by Karen Porter
We drove through Texas farm country and noticed that some fields were planted and some were lying fallow. We learned that farmers plant their crops on a rotating basis, leaving some fields to rest for a season so the soil can replenish nutrients. The planted fields are filled with lush green plants standing tall and bearing fruit. The unplowed fields grow weeds and stumps in shades of yellow and brown.
According to his crop rotation plan, the farmer will plant the fallow field next season and leave one of this year’s producing fields to rest. When he goes into the fallow field to get started with the new crop, he uses a tractor with a sharp plow to break up the ground, get rid of the weeds, and loosen the soil for the new planting.
Hosea told God’s people, “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord” (Hosea 10:12b NLT). Part of pursuing God is a heart breaking within me. If I long for Him enough to look deep within to discover some behavior or attitude that isn’t pleasing to Him, I can root it out of my life like a plow breaks up ground.
Pursuing Him requires cultivating new habits and routines and preferences. Recently when someone said unkind words, I realized that God’s Spirit was encouraging me to forgive quickly. Normally, I might have wallowed in my pain a while, feeling sorry for myself. But because I felt his urging, I called her for some friendly conversation. My heart was changed dramatically because I dug deep for the godly quality of forgiveness.
Fallow ground is unproductive because it is undisturbed. But once the soil is broken, it will grow abundant crops. Our hearts need to be disturbed because like that fallow ground, we can’t have deep revival. If we allow our hearts to continue unplanted and unagitated, we won’t follow Jesus whole-heartedly.
Jesus allows us to be disturbed so we will grow spiritually. That disappointment or pain might be His tool for breaking up your fallow heart. Losing your job sets you up for a bright new adventure. Breaking a bone forces you to take a much-needed rest. Financial problems allow you trust Him for provisions.
We’d all prefer to be safe and unbothered, living the same as we always have lived. But our Lord prefers for us to grow the lush fruit of the Spirit. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT).
Breaking up the fallow ground of our hearts can sometimes be painful. We feel the sting of the Holy Spirit’s conviction for our actions that have fallen short of the way Jesus taught us to live. But that discomfort can cause us to change our perspective. He is in the process of unsettling our smooth life so we will turn our focus to Him. God is worthy of your trust. He is watching every part of your life, and He never lets you stay fallow and unproductive for long.
He knows we must break up before we can break out.
“But in their distress, they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him.” 2 Chronicles 15:4 NLT
About the Author: Karen Porter is an author, speaker, coach and successful businesswoman. She coaches aspiring writers and speakers and is co-owner of Bold Vision Books. In her spare time, she pursues her life-long goal of finding the perfect purse.
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Join the conversation: What are things in your life that God has disturbed to bring you deeper with Him?