Posted by: chroniclesofgrace | February 5, 2011

It all starts with the soil…

I recently started reading two more books from my 2011 Book List(see sidebar).  The first one is Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden.  I love Mrs. Cunninham’s writing style.  I can just picture her giving me a tour of her beautiful garden and sharing the wisdom she’s gained from years of Organic gardening.  I loved reading about what plants help spur each other on to grow and what plants keep beneficial insects near my vegetables. 

But I’ve got to be honest…initially, I skipped over all the parts about the soil.  I mean, who wants to read about dirt?  I wanted to read about the plants – choosing the plants, planting the plants, where the plants would go, taking care of the plants, harvesting the plants.  You know, the exciting stuff! The stuff you can actually see and eat!  But the soil must be important because every gardening book I’ve ever picked up has at least one chapter(and it’s usually pretty long) about the soil. 

In the meantime, I also started another book from my 2011 Book List: Conversation Peace: Improving Your Relationships One Word at a Time.  I am also enjoying Mary Kassian’s straightforward writing-style and her illustrations really make me think.  But I am going to be honest…initially,  I wanted to skip over the early parts of the book that talk about the heart.  I wanted to read about making conversation, how to keep myself from saying what I shouldn’t , how to remember more often to say the things I should and how all of this was going to improve all my relationships.  You know, the exciting stuff!  The stuff you see; the stuff other people see!  But the heart must be pretty important since every single Biblical counseling book on any subject always starts there. 

Hmm…seeing a trend?  I did too!  I don’t think it was an accident that I began reading both these books at the same time.  When I got to Chapter 7 in the Conversation Peace book titled “Examine the Soil” I knew that God was really trying to tell me something!!!

Here’s a quote from that chapter:

“Our words and behavior are like the leaves and fruit of a plant.  They are above the surface and can be observed. Our attitudes and thoughts are hidden like the root of a plant.  Some roots of bad speech are envy, pride, malice, arrrogance, bitterness and lack of self-control.  But..there is a third factor that affects the plant – and it is the most important factor: the soil. The soil represents our deepest beliefs and values.  Soil conditions determine what kinds of plants will grow and whether or not those plants will be healthy. The soil creates an environment in the heart in which either goodness or evil will flourish. The soil is the foundation – the ground motivator – of everything we say and do.”

Just as I had no desire to test my backyard soil, I can also remail unaware of the fertility of my heart unless I ask God through the Holy Spirit to search and test me.  I get distracted by other priorities; compared to certain others my heart looks pretty good and I’m not willing to do the work of checking my heart.  Oh, I can try to change my negative words and behavior, but long term change will not happen unless I examine myself for the false beliefs and values deep in the soil of my heart.  Then once I’ve realized the beliefs and values that are not in line with God’s Word, I need to turn over that soil(repent) and replace them with His life-giving truths.  This takes time and doesn’t happen overnight – just like it won’t happen overnight to turn my rock filled, clay soil in the backyard into lush life-giving soil for my garden. 

“Excellence in our speech is only possiblie through excellence in the soil of our hearts.  Ask God to help you see and clean the deceit from your heart.  Be committed – for the long haul – to work at change.  Aim for excellence! And as the soil improves, good thoughts and attitudes will take root and sprout into healthy, beautiful, fruitful words.”

I will be sharing more in the coming weeks about what I’m finding and the changes I am making – both in the soil of my own heart AND the soil in my yard.  Hoping for a fruitful harvest in both areas:)



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