Preparing the Soil of Our Heart By Tiffany Jenkins
Have you ever thought of your heart as a place to grow new things? Our hearts can be a fertile growing ground if we prepare it to be planted in the things of God. In fact, I like to think of my heart as a fresh bed of soil, where God can come in and plant some things in me that will produce what I need to live and sustain, as well as grow me.
Just like in your natural garden, the condition of the soil is so critical to its success. The soil is the foundation that sets you up for an amazing growing season. If you begin with excellent soil your roots will grow strong, the plants will easily take up the proper nutrients and the proper drainage will allow for your roots to cycle down from wet to dry. I’ve always said that if you start with poor soil, then you will have a poor growing season, but if you start with the good stuff then you are giving yourself the best chance for a plentiful harvest and healthy plants. Before God can plant something in us, we have to examine the soil in our heart.
At the greenhouse soil is always my first consideration of the season. While to some it may look like a big pile of dirt, it is important to look past what it looks like to see what it actually is. Whenever a new shipment of soil arrives, I see a chance for a new beginning; a fresh start if you will. I see an interesting ecosystem designed to support growth. Dirt is a lifeless mix of clay, silt and sand. However, soil is different than dirt. It is made up of many different components and all these parts work together to create and establish a foundation for healthy roots. While it is hard to see what is happening deep down in the soil, there are organisms, organic matter, water, minerals and living components all working to help grow a healthy plant.
You see our hearts are like this soil. There are many parts to it, all working together. Sometimes it may be hard for others to see the work that is happening in our heart. We have things that we love and cherish hidden there. We have hurts and disappointments, worries and dreams. Our heart is very complex. Sometimes bitterness is brewing there. Sometimes there is a vision or dream being born. Sometimes there is a void, while other times our hearts are full. We all want to live in a place where we fill fulfilled in our deepest part, in a place where we are connected with our creator. The only way that we can accomplish this is to fill our heart with all of the components needed to produce and grow seeds of righteousness and goodness. If we want fertile ground in our heart to grow beyond where we are, we must put some effort into it. If we want to grow spiritually, we must tend to our heart. We must stir up the things of God, keep them fresh and not let it become hardened. We may have to add in some amendments or spiritual disciplines. In fact, the bible says that the heart can be deceitful above all things and in Proverbs 4:23 we are instructed to guard our heart above all else, for it determines the course of our life.
So how do we do this? How do we keep our soil worked up and producing so that we can have a successful spiritual harvest? As children of God, we all know that we need to spend time in prayer and in the word of God daily. We know that we need to find ways to connect with God and hear his voice. Some days it seems so difficult to fit everything in. It seems that busyness is robbing us from the most precious times of our day. Just like we have to make time for our children and our spouse to cultivate a relationship with them, we have to spend time the Father if we want relationship with him. If we want to see growth and have a heart that is fertile and ready to grow, we have to say “yes” to spiritual disciplines or as I like to think of them spiritual amendments (see definition below). Spiritual amendments such as daily devotion, prayer, digging in the word of God and putting kingdom principles first in our life must be priority. We must check our heart and see if we are harboring any bitterness or unforgiveness. I can recall a specific time when I found myself examining my own heart and realizing that I was not showing the same forgiveness that God had shown me. Wow! It was so freeing to know that God was dealing with me and that I was obeying him in forgiving the wrong that had been done. It made me see the situation totally different and honestly, I haven’t given it a thought since. See forgiveness is not just for the other person, but it heals us from the inside out. We can live in freedom because of what Jesus’ sacrifice did for us, allowing us to forgive others in that same freedom. David provides us with a wonderful example of how to pray in Psalm 51 as he declares in verse 10: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Once we have a clean heart, then God can begin to work in us.
Both in your natural garden and in your spiritual garden, I want to encourage you to consider and examine your soil. Check to see if it is hardened or does it need working up or amending. Are you tending to it through daily relationship with the father? Are you allowing spiritual disciplines such as prayer and reading the word to take priority? Prepare the soil of your heart so that God can grow something beautiful in it. I can’t wait to see what God has planned to harvest in your future. I promise it will be something amazing!
What to read and consider…Psalms 51: 10-19
Soil Amendment: material added to the soil to improve its properties, resulting in a better environment for roots to grow healthy and strong. Examples of soil amendments are lime, sulfur, compost,
organic matter, perlite, etc.
Examples of spiritual amendments: daily devotion, prayer, digging into the word of God, forgiving, obeying the commands of God (which are always for our good), using your time, talents and treasures to bring God glory, seeking the will of the Father, etc.