“Teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
The New Year’s coming causes most of us to take an inventory of sorts . . . where we are, where we’ve been, where we want to go. Often, the Lord gives me some insight into the coming year, and this year I believe He’s told me is going to be the Year of Change. I’m excited about that, having just experienced really the most difficult, disheartening, discouraging year of my life–and I don’t say that lightly. There have been a few high points– a *very few* high points– but mostly, it has been a year of trial and tribulation. Reading through my new devotional a few days ago, I was very encouraged to be reminded that storms bring RAIN, and rain is necessary to growth! So I’m praying that this year’s deluges and storms have broken up ground that was hardened and dry, and as the sun comes out there will be a harvest of all the seeds that had been planted before the rain came. Jeremiah 4:3 exhorts us to “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.” Since fallow isn’t a word we hear very often, I thought some exposition might be nice . . .
To break up the fallow ground, is to break up your hearts, to prepare your minds to bring forth fruit unto God. The mind of man is often compared to the ground in the Bible. The Word of God is the seed sown there, the fruit representing the actions and emotions of those who receive it. To break up the fallow ground therefore, is to bring the mind into such a state that it is fitted to receive the Word of God. Sometimes your hearts get matted down, hard and dry, until there is no such thing as getting fruit from them until they are broken up, and mellowed down, and fitted to the Word. It is this softening of the heart, so as to make it feel the truth, which the prophet calls ‘break up your fallow ground.’ ~ Charles Finney
“Matted down . . . hard and dry . . . ” yup. Unfortunately, I’d say that’s a pretty good description of how my heart has become in too many ways. Disappointment has a tendency to head you that direction, and a few hard knocks of offense, rejection and betrayal can seal the deal. I’m so grateful that God sends rain to dry ground. I’m so glad He doesn’t leave us in the hardness of our hearts, locked behind walls, dying off alone.
I drove past a church sign this afternoon that I thought was really great. It said, “New Year, New Hopes, New Choices.” That’s really what change *requires*, isn’t it? Someone has said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing while hoping for a different result. So often we get into the habit of exactly that . . . complaining about our lives, unhappy in them, but doing nothing differently in order to CHANGE them. And so this year, I’m embracing change! I’m determined to listen to the Lord, to hear His voice and to follow His lead. I am going to make the choices necessary to see change in my life. It is going to require going to bed earlier, praying more, waking earlier, drinking more water, working harder at organizing my home, eating fewer snacks, being more faithful in training my children, being willing to open my home and heart to people, and I’m sure a dozen other risks and disciplines I’ve yet to realize.
It’s all good. Bring on the change, Lord!