Till Your Heart Soil

Posted by Naomi Vacaro on

Cultivating our heart so that it is always ready and willing to say “yes” to God.

By Patsy Shaw

A year ago, my husband and I started our very first garden. Instead of easing our way into it, we dove right into the deep end. We learned all about starting seeds indoors, transplanting them outside, the best watering techniques, and even concocting ideal soil compositions. One thing we picked up early on is that for every dollar you spend in the garden, 95 cents of it should go towards the soil. I remember being so surprised by this, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

In the Parable of the Sower, what made all the difference was where the seeds landed. Some fell along the path, others on rocky ground, some fell among the thorns, and other seeds fell on good soil.

So how do we till our heart’s soil so that it is always ready and willing to say “yes” to God?

Water the soil regularly

During the summer time, my vegetables needed daily watering first thing in the morning. If you water them in the middle of the day, the heat will dry them up before it reaches the roots. Water them late in the evening and you invite bacteria into your plants.

In the same way that our plants needed daily watering, we too need daily sustenance in the Lord. In the past, I used to start my day scrolling on social media, reviewing my to-do lists, and checking my calendar appointments for the day. Beginning my day like this left me feeling anxious, worried, or in a frenzy. However, I found that whenever I give the firstfruits of my day to the Lord, I walk away reminded of who God is, who I am, and what my purpose is. 

Instead of waking up anxious, I am reminded that I have a good Father who will provide all that I need. Instead of waking up envious, I am reminded that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord and is a gift of grace. Instead of waking up afraid, I am reminded that the Lord is a just God who is gracious, merciful, and abounding in steadfast love.

Watering the soil for me looks like spending intentional quiet time with the Lord. I give myself way more time than I need so I don’t feel rushed to finish my Bible reading or prayers. A verse that I come back to again and again is Psalm 84:10 where it says,

“For a day in your courts is better

    than a thousand elsewhere.

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God

    than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

This verse reminds me that being with the Lord is better than sleep itself. It is better than being on social media, better than watching TV, better than being in my art studio, better than being a thousand elsewhere. It is a short and powerful verse.

Prune whatever is hindering you from bearing fruit

When we started growing tomatoes, we began pruning branches that weren’t producing fruit so that the plant would have energy to produce more fruit elsewhere. In the same way, we are also called to prune away whatever is hindering us from bearing fruit. 

In Hebrews 12, we read, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” 

To prune our life is to take an honest look at our “weights” and “sins” that are hindering us from growing and bearing fruit. An easy way I’ve spotted this in my own life is by analyzing any strong emotions I might feel – anger, excitement, worry, fear. They all tell a story of what we care deeply about. It is not a surprise then that the pruning process can often be a painful one as we are stripped free of things that we have grown accustomed to. But the Lord beckons us, not to look to these things for meaning or purpose, but to fix our gaze on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The Lord, not only put us in this race, but He also gives us the strength and perseverance to finish it.

Abide in Christ

In John 15 Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Ultimately, we bear the most fruit when we abide in Christ. The text even goes as far as to say that if we’re not abiding in Christ, we can do nothing. To abide in Christ is to remain in Christ. If we want to create healthy soil where we are willing and ready to say “yes” to God, we need to put our faith and our trust in Jesus.

Practically speaking, this means that we cannot rely on our own strength to accomplish God’s purposes. In a world that values independence and being self made, we take pride in completing work without help from anyone else. But Jesus’s words in John 14:6 were clear when he said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Because of our sin, all of our efforts fall short of the glory of God, but the good news is that God sent us Jesus, the perfect and sinless one, so that he could accomplish everything that we couldn’t. He did it so that he can make us lovely, so that we can have good and healthy soil. How freeing and awesome is this truth! Instead of relying on ourselves, we can rest on Christ’s finished work. 

We till the soil, sow the seeds, and work the ground, not because we have to, but so that we can bear fruit and give glory to our Father in heaven. 


Patsy Shaw is a painter and a printmaker based outside of Philadelphia, PA. When she is not working her day job, you can find her in her home studio painting away for God’s glory. Patsy creates art that is rooted in Biblical truth so Christians around the world can enjoy beautiful artwork that leads to joy in God.

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment