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, though they had ears to hear, their ears had become “hard of hearing” (Matthew 13:14-15). To illustrate this problem, Jesus told a parable that is known as “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 first one, the wayside soil (Matthew 13:3-4).
According to Jesus, this soil represents the person who “hears…and does not understand” (Matthew 13:19). This is the person that simply is not interested in the Word of God, and as a result, the heart is hardened to the truth, so “the devil comes and takes away the word out of [the heart], lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). Yet, it is important to understand that the devil only takes the Word of God from a person’s heart after the person has rejected the truth. Therefore, the condition of the heart is one that is “blinded” by Satan to the truth of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). So, what are the reasons for this hardness of heart?
Pride will cause some people to reject the truth. The Jews are a perfect biblical example of this (Rom. 2:17, 24). Second, belief without evidence (biases; preconceived ideas) will cause some people to reject the truth, because they come to God with false teaching in their heart (1 John 4:1; Matt. 17:15-20). Third, fear of sacrifice will cause some people to reject the truth, specifically the sacrifice of self and worldly possessions (Luke 9:23-24; Luke 18:18-23). Finally, worldliness will cause some to reject the truth. As one writer put it, “A person may expose his heart, as a common road, to every evil influence of this world, till it has become hard as pavement.” This is exactly what the Scriptures teach (Eph. 4:17-18; 1 Tim. 4:2; Gal. 5:19-21).
Are you like the wayside soil? If you have heard the Word God, but you are not yet a Christian, you may be in the process of hardening your heart the longer you wait! Likewise, even if you are a Christian, Satan’s goal is blind you and not allow the Word of God to have its intended effect on your heart! Therefore, every time we come in contact with the Word, we have a choice to make, a hard heart or soft heart.