What Kind of Soil are You?

10 Ways to Raise Spiritually Minded Kids

We are in the middle of the series, 10 Ways to Raise Spiritually Minded Children. To view all the posts in this series, please go here.


For the past twelve years or so, God has graciously given me a focus verse for each year. Somewhere in November or December, He faithfully lays on my heart a verse for the next year.

This year my verse is Colossians 3:16 (which is why you’ve heard a lot of it the past couple months!) It begins with this phrase, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”

Jon Bloom says this,

“Here’s the thing: we are frequently impoverished spiritually by our own not letting ourselves be rich. On our shelves or bed stands or in our tablets or computers is a bank vault of “true riches” (Luke 16:11). But the pawnshop trinkets of worldly words are deceptively attractive. We can even be on our way to spend our time (the currency of life) on the riches in the vault and end up spending it in the pawnshops along the way.

What Paul wants us to do is neglect things that make us poor and not neglect things that make us truly rich.

If the word of the Wall Street Journal or World Magazine or Wired Magazine or David Brooks or David Letterman or David McCullough, or John Mayer or John Steinbeck or John Paul II or John Calvin or Richard Dawkins or Richard Branson or Richard Baxter or Bono or Bach or blogs (even this one) dwells in you more richly than the word of Christ, you’re poor. You might be impressive at a dinner party or around a conference table or at small group. But you’re poor. You’re storing up dust.

You don’t need to be in the know.

You don’t need to be admired among the literati or respected in the guild. You don’t need an impressive net worth. You don’t need to be well traveled or well read. You don’t need to be conversant in Portlandia or know how many Twitter followers Taylor Swift has. You don’t need to be politically articulate, or up on the mommy blogs or the young, restless and reformed buzz. You don’t need to see the movie. You don’t need to read the novel. You don’t need to look hip.

But what you desperately need, more than anything else in the world, is the word of Christ dwelling in you richly.”


When we foster a home environment where the Word of Christ is implanted and richly nourishing our hearts, our conversations, our attitudes, our choices, and our actions, a natural outcome is that our children will be spiritually minded. The logical questions we must ask are first, how do I let the Word of Christ dwell richly in me? In us? And secondly, what crowds out the Word from dwelling in us richly?

In Mark 4, Jesus gives four different soil conditions. One is a soil that competes for nutrients:

“And other seed are the ones sown among thorns.”

Consider the environment in your home as soil in which your children’s lives are being planted. A soil {or home environment} that competes is one that has both good seed and thorns growing in it. “They are those who hear the Word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the Word, and it proves unfruitful.”

Friends, this verse describes so many of our homes. We are sowing the seed but it is in competition with other things… things that end up choking it out.

We cannot be double minded and hope half-hearted efforts will do the trick.

Mark 4:19 gives three specific things that compete for the nourishing Word and crowd it out.

1. The cares of the world. Bills, errands, chores, to do lists. Being overcommitted. Busyness. {Simplifying our lives will go a long way here.}

2. The deceitfulness of riches. Discontent and trying to get ahead. Materialism. Purchasing beyond our ability. Thinking we need more and running after it.

3. Desires for other things. Selfish pursuits. Time wasters. Endless entertainment. Pursuing comfort. Or recognition. Or pleasing ourselves in all manner of ways and taking little thought of serving others, much less sacrificing to do so. The internet. So many other things!

At the end of the parable of the seed and soils, Jesus said, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. Pay attention to what you hear.” I believe Jesus wants us to wake up and begin making value choices. When we realize the Word is in competition with other things in our lives and homes, we need to make some strategic choices. Some things have to go so that what’s really important can take root and “dwell in us richly.”

Maybe it’s busyness. Selfish pursuits. That endless entertainment. Maybe laziness and disorganization. Maybe the internet. Maybe TV.

Whatever it is, we need to first identify it and then weed it out. Pull up the thorns. Don’t allow weeds to compete for a place in the soil of your home.

This post was actually going to be the last one in the series but this week God has directed my steps to do this very work of “weeding out” in our home. I’m sharing it today so that others who choose to do this can do it together and not be alone. If you are doing this week’s challenge, will you leave a comment and pray for the others {and me}?


This Week’s Challenge: Cultivate rich soil by identifying what crowds out the Word… and fast from it!


Start by meeting as a family to brainstorm what competes for “space” in your home. As a family, identify and talk about what things choke out the Word, both individually and as a family.

Then, choose one or two of the “weeds” to take a 30 day fast from, such as T.V. or the Internet or activities that just keep you busy.

In place of those things, be more intentional about slowing down, serving others, sowing seeds, and filling your hearts and minds with the nourishing Word. It may be helpful to refer to your Replacement List… or create a new one… for your 30 day fast. Be intentional!


Personal note: Over the next 30 days, I am fasting from unnecessary computer activities. {This has nothing to do with Lent, by the way!} I want the Word to be what dwells in me richly so am cutting out other voices for a bit. I will continue posting this series on Mondays as long as it does not become one of those things that choke out the Word~ smile~ Other than that, you may not see me on the blog a whole lot this month~

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  1. This is good stuff, my friend. I believe that Satan has found a very effective tool in distraction. It works well for so many of us…keeping us away from the Word. Blessings to you.

    1. I find the older I get the more effective this strategy is. The Word is LIFE… of course he wants to keep us from it. Thanks for your comment, Leah. I’m praying for you today.

  2. Ouch, ouch, ouch! All over my toes. So many things competing for the soil in my life and my kids’ lives!! But thankfully today is a new day. New start! New possibilities! So far I haven’t been on facebook yet and have actually managed to get up early (before the children!! yay!!) to spend time with the Lord. It’s a minute by minute thing apparently for me? Because I catch myself reaching for my phone to check facebook, catch myself about to click on the familiar blue icon… yikes – I had no idea what a habit that had become! Thanks, Arabah, for this series… I’m loving it. Well, loving it as much as I can with achy toes and a convicted heart! :) Love you my friend! Will keep you posted…. I’m sure there will be lots of other things that the Father reveals as competition for Him during these 30 days!

  3. Oh my friend, you aren’t the only one with hurting toes! I wrote this to myself first :) Praying for you as you identify those competitors… May we both come out “rich” after these 30 days!

  4. We are definitely trying to simplify here and return to our first love. Instilling that into our children won’t happen by accident. I need to clean house – literally. We’ve accumulated *stuff* that takes time to care for (clean, organize, etc) and this is the perfect time to rid ourselves of the stuff that stands in the way of time we need to be spending with God. Time to clean house! Thank you for this post! Love how God uses others to speak exactly to our hearts!

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