s word, letting it go deeper than the surface, so when the birds of the air do fly above our heart, they find no way to get the seed—for the seed will be so well received that it’s too deep for their beaks of deception to find. The gospel, His Kingdom works from the inside out. It’s time to let it inside.

// Pastor Josh Kelsey