God wants us to tend our spiritual garden so that we may be fruitful in His Kingdom. It is we that tend the garden under His direction, nourish it and protect it, but it is the Lord that brings about growth and fruit in our lives.
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
It is clear from Jesus introduction to the Parable of the Sower in Mark4:3-8, that our hearts can be represented by five types of soil. They are underlined below and each one has an impact on the seeds that are sown into our lives by the Holy Spirit (the farmer):
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
We want to have good soil, that which is ready to receive the seeds from the Holy Spirit, to plant into our hearts, so that truth can take root and grow an abundant life for us. A life that bears much fruit and glorifies the Lord (John 15:8).
In preparing soil for seeds, what action would you take?
- Soften the Soil: This involves digging up or plowing, to break up hardness. It just sounds painful! Jer 4:3 “This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.” When our hearts are hardened to God’s word, perhaps hardened by our life experiences, we need to plough it up, make ourselves more receptive by being honest about what is under the surface of our hearts and the state of our spiritual garden. Looking into our hearts can be painful, being honest with ourselves is not easy. But the level at which we are prepared to go through the pain and examine what is in our hearts, is the level to which our hearts will be receptive to the seeds that will bring healing to our lives. If we cannot honestly examine our hearts and take a good look at ourselves, no matter how much the Holy Spirit shows us the path to healing and restoration, we will not take it.
- Throw away the old soil, the old life, the old habits. Replace it with a new life in Christ, new thinking, new habits and new life. 2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” It means we have to get rid of everything that belongs to our old way of life, and embrace change to become a new person. To the level we have decided to leave the old life behind, will be the level of a new-found freedom and victory in your new life with Christ. Sometimes we hold onto old things, and old habits for whatever reasons, but these things hamper our new way of life. What have you implemented in your life that is part of the new life?
- Get rid of the rocks, nothing can grow on rocks, or at least it is hard for it to grow. Rocks are big stumbling blocks in our lives, they take up space in our hearts and minds and prevent anything new to grow there. Typical rocks are usually named unforgiveness, offense, ungratefulness, unconfessed sin. These rocks have to be dealt with in our spiritual garden, they have to be dug up, acknowledged (confessed) and removed (repentance). 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” The more we sift out the rocks of our lives, hating their presence in our spiritual garden, the more there will be space for new, abundant life to grow in our lives.
- Fertilise the soil: You need to put good stuff into your heart and work it into the soil, so that the nature of our hearts is changed. You work the word of God into your hearts in the following way, Prov 7:1-3
My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you.
2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.
Jesus promised us in John 14:26 and again in John 16:13 said that when He is gone, He would send “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” He would “guide you into all the truth.” When the word is in our hearts, fertilizing the soil of our hearts, then the Spirit is able to “remind” us of it at the appropriate moments in our lives. It is my experience that when He does this reminding and guiding, that there is growth in our spiritual lives.
If we do not put the word of God into our hearts, how can the Spirit bring it into remembrance?
In your spiritual garden, how is your soil preparation going? Have you ploughed, getting rid of old soil, removing rocks and fertilizing? Good soil is the best soil to plant seeds into. The Holy Spirit wants to plant in our lives, things that will “prosper us and not harm us,” things that will bring us “a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Thank you, Lord, that You have plans for my life because You came that I may have life and life in abundance (John 10:10). I know Holy Spirit that You are constantly working in my life, teaching me and guiding me in all truth. You want me to understand and remember truth and to this end you will remind me and teach me if I am willing to allow You to plant in my life. Help me to prepare my heart for your seeds. I know that it is my responsibility to prepare the soil of my heart well. To be sure that my heart has good soil and not soil that will hamper the growth of seeds.