As Jesus went about preaching the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, He did not always find a receptive audience. The problem He faced was that many people were “hard of hearing” (Matt. 13:14-15). To illustrate this problem, Jesus told “The Parable of the Four Soils.” In it, we can see ourselves as we really are concerning how we receive the Word of God in our lives. Therefore, let’s consider the second one, the stony soil (Matt. 13:5-6).
According to Jesus, this is the one who “hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Matt. 13:20- 21). This is the emotional, superficial, impulsive hearer. Before obeying the gospel, this person does not count the cost of discipleship (Luke 14:25-34) and does not fully understand that there is a daily cross to bear (Luke 9:23). Therefore, we learn that an emotional reception without a strong foundation based upon the Word will not enable one to stand against the temptations and persecutions of this life.
What is the reason for this shallow heart? The seed (Word) has no depth of root. If not sufficiently rooted, a plant cannot survive. Likewise, if not sufficiently rooted, a Christian cannot endure. Ultimately, if we are seeking to be rooted, we must understand that it is a commitment to God and His word, and when things get tough, we have to choose to stick it out knowing the teaching of Scripture. Just as James wrote, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (Jas. 1:2-4).
Friends, when in persecution or hardships, those who are shallow-rooted people cannot confidently count it as joy, but those who are deeply rooted can because they know it will make them stronger. Yet today, there are way too many Christians being destroyed because they have not root in them. Are you like the stony place? If you obeyed the gospel at one time, but are not grounded in the faith, you will likely fall away when persecution or temptation comes your way.