The Lord liked to use the analogy of seed planting to describe for us the sort of growth a person will experience contingent upon the type of ground (heart) in which seeds (the Word) are planted. We are familiar with His examples, of course. But, as Paul wrote, "to write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe." This, then, is to remind us, lest we let them slip. Some seeds fall by the wayside, the fowls come and devour them. Some fall upon stony places, where they haven't much earth or deepness of earth. When the sun is up, they are scorched; and because they have no root, they wither away. Some fall among thorns; and the thorns spring up, and choke them Others fall into good ground, and bring forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. This is he that received seed by the wayside. When a person hears God's word, and doesn't understand it, then comes the devil (hidden, perhaps, in a vain philosophy), and catches away that which was sown in that person's heart. He that received the seed into stony places, is the same as he that heard the word, and immediately with joy receives it. But, because the soil is shallow (very little preparation of the heart), the word does not take root in him, but instead lasts for a short while. For when God sends cirumstances to try that word, the person becomes offended, and tosses the truth aside. He that received seed among the thorns hears the word, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are able to choke the word, making him unfruitful. He that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word, understands it, and bears fruit at varying degrees. Sadly, the latter portion of Jesus' parable has been so very overused by the prosperity pushers as to confine its reach and influence. "Increase" now relates more to financial gain, to the giving of money to get money, rather than spiritual growth. In fact, real growth in the Lord is to the degree that we have learned to decrease, not increase. When the word takes root, we should sense a drawing to do as Paul wrote, "die daily." Isn't that amazing? We are increased spiritually by decreasing and denying ourselves.