It is just as odd for someone to say they are a follower of Jesus and to be stunted in their spiritual growth. Like seed that has the potential for great growth, so God’s word has the potential to transform our lives. So why do we have pygmy corn and Christians?
In the parable of soils Jesus identifies four types of soil (Luke 13:3-9). The first is the hard soil beaten down by foot traffic. Though the seed is powerful it can’t produce growth in hard soil. It can’t sink it roots into the soil. When I think of the hard soil I remember Jesus critiquing a group of religious folk, called Pharisees. They refused to receive the words of Jesus (seed in the parable). They plotted to trap him with their questions. They eventually succeeded in killing Jesus. Why were they so hard? I believe their basic problem was their self-sufficiency. They thought they already had what they needed. They were really good at following their own religious rules. They applauded each other for their superior righteousness and understanding. But they were really hard soil. Seed could not penetrate and transform them.
This can easily happen to us. I have read that if a new person in a church is not thoroughly converted into a committed Jesus-follower in a short period of time, they become resistant to God. They become proficient at appearing religious. They learn how to act and talk religious. They think they have it and do not need the powerful seed to change them. All of us can become hard because we do not see our need for the seed. We are self-sufficient.
Contrast that for a moment to the very first words in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus came preaching the kingdom message. He set the foundation with the beatitudes. To enter his kingdom we need to have this heart or soil. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).” This is the difference between the hard soil of the Pharisees and soil that allows the seed to grow. Instead of self-sufficiency, there is the humility of knowing we are needy people. I encourage you to become that soil and let the seed powerfully transform your life.