Cultivating The Ground of Our Hearts

It is Spring here in New England. One of the first signs of this truth for me is aside from the smell of the air and the birds singing; it is the smells of the farm. On my ride from home to church, right at a particular exit, the smell of cut grass and manure filled my car, and the sounds of the machines they used to till the ground were loud and clear.

I watch as the machine goes up and down the field, getting the ground ready to plant the seeds that prayerfully will produce a harvest.

“When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”” Luke 8:4-8

In this passage, God shows us the importance of tilling and cultivating the soil of our hearts. We see here that some seeds were stolen, some ground was hard and dry, and weeds and thorns hindered and choked out what was good.

I am not a girl with a green thumb at all. I do not enjoy working with plants or flowers much. But we have a yard that has them in it. I have noticed that when things are not tended to or pruned, they don’t thrive, and they soon die.

I need an expert to come in and help me know what needs to be done, and it is the same with my heart.

God is my creator. He knows me in and out and upside down. He knows what is hidden in the deep and what lingers in the shallow. He is an expert on me.

“Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

He tells me I need to watch over my heart with all diligence. Merriam-Webster defines diligence as a “steady, earnest, and energetic effort: devoted and painstaking work and application to accomplish an undertaking.”

Tilling, cultivating, and guarding our hearts is hard work. It is steady and consistent work that requires perseverance. We have to be devoted and dedicated to this work. It is not a one-time thing. It is continual; just like every year, the farmers work to bring the harvest.

“His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.
“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” Luke 8:9-15

As I read these words, I think about my own heart and this journey of life. How do I keep those seeds from being stolen, my heart getting hard, or the weeds and thorns from overtaking the fruit there?

  1. Seek God First and with my whole heart – He is the expert on me. He is the one I need to go to for wisdom and direction. He is the one who can help me. He is my helper and my encourager. He reveals my heart and brings conviction that leads to repentance. He holds my tears and hears my cries. He gives me answers as I seek, even if they take a long time to be provided.
  2. Worship – I can worship God with my words, songs, and my life. As I worship, He renews my mind and brings healing to my heart. He exposes and brings truth as I worship. He restores my soul.
  3. Remember His Faithfulness -when I remember His faithfulness, I am reminded He is trustworthy, and I am encouraged to surrender fully and lay down any anxieties and stresses.

The enemy is hard at work to kill, steal, and destroy. If he can get to our hearts, he can steal seeds, harden us, and destroy the life God wants to give us and the life of freedom Jesus died to give us.

We must diligently watch over our hearts. We want our soil to be good so the harvest will be steady and fruitful.

When we don’t know how to tend to our hearts, let’s draw near to the expert gardener who created us and knows us best. May we embrace the pruning process so we might grow deeper and produce more beautiful fruit that others may see and know Him.