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The Condition and Capacity of My Heart

faith Jun 27, 2019

When my sisters and I first inherited the family farm there was so much to learn, so we divided up responsibilities and research projects.

Soil health landed on my plate – something I knew nothing about. It’s been fun to learn, experiment, use creativity, and acquire solid advice from other farmers. The primary theme I have learned is that soil, not the seed, is the determining factor in producing an abundant harvest.

Soil, not the seed, is the determining factor in producing an abundant harvest.

Of course, you know, all this learning about soil health is also teaching me about spiritual growth! That’s not surprising since the Gospels are filled with parables and pictures that include farming principles. So, as I ramble on about how much fun I have had this last year with this project, I will interject the spiritual growth lessons.

Learning

It’s been fun to research soil health. I attend farming conferences, read books, listen to farming podcasts, get advice from consultants, and connect with other farmers through Facebook and blogs.

The number one principle of improving the soil health is to armor the soil. To armor – or cover – the soil provides benefits such as:

  • controlling wind and water erosion
  • minimizing evaporation
  • suppressing weed growth

Spiritual Growth Lesson

Soil = the condition and capacity of your heart to receive the message (the seed of God’s Word planted) 
and the ability to follow through on the changes that accompany your life when surrendered to Christ (growth to harvest).

Matthew 13 describes the soil of our heart as one of the following options: the beaten pathway, rocky, weedy, or good and rich.

Soil is the condition and capacity of your heart to receive God's Word and the ability to follow through on the changes that accompany your life when surrendered to Christ.

Ask yourself

  • After I read God’s Word does that seed get snatched away because I don’t understand it?
  • Or do I quickly forget the Word because a trial comes before it has time to sink deeply into my heart?
  • Or does life’s busy distractions suffocate the message?
  • Or is the seed fully embraced and yields a harvest even 100 times what was sown?

Experimenting

I am learning that farming is all about experimenting. You learn by trying something and if it works improve it and do it again. If it fails, learn from your mistakes and try something different.

In my research I learned that planting cover crops is one of the best methods to use to armor the soil and build soil health.

I attended a workshop on using buckwheat as a cover crop so after we harvested our organic garlic last year we sowed the field with buckwheat. Success! This fast-growing cover crop fits into our garlic planting/harvesting schedule perfectly. It keeps the weeds away and after it is turned under it will nourish the soil by improving the physical and biological properties of the soil and add nutrients.

Spiritual Growth Lesson

Psalm 92: 12-14 describes people who are flourishing and strong. They are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.

Cultivate healthy lifestyles by growing your roots deep into the good, rich soil of God’s presence and His Word.

Ask yourself

  • If I nourished my soil, what positive possibilities would have room to grow?
  • What are two practices I could implement into my daily routine that would add nourishment and health to the soil of my life?

Creativity

One of the fun adventures we have on the farm is rummaging through the sheds and barns looking for what tools we can use. Most of the tools and equipment were my Grandpa’s and have not been used in decades. It is rewarding to be creative and recycle them into the needs we have for our fields.

Spiritual Growth Lesson

A. W. Tozer wrote – the harvest follows the plow.

Continually watch the health of your heart because it can become hard through stress, trials, and everyday wear-and-tear.

Some tried and true tools for plowing up hard ground are:

  • confession
  • repentance
  • prayer
  • forgiving others
  • God’s presence
  • your Bible
  • worship

Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. 

Jeremiah 4:3 NLT

Ask yourself

  • How tired and worn out from everyday wear-and-tear am I?
  • Is my heart hardening because of it?

Advice

I have received good, solid advice from other garlic farmers and agricultural specialists, but my favorite mentor is my Uncle Curt. He lives on the property next to our farm and rides his ATV over at least once a day to see the latest project we are working on. He was born 80 years ago on this farm and I know he loves investing in us and the heritage of this farm.

Spiritual Growth Lesson

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:7 NLT)

Deep roots in God equal strong continuing faith and abundant harvest. This is the story you want your life to write; this is the legacy you want to pass on to generations.

Deep roots in God equal a strong continuing faith and abundant harvest.

I believe our lives are in all seasons of growth at the same time: planting, growing, waiting, and harvesting.

Ask yourself

  • How is the seed being planted in my life?
  • What healthy habits do I incorporate to spiritually grow?
  • Where am I bearing fruit?
  • What “season” is most predominate in my life right now?

The seed that fell into good, fertile soil represents those lovers of truth who hear it deep within their hearts. They respond by clinging to the word, keeping it dear as they endure all things in faith. This is the seed that will one day bear much fruit in their lives.

Luke 8:15 TPT

The Condition & Capacity of Your Heart

My prayer is that the soil of your life is healthy and readily receives God's Word so you thrive in your body, soul, and spirit.

Here are 3 ways to continue flourshing:

  • Read your Bible everyday. (Join my current reading plan HERE.)
  • Allow God to plow the hardened soil of your heart.
  • Join a small group Bible study.
  • Fill your life with friends who speak God's truth and encouragement into your life.
 

Today, let's begin something together!

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