While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. … This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. (Luke 8:4-5 and 8:11-12)
Comedian Flip Wilson dressed up as character, Geraldine. When he explained the reason for her naughtiness, he coined the phrase, “The devil made me do it.” In the Garden of Eden, Eve said something close to that. We end up in a bad state when our hearts aren’t prepared to receive God’s love found in His word.
In this popular parable, Jesus is the farmer, the word of God is the seed, and the variable is the soil the seed lands on, a metaphor for the condition of our hearts. In Part A of this parable the seed lands on hard soil, unprepared for planting a seed. Sometimes that’s the condition of our hearts. When we fail to pray, are unrepentant, or when someone tramples on our heart, we become sad or angry and can’t feel the love in God’s word. It means nothing, so the devil comes and we let him take it away. When we don’t follow the advice of Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart,” we’ll end up saying, “The devil made me do it.”
Father God, help me guard my heart so it’s prepared to receive your love and understand your word. Keep the devil out of my life, he’s not welcome here. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.