JEREMIAH 4:3-4: “For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: What am I doing with the unfruitful areas in my life? This is the question that came to my heart as I read these verses from Jeremiah. I am reminded that it is God’s intent and desire that my life bears fruit in every area.
- “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16 ESV
So how can I position my life and heart to see fruitfulness begin to break forth in every area of my life? How do I turn the unfruitful attitudes of my heart into a garden of the fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control)?
First – I must break up the fallow ground of my heart. Fallow ground is inactive ground. It has been plowed, but nothing has been planted. Left to itself it can become hard and will need to once again be turned over, broken up, and prepared for planting. In West Texas I learned of what is called “hard pan”. This is the top layer of soil that bakes in the sun until it becomes hard, like a layer of asphalt. It must be broken, turned over, and mixed in with the good soil. This represents repentance and prayer in our lives. We must rend our hearts before the Lord. The Biblical picture is circumcision. Repentance is the circumcision of the heart. Through repentance we turn to God, away from sin and unfruitfulness, and our hearts are prepared to receive the good seed of His Word.
Next – and this is very practical, I must stop sowing seed among the thorns. If I turn to God in repentance, if I prepare the soil of my heart in prayer, and then I sow the same seed once again, I will reap the same unfruitful crop. This can happen in one of two ways. I can pick the wrong seed (actions, thoughts, patterns). I can also turn away from the prepared soil of my heart and head back to the briar patch of thorns (sin, brokenness, bitterness). Either way, the potential fruitfulness that the Lord desires to bring into my life is destroyed. If we choose either of these paths we must not be surprised when we produce a crop of judgment. The principle of sowing and reaping is always at work. We will reap what we sow.
So how do I produce fruit in the unproductive areas of my life? After preparing the soil of my heart through repentance and prayer I must sow the good seed of God’s Word into these areas of my life. I must turn away from my old actions, thoughts, and patterns by the power of His Grace. I must resist the pull of the briar patch, the familiarity of my old patterns of sin, brokenness, and bitterness. I must actively and obediently receive the engrafted Word of God into my life which is able to save my soul (mind, will, and emotions). And, I must tend to this garden through continual prayer and worship, guarding the good soil and the good seed from the Lord!
- “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Luke 8:15 ESV
- “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:7-9 ESV
So many times in my life I have stood at the crossroads of fruitfulness. So many times in my life I have picked the wrong field, or planted the wrong seed. This morning I stand determined by the Grace of God to see my life become the fruitful garden of His love and grace – in every area, especially the unproductive areas of my heart. Lord, give me the wisdom, grace, and strength to break up the fallow ground of my heart through sincere repentance, to cultivate this ground through worship and prayer, and to plant the good seed of Your Word in the areas that are unproductive, overrun with weeds and thorns. Empower me by Your Holy Spirit to abide in You, Your Word, and Your Spirit – in order that my life may bear much fruit!
In Jesus Name!