In spring, farmers plow their fields lying fallow during winter, and remove all weeds and tree roots. After sowing, they take care of the seeds so they can sprout; then they apply good fertilizers and remove weeds until they produce good fruits in autumn.
It is the same as the work of producing the fruit of the gospel. For the Bible says:
“Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.”Hos 10:12
Can a farmer sow seeds without plowing up the ground? Not at all. First the farmer removes weeds and roots, then he plows the ground to sow the seeds, looking for fruit. Likewise, we should first remove mistaken thoughts to plant the seed of the gospel. We can’t bear beautiful fruit of the gospel with old, hardened, faithless, and thorny hearts.
We should first break up the fallow ground of our heart with the plow of God’s word in order to be fertile, so that we can bear the fruit of the gospel abundantly by the grace that God pours upon us like rain. When we sow the seed of the gospel in the newly plowed ground, we can produce good fruit-thirty times, sixty times, or even a hundred times what is sown. That is why we must first break up the fallow ground of our heart.
“This is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.”Jer 4:3
The above verse means that when we preach God’s word, we should first break up our fallow ground and sow the seed on our newly plowed ground after removing the thorns and thistles from the soil of our hearts, so that we may bear the good fruit of the gospel.
Concerning this, Jesus told a parable about a farmer sowing his seed.
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times. … The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop-thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”Mk 4:3-20
The above parable tells of the seed-‘the word of God’-sown in our hearts. Which seed can bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold then? It is the seed sown on good soil, good heart, with which God is pleased.
If the seed is already sown but we do not produce fruit-thirty, sixty or a hundred times, we must first break up the fallow ground in our hearts. For the seed sown in a good heart produces good fruit.
In Hosea 10 and Jeremiah 4 God tells us to break up our unplowed ground and not to sow among thorns. What do thorns represent then? Jesus defined them as the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires of other things in men’s hearts. If we preach the gospel with the thorns in our hearts, we can’t bear fruit. We must make the soil of our hearts fertile and move God by our good deeds, so that we may bear much fruit.
At the first coming of Jesus, many people regarded Him as merely an ordinary carpenter. However, the woman who had been subject to bleeding had a totally different view of Jesus. She secretly touched the edge of Jesus’ cloak in a crowd, strongly believing that if she only touched his clothes she should be healed. Jesus was moved by her faith and said, “Your faith has healed you.”
“Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.”Mt 9:20-22
And the two blind men, who earnestly entreated Jesus, were healed because they had a good heart and uttered words of faith.
“As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; and their sight was restored.”Mt 9:27-30
Thus, the bleeding woman and the two blind men had a fertile heart full of faith in Jesus; they didn’t have a bit of doubt in their hearts. According to their faith they cultivated a rich heart of soil and Jesus responded to their cry for mercy. Anyone can touch Jesus’ garment or His hand. The important thing is what is in his heart.
There are four kinds of heart soils in which the seed is sown: the path, rocky places, thorny ground, and good soil. We must not let our heart become thorny ground or hard ground which the Holy Spirit does not dwell in.
Let us be fertile ground. We are to pray to God in order to cultivate a good heart. Let’s take off the old self, removing envy and jealousy from our heart, and have a loving and compassionate heart. When our hearts thus become fertile ground, the light of the gospel will spread very quickly. Let us have a good heart, a true heart full of faith, like the bleeding woman who believed that she would be healed just by touching Jesus’ garment.
With the unplowed ground of our heart which is not full of love and the Holy Spirit, we can never enter the kingdom of heaven. Now, let’s break up our hardened heart with the plow of God’s word and make it fertile soil full of love and the Holy Spirit.
Brothers and sisters in Zion! Let’s keep the faith in the Spirit and the Bride, the Saviors of this age, and bear much fruit and receive abundant blessing.