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Over the last two weeks, this word, cultivate, keeps coming up in books and devotions I’ve been reading and messages I’ve heard. I discerned God wanted to say something to me about cultivating. So, I began by looking up the word, cultivate. The definition of cultivate is, “to prepare land for crops or gardening by breaking up the soil in preparation for the sowing or planting of seed.”

Immediately I thought of the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13. In this parable the sower is the one sowing the seed which is the Word of God. The places the seed falls is a picture of the condition of our hearts. In this parable there are four places the seed falls. The first place is along the path. These are those that hear the Word but don’t understand it so Satan immediately comes and steals the Word. The second place the seed falls is on rocky ground. This is seed sown that is received with joy but when trouble and trials come, because there are no roots they last only a short time and then fall away. The third place the seed is sown is among thorns. This represents those who hear the Word but because of the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this life the Word is choked and is unfruitful. Finally, there is the seed that falls on good soil. This is those who hear and obey the Word of God. They produce a crop yielding up to hundred times what was sown. In this parable, let me suggest, that the good soil is cultivated soil.

Cultivated soil is soil that is broken up! Seed sown on hard ground cannot grow. So, the soil must be cultivated or broken up. So too, God has to break up the hard places in our hearts. What are some of those hard places that need to be broken up? Unforgiveness, bitterness, selfishness, pride, or worldliness to name a few. These hard places must be cultivated, broken up and broken off so the seed sown in our hearts can grow and be fruitful.

In John 15:1-2 Jesus says, “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” So, the Father is the Supreme Gardener. He cultivates, breaks up, breaks off and prunes all the hard, sinful places in our hearts so the seed sown can be fruitful. Jesus said, “It is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to truly be my disciples.” (John 15:8)

As we approach Thanksgiving next week we recall the settlers who came to America and celebrated their first harvest. They had come to a new land, they had worked hard cultivating the soil and sowing seed and now they were celebrating.

So, this Thanksgiving let’s allow God to cultivate and prune our hearts. What is He trying to cultivate in your heart? Is the Master Gardener laboring to cultivate an attitude of gratitude? Let Him prune murmuring and complaining. Is He trying to cultivate humility? Let Him prune pride. Is He working to gain a harvest of Forgiveness? Let Him prune unforgiveness. How about mercy and compassion? Let Him prune a judgmental attitude.

Then there is love!!! Oh how the Father wants to see love! Faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:13) The greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. (Deut. 6:5 & Matt. 22:37) What’s the opposite of love? Hate. Don’t we see a lot of hate in America today?!

Oh, please Father cultivate love and prune hate. Thank you, Father, that this good work You have started in us, You will carry on to completion until the Day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6) This Thanksgiving we surrender our hearts to You once again and ask you to purify and prune our hearts that the fruit of the Spirit may flourish! For it’s in Jesus Name that I pray. AMEN!

Stacie Dorris