False Hearts and Fallow Ground
I love going to the farmer’s market. We have a fun, local venue in my city that sets up a huge market for farmers, vendors, and other creatives to come and sell their goodies. There is usually music, good food, and endless colors stretched across the aisles that line the pavilion.
To me, it’s a grand celebration of harvest -- a celebration of sowing and reaping, a beautiful rhythm that God designed. And this rhythm of the harvest applies to much more than just dirt and seeds.
It’s also a principle of the heart.
You may have heard it said before, “You reap what you sow.” That’s an idea that comes straight from the mouth of God in Galatians 6:7:
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
The harvest of our lives are the result of what we are sowing into them.
What exactly do we “sow” into our lives? Well, we sow seeds. Seeds are tiny, often unassuming objects that we put into the hungry soil in our lives. Seeds can be thoughts you have about someone, or memories of your childhood, or songs you listen to on the way to work, or TV shows you watch right before bed, or conversations you choose to partake in.
All these little overlooked seeds plant themselves into our hearts and begin to produce things within us.
In the book of Hosea, we are watching the harvest come in -- and it’s not pretty. They have been sowing seeds of sin, unfaithfulness, and idolatry into their hearts and they are reaping a harvest of broken fellowship, judgement, and destruction. They will soon sit in ashes as their cities are burned and their families are shattered by the nations they loved more than God.
For now they will say:
“We have no king,
for we do not fear the Lord;
and a king—what could he do for us?”
They utter mere words;
with empty oaths they make covenants;
so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds
in the furrows of the field. (Hosea 10:3-4, ESV)
You have plowed iniquity;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way
and in the multitude of your warriors… (Hosea 10:13, ESV)
The fields were ripe with judgement, not joy. After years of “trusting in their own ways” and refusing to fear the Lord, the harvest was finally catching up with them. And God knew that the only way to repair the damage was through seeking His face, breaking up hard soil, and changing seeds:
Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. (Hosea 10:12, ESV)
As we learned a few weeks ago, this is describing repentance.
For Israel -- and for us -- even the poorest harvest can be redeemed through repentance.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11, ESV)
He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalms 126:6)
The same principles apply to us today. If you are walking through your “farmer’s market” and feeling disappointed by what your life is yielding -- perhaps it’s time to take a look at what you are sowing into your life.
This week I did such an evaluation on myself. I noticed that I was growing discontent, cranky, and anxious, so I took a few hours one morning to evaluate what I’ve been sowing into my heart. What kind of thoughts were running unchecked in my mind? What type of content was I reading on Facebook and Instagram? What am I doing with fear when it presents itself? And what am I doing to fight against the lies that will always want inside the soil of my life?
God’s Word brought me such light that morning as I searched my heart. He led me to one of my favorite passages in James 3 which allowed me to evaluate my discontent and anxiety in its true light:
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18, ESV)
James is basically asking us to evaluate the harvest of our lives! The fruits of wisdom and the harvest of righteousness begin with what is first pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. These are the seeds that produce holy harvests.
We reap what we sow. And that’s not a bad thing. I take it as a promise from my Father that if I tend carefully to the soil of my heart and walk in repentance, there is always the grace of a beautiful harvest.
Kaysie Strickland is definitely nothing fancy. Jesus found her in a mess and won her with His Words. She feels called to be a servant of the Word and His people through spending her life and words proclaiming the reckless restoration available in the gospel. She is married to her best friend on earth, drinks lots of coffee + tea, constantly rearranges the furniture in her house (God bless her husband), loves gardening and DIY projects, enjoys long conversations over coffee, and loves all the words. She and her husband are expecting their first little one this month! You can find her on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Blog