The Soil Of My Heart

It usually takes hard times to plow up the hard ground of my heart. I know this is not God's best or even his will, yet, I am a slow learner and I am stubborn.

I go to the Lord. I go to the Word, seeking solace and direction. My heart is breaking, and the plowing is having its way with me.

As I fall to my knees under the weight of the sin too heavy for me to bear, I cry out to Jesus, and in his mercy the rains begin. Showers of righteousness soaking into me. Ahhh......the fragrance after the rain.

Plant the good seeds of righteousness,
and you will have a crop of love.
Plow up the hard ground of your hearts,
for this is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come
and shower righteousness upon you.
Hosea 10:12

And the seed that fell on good soil
represents those who hear and accept God's word
and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty,
or even a hundred times 
as much as had been planted.
Mark 4:20

Maintaining a soft heart where the seeds of righteousness can grow and thrive takes diligence. To do it right, daily, we must go to the Lord for care. He is the gardener. God is called the vine dresser, and the pruner. He is looking for fruit in us and he is pruning us to produce more fruit.

Galatians 5:22-23 says that the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

God is producing this fruit in us. Our only work is to maintain the soil, our hearts, for this fruit to grow. Soil maintenance requires prayer, reading God's word, fellowship with other believers, and repentance when we sin. Not to mention the many 'fertilizers' we can use to help us grow, like practicing thankfulness.

One last thing, Jesus says:

Those who remain in me,

and I in them, 

will produce much fruit.

John 15:5

That's it. The whole of the Christian life can be summed up in that statement. 

Remaining in Christ. 

Because, apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. John15:5

For a branch cannot produce fruit 
if it is severed from the vine, 
and you cannot be fruitful 
unless you remain in me. 

-Jesus (John 15:4)

Love and grace,


p.s. I am linking arms today with some lovely sisters in the Lord at Imperfect Prose.


Lisa B said…
Great post Renee! I love where you said God produces the fruit and our only job is to maintain the soil!! Amen!

That reminded me of a discussion we had in one of my bible classes about the vine and the vine dresser. I had fear over being "lopped off" and thrown into the fire and had it all wrong. I did some research about real vineyards and prayed about it. I'll share what the Lord showed me...

1. Vines will grow into a tangled mess on the ground if they aren't "trained" or directed by the vine dresser where to grow. They do this through tying up the newly growing, tender vines along a wire or fence that is designed to hold the vine. The vine dresser tends it frequently since the vine grows so fast and supporting structure must be strong to hold the weight of the vine and fruit. Also, the vine dresser must keep in mind as he trains the vines that they need plenty of sun and air circulation the following year as they grow the fruit, so he tends with the future in mind.

2. A new vine, sometimes up to 13 feet of new growth, will produce a profusion of new buds which will eventually turn into grapes. A new vine can produce up to 300 fruit producing buds at the beginning of the growing season. However, a vine cannot support producing that many grapes, so unless some of the buds are removed, none of the grapes will grow properly causing the entire crop to suffer. In that case, proper vine pruning demands that up to 75% of the buds be removed so the plant can develop properly and ripen the fruit it produces.

3. Because grape wood that is older than 2 years does not grow fruit, the dead wood is cut away to make room for the new growth. And the pruning is done in the winter when the plant is dormant.

So, after reading through this and meditating on it... here's what the Lord showed me...

The buds are like all the things/opportunities that present themselves to us that will turn into who we are/what we do, etc. These things can be bad and good opportunities. There aren't enough hours in the day to devote our attention to every single thing that presents itself to us. If we try to just spend a few minutes with each thing, we will never grow strong in any one area. Reminds me of a saying my dad had, "Jack of all trades, master of none."

So, the Lord tries to remove all the bad things and the good things that are insignificant to allow us time to devote to the good things He has chosen for us for this particular growing season.

The dead wood and dead branches are the old thought processes, patterns of thinking and lies (that don't bear fruit) that would distract us from those things He has chosen for us. He wants to cut those things out and burn them so they can't come back and distract us again.

He cuts the dead wood away during winter when the focus, growth and nourishment is underground (in our hearts) and the cutting away of the old, dead stuff isn't hurtful to us... it's a relief.

This verse made so much more sense to me after reading about vine dressing and revealed a picture of a vine dresser (God) who loves us SOOO much that He would devote so much time tenderly guiding our growth, supporting that new growth, taking away anything that would distract us from His love and destroying anything that would hinder us from becoming who He wants us to be.

I was amazed at not only the amount of time necessary, but the incredible attention to detail and wisdom necessary to sculpt the vine into the very best it could be.

Not like planting a row crop where you plant the seed and other than occasionally weeding, spraying or fertilizing, let time, rain and sun do it's job then to return and harvest it. Growing vines is a daily, hourly process in which the vine dresser is integrally involved.

How incredibly blessed we are to have a creator who cares about every single aspect of our lives and loves us more than we can comprehend!
Mommy Emily said…
Renee! I'm so glad you linked with IP. This post is SO rich with Scripture...this makes me rejoice. I love that verse from Hosea especially. Thank you, and I hope you'll share with us again. Bless you. e.

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