16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.” (Mark 4:16–17, NKJV)
Stony ground is not a productive seed bed for plant growth. The rocky soil prevents the growth of a stable root system, which is necessary for nutritious, vibrant development and fruit production to occur. Without sufficient roots, the sun scorches the plant and it dies. Even so, a heart without spiritual depth does not give rise to strong, faithful discipleship. This heart is likely driven by emotion, joyful over initially hearing the gospel, it gladly receives it. But, with discipleship comes external pressures that test one’s faith. Tribulations or persecutions will arise when one follows the word of God (2 Tim. 3:12). When tested by the heat of spiritual conflict, the person with a shallow, emotional heart (instead of a secure faith) will “fall away” (Lk. 8:15). Emotion without a deeply-rooted faith is not spiritual strength; A good reminder for us all, lest we confuse spiritual excitement with strong faith.