Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12
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.” Jeremiah 4:13
What would it look like to create space for our hearts to begin to shift towards God’s heart and the little things that matter most? God has called us to cultivate the plot of land He has planted us on. And it starts by investing and paying attention to the little things. Over time, with this focused intention, we will begin to bear the fruit that we were designed by God to produce.
Whether the little things are your kids, your career, your faith, your education, your community, or your finances, if you aren’t cultivating it, then something else matters more to you. If it matters to you, you’ll develop it.
Real change comes from deep below the surface. If what you are longing for really matters to you - if that seed resides at your core - then you’ll risk stepping into the mess to nurture instead of neglect. You’ll stop doing things the way you’ve always done them and start breaking new ground.
Our actions follow the desires of our hearts. Our soul shrinks or expands to the size of its greatest concern. By His grace, we don’t have to transform our hearts; we have to surrender them. We grow what we sow.
In Bible times, the land was allowed to lie fallow or uncultivated so that it might rest, replenish nutrients, and become more fruitful for another season. But when the area was in the condition of lying fallow, it soon became overgrown with thorns and weeds. So the cultivator of the soil would be careful to “break up” his fallow ground by clearing the field of weeds before sowing seed in it. The same holds for our heart. We clear out the thorns and weeds to prepare it to be fruitful.
Cultivating the soil in our lives is not a one and done thing. It is not merely a check box where we identify our problems and then move on, not ever having to deal with them again. It is a process that cycles over and over again. It is a constant journey of development.
As we identify and remove barriers or things keeping us from bearing fruit, we keep tending the soil. If you were to remove the obstacles or little things that are holding you back from flourishing, what real possibilities would have room to grow?
We have to remember that in choosing to dig down and examine what soil isn’t working, we are going to have to get our hands dirty. It may be challenging and humbling to name our mistakes, our past, and our broken pieces. But, there is such power in exposing what is buried in the dark depths of our souls and bringing it into the light.
God can redeem and refresh your soul. His grace is waiting to grow something new out of what feels messy. You can look at your flaws and fears as impossible roadblocks, or you can see your challenges as opportunities for grace to cover everything.
Some of the barriers in our soil may take much more than a tractor to remove. They may take time, wise counsel, and a slower, more careful extraction. Whatever is needed, know that removing the barriers will be worth it, no matter how long it takes or how hard the process is to get there. You are opening up the room to flourish. That kind of work is always fruitful.
What fallow ground needs to be broken up in your life?
God, may the environment of my heart be ripe for growth and transformation. I will possess the courage to till the soil and rip up any weeds or thorns that are choking out the life You’ve called me to live. Let new things that bring beauty and grace to everything around it bloom and flourish. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.