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Christian Life

The Soil of Your Heart: Which One of These 4 Types Do You Have?

Have you heard the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13)? In it, Jesus discusses a man who sowed seed and the various types of soil the seed landed on. He identifies four types of soil–soil beside the road, rocky soil, thorny soil, and good soil. Later, Jesus explains the parable to His disciples. The seed is the word of the kingdom or the message of salvation. The four types of soil indicate four conditions of the human heart.

  • The soil beside the road is the someone who hears the Word, but doesn’t understand it. This isn’t just intellectual understanding. Jesus means understanding the concepts and putting them into practice. If a person hears the Word but doesn’t put it into practice, then it never finds its way into his or her heart and the devil snatches away the true meaning of what was heard.
  • The rocky soil is a heart that hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy; that is, he or she recognizes it as good news but doesn’t have understanding of or commitment to it. When trials and hardships come because of the Word, these people fall away–their faith withers because it never has deepened.
  • Thorny soil is a heart that hears the Word but becomes distracted by the cares and delights of the world. This heart can be overcome by anxiety, stress, worry, leisure and even procrastination. I think this is probably the most common type of heart. Things like school, work, extracurricular activities and family stress can distract us from the reality of peaceful rest in God.
  • At last, we come to the good soil. The good soil is a heart that hears the Word, understands it, and puts it into action. This is the heart that we all desire to have: a heart that understands the Word and puts it into practice every day. This heart still experiences trials but does not fall away; it still experiences anxiety and stress but is not distracted by them.

My belief is that each of us experiences each of these heart conditions. When we become very busy, our hearts may become thorny soil for a time as we work through stress or anxiety. When we’re persecuted for our faith, our hearts may become like rocky soil for a time due to peer pressure. Sometimes we may even hear a Bible teaching but for a variety of reasons, we don’t put what we’ve learned into practice.

What’s important is that we monitor the condition of our hearts regularly. When it seems like we are drifting from God, we need to ask Him and ourselves what condition our hearts are in and make sure it remains good for the seeds God has planted there.

What kind of soil are you?

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way (Psalm 139:23-24).

Image: iStockphoto | Thinkstock


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  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by Cici on July 30, 2012 at 21:11

    thorny soil 🙁

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by emilybrub74 on January 28, 2012 at 13:02

    I am all but the good soil usually. I think I am currently thorny soil. Just over the past few days, I have found myself fibbing or white-lying more about stuff. I wrote down all the stand-out fibs I had made in the past few days and put my heart into God’s light so He could tell me through my conscience if the white lies were wrong/the affects on my heart of white-lying even if there is no worldly effects. I found that after I white-lied, even if they really did seem harmless, I felt ashamed and afraid to come into God’s presence. I didn’t like that- I never want to not be in His Presence. So I sat and contemplated and I realize that white lies are not always harmful in worldly consequences but are harmful to the heart because we weren’t created to lie. I don’t know if this is 100% correct but this is what I came up with. I would just advise that when you white lie you 1)Document It (write it down), and try to 2)Limit or Avoid It. I found out that the more I white-lie, and when it starts to get out of control, it becomes easier to FOR_REAL lie and eitehr not feel guilty about it or not even realize you did it. And it separates you heart from God’s presence and then you just don’t feel good. :/

  3. bballgirl321

    Posted by bballgirl321 on January 28, 2012 at 11:20

    The thorny soil…. but i wish it was the good soil… 🙁

  4. Project Inspired

    Posted by dana13se on January 25, 2012 at 17:04

    Thorny, so much so that I always feel like like a hypocrite. I HATE feeling this way. Please pray for me. I’ll pray for you girls as well.

  5. Blacky99

    Posted by Blacky99 on January 24, 2012 at 18:23

    I’m definitely the thorny soil. I’m in a math class two years ahead of everyone else in my grade, which means I have a lot more homework. I also have to do a lot of chores at home, which takes away from my prayer time. I keep on trying to read my bible or pray, but my mom always calls me to do something. I think I’m now going to pray to God about getting more spiritual time.

  6. Paris

    Posted by Paris on January 24, 2012 at 16:37

    I am the good soil. Sometimes I drift to the others soils,I’ll admit. Staying in prayer helps my soil stay moist,lol.

  7. Project Inspired

    Posted by Kida on January 24, 2012 at 05:29

    Love this article! Much better than the psycho-analysis I heard growing up!!!

  8. Posted by JennArman on January 23, 2012 at 23:41

    Girls I understand. I too am the thorny soil right now. Something that helps me when I feel like this is to look up all the verses that I can find about peace. Then I read and pray them over and over until I am thinking more about Scripture than I do about the things that are stressing me out.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by alli on March 28, 2012 at 06:44

      This is what I do too! I also listen to Christian music. The feeling I get after spending time with God (especially reading the Bible) is awesome!

  9. Project Inspired

    Posted by Ginger_who_loves_Jesus on January 22, 2012 at 18:54

    I’m the thorny soil…
    It’s hard to admit it. But I have a LOT of problems with anxiety and stress and worry. But worrying means that you ultimately dont trust God enough! And I’m working on that. It’s really hard with finals coming up, though.

  10. Project Inspired

    Posted by shortycake1213 on January 22, 2012 at 16:45

    Right now I’m experiencing a thorny heart. School and other various things always get me stressed out and/or worried. Sometimes, I think I get caught up in all of the “worldly stuff” too often that I lose sight of everything that God has in store for me. However, I know that He will be faithful to me…always!

  11. Project Inspired

    Posted by xALIYAH on January 22, 2012 at 15:43


  12. kala12395

    Posted by kala12395 on January 22, 2012 at 12:08

    I’m the soil beside the road/ the thorny soil…