The Constitution and the Building Up of the Body of Christ, by Witness Lee


A. By the Human Heart as the Wayside
Hardened by the Worldly Traffic and with
the Evil Spirits of Satan as the Birds
Snatching Away the Word of Life

Matthew 13 tells us that the Lord went out as the Sower to sow the seed into the hearts of many people. The Lord revealed that the human heart is of four categories. Three are negative and one is positive.

The first kind of heart is likened to a place beside the way (v. 4). Beside the farming field is a way, and the place beside this way becomes hard because of too much traffic. Because it is close to the way, it is easily hardened by the traffic of the way. When the seed falls on the hard wayside, there is no way for the seed to get into the soil. This affords a good chance for the birds from the air to snatch all the seeds away.

Jesus is sowing the seed, but your heart may be too hard. The seed cannot penetrate into your heart. It remains on the surface of your heart, and then the birds, signifying the evil spirits, come to snatch away the word. In this whole universe there is not only the Holy Spirit, the life-giving Spirit, but also the evil spirits. They are crouching, watching, and waiting to snatch away the word sown in the hardened heart. We can see Satan’s frustrating work with the human heart as the wayside hardened by worldly traffic and with the evil spirits of Satan as the birds snatching away the word of life (Matt. 13:4, 19).

B. By the Shallow Heart Which Has Hidden Sins, Personal Desires, Self-seeking, and Self-pity
as Rocks Hindering the Life Seed from
Taking Root in the Depths of the Heart and
Is Stumbled by Affliction and Persecution

On the surface your heart may be soft, but it may not be deep. Instead, it may be shallow. Matthew 13 shows us the shallow heart which has hidden sins, personal desires, self-seeking, and self-pity as rocks hindering the life seed from taking root in the depths of the heart and is stumbled by affliction and persecution (vv. 5-6, 20-21). All these negative things are typified by hard rocks underneath the surface of the field, making the earth shallow. These rocks within us hinder the life seed from taking root in our heart. Those with such a heart are stumbled when affliction or persecution comes. We have seen many like this. First, they heard and received the gospel joyfully, but after a time persecution and affliction stumbled them because there was no root penetrating into their being that could cause the life seed to live long in them.

(The Constitution and the Building Up of the Body of Christ, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)