Over the last several months we have been studying The Parable of the Sower and the secrets we can glean when discipling our kids. We have looked at three crop failures: seeds eaten by birds, plants scorched by the sun, and crops choked by thorns.
Now we will look at the seed in good soil that grew into a fantastic crop bearing fruit up to 100 times what was sown.
“Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” Luke 8:8 (NIV)
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Luke 8:15 (NIV)
We have already looked at how to give our kids good soil, help them hear and understand God’s Word, and persevere under trials, but we have not yet looked at teaching our kids to have a noble and good heart.
For our children to receive God’s Word (the seed) and produce a crop, they need a noble and good heart. It makes sense doesn’t it? If they are filled with pride, fear, idolatry, or worry, they will not experience the fruit God desires to produce through them. But if their hearts are full of humility, God’s love, faithfulness, and trust, they will indeed have the God-given capacity to produce a great crop for the harvest!
So how do we encourage our children’s hearts to be noble and good so they can produce a harvest for the Lord?
First of all, I believe that if we are equipping our kids for the situations Jesus has warned us about earlier with the birds, scorching sun, and thorns, we will, in fact, be training their hearts to be noble and good as well.
Let’s look at what we have talked about thus far and how it will cultivate good, noble hearts.
Birds: Those Trampling God’s Word
- We need to protect and equip our kids from the lies of the enemy that come in the form of media, peers, and educators with unbiblical agendas. We can do this by helping them understand God’s Word, so they will have hearts of faith to grow and produce fruit.
- We can also teach them to have discerning hearts, to tell right from wrong, and by doing so, to follow God’s truth and have integrity.
Scorching Sun: Trials of Life
- We need to help our kids walk through trials by being prepared and equipped to face them (persevering hearts).
- We can teach them to ask Jesus for His peace, so they can learn to have peaceful hearts in the midst of trials.
- We can ask them questions like “What do you think God wants to teach you through this?” to help them learn and grow from their trials, which will cultivate humble, teachable hearts.
Thorns: Worries and the Love of Money
- Because what we tend to worry about can become an idol, we need to keep our children away from the thorns of worry by showing them how to put God first and having faithful hearts.
- We can model a heart that trusts and surrenders to God’s ways, knowing His plans are always best.
- We must teach them to stay away from the love of money by having content hearts by being thankful for what they have.
- We can remind them that all we have comes from God, and it is our privilege to give it back to Him by helping others with generous hearts.
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39 (ESV)
Next, to foster noble and good hearts in our children, we can cultivate a love for God and others.
This is the first and greatest commandment. Without love, all our fruit is worthless, so we must ask the Holy Spirit to give us His great love for other people. How do we do this?
- Teach your kids to spend time with God, to hear from Him through His Word and the Holy Spirit, receiving His perfect love.
- Encourage your kids to ask God to give them His love for others and to see people the way He sees them, especially the lost and the hurting who are in need of a Savior.
- Brainstorm ways to help your kids show love to those around them, whether that’s helping a friend at school with homework, inviting a friend to church, or sharing food and the gospel with a homeless person on the street.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NLT)
Last we can teach our kids to cultivate a dependence on God to produce a harvest.
It is easy to start thinking that we can do things by our own strength, and our children will struggle with this too. But God is clear in His Word that we need to do everything through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. Here are some practical ways to encourage this.
- Teach your kids to pray about everything and ask for God’s help in everything they do.
- Teach your kids to be expectant for God to guide and direct them through His Word, circumstances, other believers, and through prayer.
- Try to step back more and more as your kids grow older and teach them to rely more on God than on you. The goal isn’t to raise independent kids but to raise kids completely dependent on God.
When our children’s hearts are surrounded by good soil, when they are full of God’s love for themselves and for others, and when they are becoming dependent on the Lord to guide and lead them, that is when they will produce a crop yielding up to 100 times what was sown. Oh, Lord, let it be, let it be!