Preparing the Soil of our Hearts

beanI love, love, love gardening. Did I mention I love gardening? (teehee). I am no an expert in the field, but am rather having lots of fun learning as I go. I’m gaining experience in the garden through trial and error and of course the endless wisdom of the web.

Gardening can be alot of work, but there is also great reward. There is nothing more exciting to me than planting a seed and then watching it first pop it’s head through the soil.

When looking at a seed, it can do nothing in and of itself, and yet it has great potential. When placed in the soil and given the proper elements and care, it can grow to produce something of great value. It’s so amazing that a single seed has the potential to transform into a source of food (how awesome is that)?

I can’t help but work in my garden and think of the many spiritual principles that apply. When God’s Word (seed) is implanted in our hearts, it begins to work in us. As we daily spend time with God, and let His Word wash over our hearts and minds, it slowly begins to transform us.  Without daily time in God’s Word, we will never grow. It’s like putting a seed on the ground without doing anything else, and expecting a crop (nothing is going to happen).

Before I can expect anything to grow in my garden, I first have to tend to the soil. The soil is the base in which the seed is to grow. As all gardeners know, good soil is a must if we desire a healthy crop. Tilling the soil, fertilizing the soil, and keeping it free from weeds and pests are all part of having good soil.

Speaking of soil, I am reminded of “The Parable of the Sower,” which is found in Matthew 13:3-9;  Mark 4:2-9; and Luke 8:4-8. From this parable, we can learn about four different responses to the Word of God. As the sower sows His seed (the Word of God), it falls on four different types of soil:

– The first type of soil is hard ground, which prevents the seed from sprouting and basically becomes bird food. Jesus explains that this is someone who hears the Word, but has hardened their heart against God (through sin) and doesn’t allow the Word penetrate it.

– The second type of soil is the rocky ground. In this soil, there is enough soil for the seed to germinate, but it soon withers in the heat because of the shallow soil and no root. This type of soil represents someone who hears the Word and seems to receive it with joy, but since it has no root, they only last a short time. When trouble or persecution comes, their heart has not changed and they quickly fall away.

– The third type of soil was the thorny soil. In this type of soil the plant grows, but the competing thorns soon choke the life out of it. This represents someone who initially receives the Word, but whose heart is full of worldly things, riches, pleasures, and lusts which compete for his attention. All his competing attentions steal from the Word, and he ends up having no time for it.

-The fourth type of soil is the good soil. In this soil the plant comes up, produces fruit, even multiplying it. This soil represents someone who hears the word, accepts it and produces a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty and even a hundred times. This person’s salvation is evidenced by the fruit in their lives (Matthew 7:15-20).

This parable shows me that our reception to the Word of God is based on the condition of the heart. This leaves me with the question, “How do we prepare the soil of our hearts to receive the Word? I believe the answer is found in John 15:7 which speaks of abiding in Christ  . . . He says if you abide in me (spend time with me/stay present) and my words remain in you (walk in obedience to the word), you will bear much fruit.  As we abide in Jesus and his finished work on the cross, fruit will be the end result of God’s transforming work in our lives.

Thank you Lord Jesus for who you are and for all you do for us. Help us to keep the soil of our hearts soft and to pull the weeds of sin as they surface. When our heart becomes distracted with the things of this world, help us to return our focus on you. Our desire is that our hearts would resemble that of the good soil, not because of our goodness, but because of Your goodness to us. Thank you Lord Jesus for who you are and for all you do. Help us to be more like you. To you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN