Message: Our ability to hear and understand the word of God is determined by how we manage the soil of our hearts. If we neglect it, the soil will be rocky and unmanageable. Even if the good seed lands on it, it will not be able to take root and grow until we do some digging and tenderize the ground. This is also true of the people we are trying to minister to. We can give them a healthy word and they may even hear it and receive it, but if they are not managing the soil of their hearts, it will not take root and grow.
Command: To manage the soil of my heart I have to allow God to dig around and examine the contents. I have to allow him to churn things around and expose the junk that lies beneath. I have to challenge my thinking and see if it is consistent with the truth in the word of God. When life comes along and dumps crappy situations on me, I have the opportunity to walk it out in obedience and allow it to fertilize my heart rather than allowing the stench to just dump on top of my heart. As I continue to ask myself honest questions without lying to myself about where I’m really at without making excuses it stirs things around and makes my heart softer. When I write things down and intentionally apply it even if (and especially when) it is hard- that word takes root and grows. I can’t justify myself or compare myself to any other person. I have to follow through and be obedient even when it feels unfair.
Promise: When I allow God to manage the soil of my heart, the word of God is able to get through and be firmly planted with good, healthy roots that grow.
Warning: If I am not allowing God to manage the soil of my heart, it becomes hard, rocky and calloused. Nothing can get through past that hard surface so it just sits on top superficially until it scatters and dies off. Even if I hear a good word and receive it in that moment, it is not able to take root and grow, because I have not allowed God to prepare a place for it in my heart. Instead it remains superficial and on the surface.
Application: This devotion is an example of tending to the soil of my heart. When I read I ask myself these questions and apply them to my life so that the word is firmly planted in my heart. This will ONLY work if I am honest and truthful about the condition of my soul. God already knows what my condition is, so I am only deceiving myself when I try to play pretend that I am in better condition than I actually am. When I expose the junk that lies beneath it reaches the surface and can be broken down into good soil.
Lord Jesus, please help me to see the things in my heart that I have been intentionally or subconsciously hiding or ignoring. Expose the ugly things to me that I need to deal with. Thank you that you are a gentle and kind gardener and that your kindness is what leads us to repentance.