Something Simple in April
A Prepared Field is a Productive Field
God desires to do a new thing in each of us in 2021! Reclaiming fallow ground in our hearts is essential for His Word to produce the spiritual fruit we long to see.
“Break up your fallow ground,” the prophet Hosea cries, “for it is time to seek the Lord.” (Hos. 10:12)
Think of your heart as soil in which the Word can be sown. As you look upon your spiritual fields, you will see a variety of fields. Some have rich, fertile soil, where crops are flourishing. In other areas, the fruit is just coming ripe for harvest! The productive places in our spiritual life are satisfying. But what about the fields that are overgrown or lying unused? These are the places that the Lord desires to reclaim for Himself.
For a farmer, plowing fallow (unproductive) ground is often met with challenges. Breaking up the “fallow ground” in our hearts requires us to overcome similar obstacles. Here are four that we must address in cultivating rich, fertile soil from which spiritual fruit can grow.
Hardness – part of fallow ground
Envision dry, bare, forgotten land. What trampled plot of your heart has painful memories caused you to abandon? Rejection, betrayal, dashed dreams, or the loss of someone dear can be used by Satan to turn a once vibrant part of our heart into a desert wasteland. God’s invitation today is for you to return to this painful place, asking and allowing His Spirit to break the hard ground so His Word can take root and produce fruit.
Weeds – in fallow ground
No one plans for, or cultivates them; but for a careless farmer, weeds claim ground for themselves. What plot of your heart have you overlooked to the slow but steady overgrowth of weeds? Habits, once defeated, may have sprouted and perhaps are now flourishing. Unsavory speech, gossip or jealousy, compromised integrity, and a desire to follow the crowd are perennial favorites to choke out spiritual fruitfulness. That which we tolerate, we soon approve. That which we approve soon becomes an integral part of our heart. Hear the call of Hosea and plow the ground, so spiritual fruit can replace those weeds.
Stumps make fallow ground
Stumps, the remnants of trees removed from the fallow fields, limit cultivation. Sometimes they sprout new growth, shading out desired plants. Not investing the effort to remove stumps has caused many farmers to settle for a much smaller crop yield.
What bitterness, hatred, envy, lust, or idolatry remain in your heart? Perhaps you’ve dealt with specific sinful acts, but the stump and its deep roots remain. God wants new ground to produce fruit this year! Are you willing to remove those stumps to allow Him total access to your heart?
Rocks promote fallow ground
Huge, buried rocks may have been in a field for as long as a farmer can remember. He has accepted their presence and sacrificially works around them. The boulders are too large for him to remove by himself. Do you have boulders like this taking up room in your heart? Sins committed by you or against you, negative personality traits, or painful memories may have been embedded for as long as you can remember. Unseen by others, you carefully navigate around them and sacrifice the abundance that the Spirit wants to harvest. Removing these boulders means asking for help. With the love and support of others, we can be set free from the monoliths that rob us of peace and limit our spiritual fruitfulness.
Worth the work and effort
Plowing hard soil, pulling out weeds, and removing stumps and rocks is hard work. There is labor and even pain as the soil is torn, moved, reshaped. Yet, it is the prepared field that is a productive one. Allowing God to work up the fallow parts of our hearts will yield rich and fertile soil, from which the seeds of His Word spring to produce a new and glorious thing.
This analogy was first used in a message by Dave Slabach. He gave permission for it to be used in Daughters of Promise devotionals. If you are interested in receiving the DOP devotions, go to https://www.daughters-of-promise.org/contactus.