Do you want God's best for your life? I don't believe any of us would ever say no to that question. Yet I do believe the answer calls for a decision—a decision of the heart.
Consider the parable of the sower in the Mark 4. It's always amazing to me about the 30, 60 and 100 fold returns. Who would want just 30 when they could have 60, and who would want 60 if they could have 100, right?
What is really interesting to me is that as the sower went along, the Bible says he continued to spread seed "of the same kind." That means it's not the seed, but the ground, or the soil, that determines the harvest. The seed is always the same.
In other words, God is always the same. He always offers us His best. As the sower, He "spreads" His love freely to us. He is generous with His grace and mercy, and John 3:16 tells us that "whoever believes in Him" can receive the life God has for them.
So if that's the case, what do you want out of life ... out of your relationship with God? Do you want a 30-, 60- or 100 fold return?
And here's the big question: Are you willing to do what God asks of you in order to have His best for you?
It all comes down to the condition of your "soil," or heart. The ground in the story represents different conditions of our lives. These heart conditions determine how much of a harvest—how much of God's blessings—we can receive.
There will never be a question as to whether or not God loves us. He loves each of us constantly, perfectly and unconditionally. That will never change. We each need to be rooted and grounded in this truth because it is the foundation for the condition of our heart. The more rooted we are in the love of God, the less likely we are to be shaken by the trials of life or to question our faith when troubles arise.
We will all go through trials or challenges in life. And it's not the suffering that glorifies God; it's our attitude in the midst of suffering that glorifies Him. Much of our suffering is permitted by God so we can learn how to depend on Him and trust Him more and grow stronger in our faith. The key is being determined not to give up while we're going through the hard times.
Trusting God when circumstances are painful or difficult is not always easy, and it tests our faith. Testing is a large part of a Christian's growth and development. You may be tested in the area of a dream you have for your life. Maybe God asks you to lay it down. Will you ... with a good attitude? Maybe He allows you to experience lack so that you can appreciate abundance even more. Will you praise Him when you're abased as well as when you abound?
I'll never forget a time when my husband, Dave, and I were living from paycheck to paycheck. God had told me to quit my job to begin preparing for my ministry. It was hard. There were many times I was tempted to go back to work, but I was determined to be obedient to God.
During that time, I would go to garage sales to find things to meet our basic needs, because that's what we could afford. One day, a minister friend of mine stopped by the house after a speaking engagement to share how financially blessed he'd been. It was so hard to rejoice with him! But I was still determined to be obedient ... with a good attitude. I was committed to what God was doing in me. Soon after this, we began to experience more financial breakthroughs. But it wasn't before my motives, my attitude and my commitment had all been tested.
My point here is this: The condition of our heart is what determines how deeply God's Word will take root and grow in us—whether we receive the 30-, the 60- or 100-fold return. He is always the same ... His Word does not change.
So, what is the soil of your heart like? Is it rocky—does the first sign of trouble or persecution make you stumble? Is it thorny—where anxiety and distractions can choke the Word in you? Or is it good, well-adapted soil that will eventually bear much fruit in your life?
Whatever your heart condition may be, you can change by God's grace if you need to. God is always working to bring a harvest in your life if your heart is right with Him. Remember, the seed is always the same.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. She has authored 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Living Courageously. To read past columns in Charisma by Joyce, visit charismamag.com/meyer.