Some seeds fell on stony soil. There are more stones than soil in stony soil. It is shallow soil—having no depth in it. The seeds immediately sprang up in the stony, shallow soil. The sun came up and scorched the seeds. Since they had no root, no depth, they withered away.
In v. 20, Jesus says that stony soil symbolizes the shallow heart. “Yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away” (Matt. 13:20). The stony soil refers to anyone who receives the word with joy, follows Christ for a little while, and then falls away when troubles come. They hear the word and immediately receive it “with joy.” They receive the word emotionally, “with joy,” with tears, with excitement, or with a fiesta moment.
They follow Christ for a while. But the seed of the word does not take root in their hearts. They do not have the word rooted in their hearts. In v. 20, it literally reads, “he has no root in himself but is temporary.” What is temporary or passing? His discipleship. It is a passing discipleship, a fleeting, momentary discipleship.
Yet in the NT, the true disciple endures in a life of discipleship. Yet the stony soil—the short-term follower, does not endure. Short-term followers are not actually true followers. Theirs is a temporary, passing, short-range discipleship. They follow Jesus but only for a little while.
Are you a short-term follower of Christ or a long-term disciple?
“When tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away” (Matt. 13:21). Tribulation and persecution will come to them. Why do they come? Jesus says, “on account of the word.”
Do you know that if you believe in Jesus, you will suffer tribulation and persecution because of the word of God? Paul says in Philippians, “For to you it has been granted, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Phil. 1:29, NKJV).
Let me warn you now—if you live for Christ, you will suffer trouble and persecution from people. If you live for Christ, you walk on the narrow road leading to eternal life, to the city of God, on the road to heaven.If you do not live for Christ, you walk on the wide road leading to destruction and hell.
Listen! If you live according to God’s will, you will suffer for it. But the grace of God is upon you! The strength of God is upon you! The blessing of God is upon you! God will see you through!
There is the second enemy of the human heart—the world. The first enemy is Satan. The second enemy is the world—the pressures of the world. When the external forces of tribulation and persecution come, the shallow heart cannot withstand its attacks.
What happens then? Jesus says, the shallow heart easily falls away. Thus, shallow hearts are not true believers. They are merely professing, but not possessing believers.