We have had a row of lush green bushes around our house for years. Several months ago a section of the bushes looked a little shriveled. A few weeks later, they were all dead, but the bushes on both sides of the dead section were fine. The landscaper ran a soil test and found that the soil in that section had been contaminated. We had to take out the bad soil, put in new soil, and now the bushes are flourishing like the others.
Sometimes we wonder why we're not seeing growth, why we're not seeing favor in our life. Check your soil. In Matthew 13, Jesus told a parable about a man who sowed seed on good ground and it flourished, producing great crops. But some of the seed fell on rocky ground, and lacking soil and deep roots its plants withered. Other seed fell among the weeds and thorns, and its plants were choked from growing. All the seed was the same quality; what made the difference was the soil.
You are a seed. You are full of gifts, talents, and potential. But if you plant yourself in unhealthy soil, if you hang around friends who compromise and pull you down, if you're in an environment with limited mind-sets, where people tell you what you can't do and how you'll never accomplish your dreams, you won't see the growth you should. It's not because there's something wrong with your seed—you are made in the image of God. The problem is with the soil. The thorns, the weeds, and the rocks are choking the life out of your seed—your dreams, your vision, and your character.
You have to be selective with whom you give your time, energy, and attention. If your friends are prejudiced, you're going to become prejudiced. If they have no goals and little motivation, that narrow-minded thinking is going to contaminate you. You will become like the people with whom you associate. It's time to pull up the weeds and thorns that are causing you to shrivel up. Be nice to everyone, but don't spend time with negative, critical, jealous, small-minded, bitter people. God has given you a gift that will flourish and grow in good soil. Your seed is full of potential, your seed has greatness in it, your seed can set a new standard for your family, your seed can break generational curses, your seed could have the cure for cancer, your seed could impact this world. What God has entrusted you with is extremely valuable. Do your part and keep your seed in good soil.