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)
“If my heart was likened unto a field, what condition is my heart in?” This question struck me when I was in a time of prayer, and I knew the Lord has something to say. What is the condition of your heart? If it were likened unto a field, is it soft and ready for seed, or hardened and dry? Is it seeded with truth or have weeds taken over? How do we till the ground of our hearts?
In Hosea 10, we see the heart of the nation likened to fallow ground. Fallow ground is ground which was once tilled, but has gotten hard and now lies waste. It is ground that needs to be broken up and made soft again before it can receive seed. Many pay no attention to their own hearts, and never know whether they are doing well in their walk with the Lord or not – whether they are bearing fruit or are totally barren.
How can you know if you have a soft heart before God? When you love well. Not love that is defined by the world or man’s opinion, and not just a sentimental feeling or a strong passion. True agape love is self-giving and described for us in 1 Corinthians 13. This is the type of love the Father has for His children and the love He calls us to show others. We can use it to test ourselves to see if we are living in love. “Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered], and does not take into account a wrong endured. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
When we live the opposite of love, we live in hate. Impatience is hate, envy is hate, conceit and self-will are hate, and so are selfishness, irritability, and resentment. And hate is sin (1 John 2:9)!
“What tensions, barriers, and discord sin causes, and fellowship with both God and the other is made impossible.” -Roy Hession, Calvary Road
The Ground of Our Hearts
How is your heart? Brokenness is the opposite of hardness. Hardness says, “It’s your fault!” Brokenness says, “It’s my fault!” There is no love in hardness, but brokenness is like a broken alabaster box that love springs out of. Brokenness means to have no right before God and man (Phil 2). Yieldedness, submission, brokenness…LOVE!
To have a soft, pliable heart before God means we have abundant life. Not our lives, but the life of Jesus filling us and flowing through us. It is marked by peace, harmony, love, and oneness. The signs of irritation, tempers, resentments, and selfish attitudes are far from it. It’s a loving heart marked by brokenness, willing confessions, apologies, reconciliation and restitution, and true repentance of sin.
Spend some time receiving the Lord’s great love over you. If you are in Christ, line your heart and mind up with the truth that you are loved by God. You’re not a stranger but His very own son or daughter. Once you have done this, ask the Holy Spirit to come and “search and know you; test and know your anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). Spend time confessing and repenting of the things that have brought hardness into your life, pray for His healing work over your mind and heart, and allow His power to bring newness to all the barren areas of your life. “…for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:12b)
“My Eyes Are Dry” Keith Green
My eyes are dry
My faith is old
My heart is hard
My prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to You and dead to me
But what can be done
For an old heart like mine
Soften it up
With oil and wine
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love
Please wash me anew
With the wine of Your Blood