The principle of a soft heart
In Matt.13 we read the parable of the seed falling into stony ground, or good ground.
I really appreciated these explanations from the Lord as to why He speaks in parables.
It is very merciful as the Lord teaches in such a way that - only those who are spiritually desiring and ready to follow Him will understand His words. This serves as a protection for those whom have hard hearts because they may understand - yet - not desire - to follow His instructions- therefore, they would have blessings " taken from him " ( Matt. 13:12 ) being condemned.
The Lord explains that there will be those who " hath not " and those who "hath " ( vs.12 ).
Jesus goes onto explain what this " hath not " represents as he states in verse 15:
vs.15 : " For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their heart and should be converted and I should heal them."
I appreciate the explanation that the Savior also gives about what indicates that these word of God have fallen into a soft heart, or he that " hath " as Jesus states in vs. 23:
" But he that received seed into the ground is he that heareth the word and understandeth it, which also beareth fruit and bringeth from some hundred fold , some sixty and some thirty.
Because of previous teachings of Christ in Matt. 7:20, and various other references - we can understand that the "fruit" is righteous works or actions.
This also teaches again - one of my most favorite principles " By their fruits ye shall know them." ( Matt.7:20 ) Or by the fruits a person produces - we can know if they have the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5: 22 : But the fruit of the Spirit is love , joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.
I enjoyed finding additional instructions in a talk given by Marvin J. Ashton in 1988, titled " The Measure of our Hearts ". In this talk Ashton gives four questions that we can answer in order to know the condition of our hearts. In other words, what kind of soil that the seeds of truth are being planted in, or whether or not the truth will take root for us?
Ashton states four questions:
First Question: How honest in heart am I?
Honest-hearted persons are individuals without pretense, without hypocrisy. They are reliable in word and action. They have no “hidden agendas” to deceive others or to misrepresent facts. In contrast, those with conniving hearts will deceive and misrepresent.
Second Question: Do I have a willing heart?
A willing heart describes one who desires to please the Lord and to serve His cause first. He serves the Lord on the Lord’s terms, not his own. There are no restrictions to where or how he will serve.