While a lot of us are indoors much more than normal, there is a big focus on self-improvement. It’s got me thinking a lot about our hearts, and having a heart God can use at a time like this…
“But others (sown seed) fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold… Luke 8:8a
I’m no serious gardener, but I have great respect for those who do it well. Thomas Edison once said about success: “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. Gardening is very hard work. Yet even with a lot of time, effort and patience put into it you still depend upon other factors. One major factor is the soil. The type of turf you are working with has an impact on what you can plant and how well the fruit comes up and develops.
God is the expert Gardener. I’m sure there never has been a garden like Eden. Wouldn’t you have liked to have been there – to have seen and experienced it? Yet God’s best efforts in gardening have been done in the lives of people. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener… I am the vine; you are the branches.” (John 15:1, 5a) Out of the soil of the hearts of people God wants to bring the kind of fruit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” It is God’s desire to work His gardens – to work with you in producing this lovely fruit in your life. This fruit does not normally grow wild. A whole lot of effort needs to be exerted in making it possible for it to grow. Pause a moment. Consider your life. It’s a garden – a garden picked by the Master Gardener to plant His favorite and special fruit in.
- What kind of soil do you think your heart is?
- Is God having or will He have a rough row to hoe?
- Can others expect a good crop from your life during this time of testing?
How about it, what kind of garden are you?
Since God wants us to have a heart that is good soil for Him to use, how can we have that good heart for God to plant His Word? Why not focus on these 3 things:
- Plow – The first thing to do in getting your heart ready is turn it over. How? Repent of any known sin. Repentance means you turn away from sin and pursue righteousness. You don’t just say “I’m sorry” and then try to do better. In order to cultivate a heart that is good soil, you need to plow the heart and mind and turn control over to God. Ask God to break up the hard, rocky surface of your heart and turn over the callousness, indifference and unforgiveness that has made you unproductive and useless in the past.
- Prepare – The second step is to fertilize the soil. Spend time in God’s Word so that the life-giving truth of Scripture can soak deep into your heart. Meditate day and night so that the truth will saturate past your mind and flow into your heart. God’s Word needs to be so ingrained in us that it permeates our thoughts and conversations. As you do this you won’t be controlled by emotion, you won’t be seeking an easy journey, or you won’t have your feelings hurt so easily.
- Plant – The third step is to sow God’s Word into the situations of your life. We are commanded to not be hearers only of God’s Word, but a doer as well. If we want a harvest to take place, we must apply the truth of the Bible into our lives and do what it says. Paul said, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:7-9) Look for what the Bible says about your situation and then follow the principles of Scripture – apply it to your life.
- Protect – The fourth step is to weed the garden of your heart. Guard your heart from the thorns of worry, riches, and pleasures. Protect your heart and your relationship with God. Keep the standard of holiness and purity always before you.
If we plow, prepare, plant and protect our hearts, we will be ready soil that is good for God to use. And with good soil that is daily cultivated and ready to receive His Word, A HARVEST WILL BE PRODUCED! So, I ask you once again: What kind of soil do you think your heart is? Is God having or will He have a rough row to hoe? Can others expect a good crop from your life this year?
Something to think about!