Matthew 13:1-9, 11, 14-15, 19, 23, 51 (see 14 AUG)
Spiritual understanding means that that which comes from the Lord finds a place for itself in us. There is a receptivity in the heart (re: ‘parable of the sower’). In the first scattering of the seed, the birds of the air found it an easy prey because of a lack of receptivity. It just stayed on the outside, on the surface, and did not enter in at all. And so it was stolen. Spiritual understanding means that we draw the word in, take it in and apply ourselves to it. There is a receptivity about us.
In the next place, spiritual understanding means an endurance of and through what the Lord gives. The life of the seed on the rocky ground was short, so the history of that bit of the work of God was very short-lived. There was no real endurance. Spiritual understanding is the basis and the means of the spiritual endurance of the work of God in our hearts and in our lives. That is very clear and, I think, very simple. It is so possible, as we know, to hear it all and, in a way, know it all. Then, when the real test is applied, things begin to get difficult, the sun rises with scorching heat, and we get into the fires, the adversities and the suffering; all our knowledge means nothing. All that we have heard and all that has come to us just stands for nothing, and our spiritual history goes. I am afraid that is how it is with many; there is no endurance through the scorching sun and the fires.
Then, what about this that fell among thorns? “And the thorns grew up, and choked them.” Spiritual understanding has a wonderful power to set up in us a resistance to this world and its fires, but there was no resistance here. The thorns sprang up and choked the seed. They were not challenged and subdued. The Lord’s explanation shows that there was no resistance because there was no spiritual understanding, no real spiritual apprehension. Spiritual understanding means depth, and that brings us to the fourth class. Everything depends upon our having depth.
Oh, for more of this spiritual understanding that has these results! First a receptivity, which means that we embrace the truth. Then an endurance against all adversity and temptation. Then a resistance to everything that comes to us which is not true or right; and finally a depth that lays hold and reproduces.