Day after day our heart experiences dozens and hundreds of interactions: with others, with news stories, with our thoughts, or avoiding our thoughts.
All these interactions evoke a response from us, and take root for better or worse within our hearts. Think of our hearts as fields where there is continuously something happening. The responses those interactions produce is determined by whether we are our own farmer or Jesus is the cultivator of our heart, the farmer of our soul. We spend time thinking about all kinds of things, or avoiding thinking, filling our time separating ourselves from things we think will cause pain, heartache, irritation.
We were meant to be integrated, in communion with God. Instead we find that pain and evil break through moment by moment into our soul, leaving us at the mercy of everything that happens. Jesus brings us back into communion with God, and helps restore the walls of our heart, shielding us from pain and evil. That only happens if we continually walk with Jesus. (adapted from Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart)
Restoration of our heart’s communion with God requires the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit. Like a field cultivator (a tool used in farming)--we open the field of our heart to Jesus, since only he can prepare a proper seedbed for the Holy Spirit to be planted into--the daily set of experiences, so that our thoughts, reactions--the fruit of those interactions, are fruit of the Holy Spirit, and not gnarly, malformed, rotten fruit. We want thriving, Jesus-modeled responses (fruit), and not prickly, cutting, destructive weeds that stick to others. This requires daily vigilance--to ensure the vines of jealousy, doubt, & selfishness don’t cut off the life of our relationships. Jesus as cultivator ensures weeds are killed, and that there is room for water, nutrients--creating space to breathe.
- What a heart cultivated daily, habitually obedient to Jesus looks like.
- Psalm 1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
- What our hearts look like without Jesus turning over, refreshing the soil, when we try to be our own cultivator and adhere to rules; the ground is hard, and the seeds stay on the top of the soil, and get washed away, never producing healthy plants & fruit.
- Jeremiah 6:16 This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
- Psalm 14:2-3 The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. 3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
- The process of Jesus daily cultivating our heart.
- Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
- Psalm 16:8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
- Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
- 1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
- John 7:17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
- Deuteronomy 4:9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
- Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
- Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
- What it looks like when our heart is cultivated by Jesus.
- 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
- John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
- John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
- Luke 10:25-29 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”