|CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE
What a wonderful thing it is to serve Jesus! Just think about it, if you have received Jesus as your personal Savior, you
not only have the assurance of eternal life, but you have the promise from God of an abundant life here on earth! See what
Jesus says to you in this beautiful verse of John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, I
have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
One very important aspect of this abundant life that you are promised by Jesus is the privilege of Him living within you.
That’s right! The Spirit of Jesus – the Holy Spirit – came to live in you the instant you received Jesus as Lord. In that
instant you became something very important to God; you became His son – just like Jesus.
See what God’s will for you really is in Romans 8:29 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the
image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn of many brethren.”
His will for you is to become conformed to the image of Jesus. In other words, you are to look like Him, speak like Him,
think like Him, and act like Him. You might say, “Wow! I could never be like Jesus!” You may not feel like you can, but that
is exactly what your heavenly Father desires of you and that is what is developing you into as you feed on His Word and
worship Him and serve Him.
Even though what we have just discussed is true, what I observe within the Church of Jesus Christ is Christians not living
the abundant life despite the promises of God. What a tragedy! It is not God’s will for us to live beneath His promised
blessings; therefore, let us press on to solve this issue within ourselves. We may not be able to do much about what
others do, but we can make whatever changes are necessary inside us to conform to the perfect will of God, and I am
confident that is what you desire to do.
Take a few moments and read our text passage found in Matthew 13:1-23. This is probably a familiar passage to you but let’
s allow our Teacher (the Holy Spirit) to lead us into deeper levels of truth from it, shall we? In verses 3-9 we see Jesus tell
a simple story to the crowd, a story about farming. These folks were farmers so they could identify with the parable. But it
is interesting to note that Jesus did not explain the spiritual aspects of His parable to the crowd, but He did explain the
story to His disciples. Why did Jesus do this? He explains why in verses 10-17.
Jesus explains a very important truth, and that is that the different soil types made the difference in what the seeds could
or could not do. Even though the same seeds were used in each situation, the yield was quite different with each. Let us
study each soil type and from this study come to understand the necessity for you and me to prepare our hearts so that we
might receive the Word of God (which is the seed) and that we might be productive in the Kingdom of God.
#1 Soil type (verse 19) is actually the bar ditch alongside the road. The ditch is not intended to be a crop-producing area,
so every seed that lands in the ditch becomes food for the birds. Spiritually speaking, this is like it is when someone who
has no interest at all for the things of God hears the truth of God’s Word. The devils quickly consume it and it does
absolutely nothing for the man. How sad is this man’s lot.
#2 Soil type (verse 20) is stony ground. In fact, it might look a lot like the surface of the road itself. It is like rock! Notice
that this man received the Word with joy. He sat there in that worship service and feasted on the good things the man of
God had to teach him. However, once he leaves the confines of the church, Satan and his evil cohorts begin to arouse
persecution against him because of the truth he heard. The Bible says he stumbles because of the persecution. In other
words, he backslides and perhaps goes back to his old ways proclaiming, “Oh well, I guess I just can’t live that Christian
life!” His heart had not been properly prepared, that is why the Word did no good for him.
#3 Soil type (verse 22) contains thorns and stickers. This soil definitely has problems as it relates to growing a crop, doesn’
t it? This man too has heard the Word and received it. But his problem is one of priorities. The cares of life that challenge
him and the pursuit of riches stand between him and being fruitful. He does not stumble, as did the second man, he simply
fails to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. He is not the light in the darkness. Others do not see the fruit of the Spirit in his
life. He leads no one to Jesus. His acts of kindness are few and far between. Why? Because he has failed to be fervent in
the Word and he has failed to really make Jesus the Lord of His life, giving Him priority over everything else.
#4 Soil type (verse 23) is what you want to be. This man was ready when the Word was planted in his heart. He came to
church expecting to receive from God and was not disappointed. He then went away carefully doing what he had been
taught. He is the man who seeks the Lord daily in prayer and Bible study. He is a true worshipper of God. He is about the
business of the Kingdom 24/7 because of the love in his heart for Jesus. His life is fruitful. This man has become
conformed to the image of Jesus! Go now and be like the fourth man.