Have you ever had a close friend who has heard the gospel, many times over, and yet they still haven’t allowed it to soften their hearts and change their lives? Or what about you? Have you heard the Good News of Jesus but the Word of God feels like it’s falling on deaf ears (our ears)?


The Scripture passage we’re reading today addresses just that (if you haven’t read the passage yet, take a moment to do so and then jump back in—we’ll be here!).


Today, we read about how the Good News of Jesus can elicit a variety of responses, but a true believing response will look like a seed that has been planted in good soil. It’ll grow and produce good fruit. An unbelieving heart hears this Good News and for various reasons, rejects it. 


I love this passage. You see, I’ve always been drawn to the way Jesus taught using parables and stories. And the imagery of good soil versus bad soil is one that often hits a little too close to home and always causes me to reflect on the soil in my own heart. 


Jesus explained that there are three ways that one can “hear” the Word and it does not take root. We can have defenseless hearing (v. 12), shallow hearing (v.13), or distracted hearing (v.14).


When thinking about it in that light, I think we can all agree that there are times when we all fall into those categories. Different seasons have caused my hearing to falter, but there’s good news! A remedy can be found in verse 18


“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.”


Do you want to have “ears to hear,” as our passage describes? This passage tells us that the key to our understanding isn’t forcing our ears to be different. It’s not in taking theological courses or becoming experts. It’s spending time in God’s Word, listening to His voice. It’s choosing to listen to the commandments and teaching of Jesus and allowing His Word to soften the soil of your heart. 


You see, sometimes I teach women’s Bible studies and inevitably there is a woman who will come up to me afterwards and say something like, “I’m a Christian, but I just don’t understand God’s Word when I’m reading it at home alone.” My favorite thing is watching their eyes light up when I say, “Me, too.” 


You see, having ears that hear isn’t about being the smartest theologian in the room; it’s about having a soft heart that is like the fertile soil in this passage. It’s about spending time alone and with others in our faith communities studying and listening to God’s Word. It’s about paying attention to our hearts, and when we notice a defenseless, shallow, or distracted hearing starting to take root—we make the changes necessary to have soft hearts and open ears, ready to hear. 


So today I leave you with this reflection question: Do you have ears that hear? What type of soil is reflected in your heart? And, if after honest reflection, you find yourself in a season where your heart isn’t reflecting the good soil mentioned in this passage, what steps do you need to take to make time to listen more to God’s Word? 


This week, may God bless you and keep you, and may He give you ears to hear. 



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Brittany Salmon

Brittany Salmon

Brittany Salmon is a freelance writer, an adjunct professor of Global Studies, and an equipping minister for her local church. She is also an orphan care and prevention advocate, and a doctoral student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She spends her free time eating Chick-fil-A and exploring her new home state of Texas with her husband, four kids, and their dog, Mr. Tom Hanks. You can see what she’s up to on Twitter or Instagram.

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