Heart Preparation for the Harvest
I don't think I've ever experienced a season like the one we are presently going through. Our God is working and moving in unprecedented ways. How important for us to know the time and season we find ourselves in today. We want to cooperate, move, and flow with ALL that He is doing!
Recently, I kept seeing a picture of a shovel "turning over the soil" in a garden. I googled the phrase "turn over the soil" and found the following description:
As you turn over the soil, remove any large stones, along with any roots or debris you encounter. You may need to make more than one pass to break up very compacted soils.
This is exactly a picture of what I see going on around me everywhere. Whether it is Hollywood, media, government, church, or any other sector of society, it seems that God is "turning over the soil" right now to expose what has been hidden. He is removing the stones, roots, and debris that would keep His work from being fully effective.
Exposure seems like such a harsh word, but we need to see this all through the lens of God's redemptive heart and nature. God's exposure of hidden things is actually an act of His mercy and kindness as it sets us up for encounters with His goodness through forgiveness, redemption, and ultimately restoration unto fruitfulness.
When you are beginning to plant a garden, one of the first steps is to turn over the soil. Without this step you won't see the stones, roots, or debris that lies hidden beneath the soil. This time of removing the hindering rocks and stones is necessary as it precedes the coming season of great fruitfulness. God wants our gardens free of all harmful debris so His seeds can fully take root and produce a harvest of righteousness and fruitfulness that brings Him glory.
If you have been going through a time of sifting and purifying, be encouraged! Though it may be unpleasant at the time, it is unto something. The Holy Spirit is never haphazard as He moves and works in our hearts. He is about the Father's business, preparing the soil of our hearts for the harvest that He wants to give us. Below are some helpful keys to navigate this important season:
Allow Holy Spirit to do His work in your heart. This may sound trite and oversimplified, but if we still have an orphan mindset, we may run from God's purifying work, discipline or correction. Over the past few years, God has been bathing His church with the revelation knowledge that He is a good Father. Our response to His correction will reveal if we really believe it. David wrote Psalm 51 after the prophet Nathan confronted him about his adultery with Bathsheba. David's prayer became, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (vs. 10) Then later the hopeful words, "....a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise." (vs. 17) Offer your heart to Him as an act of worship and trust His love for you in the purifying process.
Don't move into condemnation. As God turns over the soil of our hearts, we may be dismayed and discouraged at what we see. God is not exposing things to condemn us, but again, to prepare us for a harvest and season of fruitfulness. God is giving us grace and time to deal with the impurities He finds. When the enemy comes at us to condemn, it is good to diffuse his lies by quickly repenting even though his lies will surely only have a twisted hint of truth. The enemy hates it when we repent! But, then don't dwell in that place of introspection. Declare the truth "...there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus....". If you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord then your nature is no longer that of a sinner. You are a saint, and a joint heir with Jesus Christ.
Walk in covenant relationship with others. I didn't grow up on a farm, but my grandparents were farmers and I spent time with them on their farm. I remember that it takes more than one set of hands to prepare and plant a garden, and it takes many hands to bring in the harvest. I see God drawing people, churches, cities, and even nations together to bring in the coming great end-time harvest. Though there has been quite a large movement of people pulling away from church and covenant relationships in the past decade, I see God showing Himself strong as the great connector in the days to come. A key to the world believing the gospel of the kingdom is God's people coming together as one. This was Jesus' heartfelt prayer in John 17:22-23, "I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one--I in them and you in me--so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
Expect a new wineskin. Before 2017 rolled in, the Lord began speaking Isaiah 43:18-19 to me over and over, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." God especially highlighted the phrase, "Do you not perceive it?" The obvious implication is that it's possible to not perceive it. Our expectation will greatly influence how and what we see. God speaks to all of us, but He uses prophets and prophetic ministry to prepare the Body of Christ so that we can "perceive" what He is doing. Amos 3:7 says, "Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets." We are in an exciting season of kingdom advancement. It is a time to be watchful, awake, and full of expectation to perceive what God is doing around us.
So many believers are holding onto promises in this season and waiting to experience the things God has promised. Maybe we have all been a bit surprised at the twists and turns on the road to our promises including the necessary purification and alignment of our hearts with His. I'm thankful that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways. He has proven Himself faithful to us over and over, and He will be faithful in this season, too.
Thank you God that You are the faithful shepherd of our hearts. We humbly bow to your ways and process and ask that you create in us pure hearts for the glory of your name.