When I first began reading, I went right to Mark 4 and the parable of the sower. I love the gospels, parables, and really anything that Jesus said. We can learn so much not only from the words he says, but the way in which he says them (context, audience, language)
Questions from the parable-
Where would I put myself in this parable? Am I the shallow rocky soil? Am I being choked out by the thorns?
How is my growth? Am I springing up quickly with no roots?
When Jesus talks about the seed, it has already begun to grow. The things he says can be relevant to those who are not Christians. Who do they surround themselves with and how is it affecting their hearts? However, his disciples are present and when he is alone with them he clarifies that he was also speaking to them.
How am I spending my time? Am I working 40 hours a week, and spending all my free time on selfish endeavors yet wondering why I am distant from my family, and my growth in Christ is stifled?
The Christian life is a simple one. We can analyze and over-analyze each scripture, we can venture into the Greek roots of words and argue Wesleyan vs. free grace theologies. These things can all be very helpful and I enjoy venturing deep into the meanings of scripture and discussing the harder/more confusing areas of the Bible. But if I have no roots (Mark 4:6) then when the sun comes out I will be scorched.
Who do I spend time with? Am I living a solid, balanced Christian life as defined by Jesus?
Lord give me a discerning heart. What I allow into my heart is what inevitably will come out of me. Help me to be a friend, a son, and a companion who is caring and promoting growth in Christ. I know the happiness you can bring so help me to be an example of all that you’ve done in my life. I am so thankful. As you said ‘iron sharpens iron’ let it be so in my life as I relate to the people around me. In your holy name, amen.