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  • Writer's pictureJen Stone-Sexton

Seeds & Soil - Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in Your Life

Updated: Apr 21

What is your greatest challenge in growing into who God created you to be? Read the blog to learn why soil matters for the seed and how the Fruit of the Spirit is cultivated in your life.



But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23


Before planting anything, a farmer or gardener tends to the quality of the soil. The quality of the soil - combined with the seeds as well as adequate sunlight and water - determine the health of the plant and the harvest of the crop. Just as soil makes all the difference with plants, so the soil of our heart makes all the difference in our lives.


Let's examine what soil does and why it is so important for plant health and growth:


  • Soils provide water, air, nutrients, and mechanical support for plants.


  • Provides plants a foothold for their roots.


  • Holds the necessary nutrients for plants to grow.


  • Filters the rainwater and regulates the discharge of excess rainwater, preventing flooding.


  • Buffers against pollutants, thus protecting groundwater quality.


  • Is capable of storing large amounts of organic carbon.


  • Provides air for gaseous exchange between roots and atmosphere.


  • Protects plants from erosion and any other destructive physical, biological & chemical activity.


  • Holds water (moisture) and maintains adequate aeration.


  • Soil is a natural resource and a living ecosystem (the "living skin of the earth").


  • Soils sustain all life on earth, filtering and breaking down natural and man-made toxins.


  • Soils provide water, nutrients, and support, along with oxygen for the plant's root growth.


  • Soils have four main components: mineral particles (sand, silt, and clay), organic matter, water, and air.


  • There are many different types of soil and you may have several types even in a small yard.


  • Healthy soils grow healthy plants that keep people healthy.


  • Soils sustain all life on Earth and might be the most important, neglected, and least understood resource in the landscape. [1]



Just as soil consists of four main components, so we also consist of components which make up the whole. Our components are body, spirit,, and soul (our mind, will, and emotions). While salvation is instantaneous (the faith to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world and decision to invite Him into your heart and life), discipleship is a lifelong process of growing in our relationship with God. Once Jesus is our Savior, He also wants to be our Lord. Meaning, surrendering our body, spirit, and soul to Him to mold and grow.


The soil of our heart determines the quality and health of our relationships and our lives. If the soil is rich with God's love, grace, humility, forgiveness, kindness, compassion and gratitude by being rooted and grounded in Him (Ephesians 3:16-19), then healthy fruit will be the result. However, if the soil of our heart is hardened with bitterness, anger, resentment, entitlement, unforgiveness, blame and selfishness by being rooted and grounded in our fallen human nature (Ephesians 4:17-32), then unhealthy fruit will be the result.


In the parable of the farmer planting seeds, Jesus talked about seeds and soil in Matthew 13:1-23.


In warning about false prophets, Jesus uses the analogy of how the quality of the tree affects the quality of the fruit and the principle also applies in general:


Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. (Matthew 7:16-20 - NLT)



But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23 - NLT) In John 15:1-5 Jesus Christ gives us the key to producing the fruit of the Spirit “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-5 - NLT)


Jesus didn't say, "For apart from me you can do some things." or "For apart from me you can do all things." He said, "For apart from me, you can do nothing." I cannot find anywhere in God’s Word where it says that I can produce the fruit of the Spirit in my own strength, by sheer determination or by my own will power. The fruit of the Spirit is a result of being totally connected to God through Jesus Christ … the Vine. It is a result of a life-walk with God; a heart open and receptive to His Word; a mind obedient to and a life surrendered to Him and His will.


Staying united with - living in - Jesus Christ is the key to producing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.



The qualities of the Fruit of the Spirit are good and desirable qualities. We admire and love people who exhibit such qualities and tend to avoid people who display the opposite. So, if these character traits - aspects of governing our thoughts, emotions, actions, perceptions, decisions and relationships and attributes of godliness are so desirable - then why are they so difficult to develop in our lives?


I believe the answer is found in surrender. The fruit of the Spirit is contrary to our sinful human nature. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He not only died for my sins, and your sins, and the sins of all the world – past, present and future - through His death and resurrection, when we believe in Him by faith, we are free from sin! We are no longer slaves to sin. A slave doesn't have a choice. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have the freedom to choose to live a life in obedience to God and no longer to sin. I'm not saying we won't sin. As long as we are clothed in flesh and living in this world, we will miss the mark. But through Jesus Christ we now have a choice.


We are surrendered to something at all times … we are either choosing to surrender to our human desires or to the Holy Spirit. It is a moment-by-moment, day-by-day choice. When we are surrendered to the Holy Spirit then the soil of our heart is changed and the Fruit of the Spirit is evident in our lives.


You are surrendered to something at all times …

what are you surrendered to?


Stay united with me, as I will with you – for just as the branch

can’t put forth fruit by itself apart from the vine,

so you can’t bear fruit apart from me.” - John 15:4


I used to read this passage and think, “Okay, this is what I have to do.” But what I am learning is that being is the doing. If my desire is for The Lord, if I want to please Him above all else, if I delight in His Word and long for His presence, then the soil of my heart will begin to change, and as a result, my life will change.


Jesus Christ transforms us from the inside out.


I had it all backward; I kept trying to “do” all the “right” things without being united, staying connected … so that sweet peace and presence of The Lord eluded me. The strength that comes from our joy in Him was something that I read in Scripture that sounded nice … but I wasn’t experiencing it in my life. I was trying to change from the outside in, instead of being with the Lord, spending time in His Word, basking in His presence and in prayer … where change occurs from the inside out … because apart from Him I can do nothing.


Then some profound changes took place in my heart, and I began to understand what it means to be satisfied in and with and by The Lord Jesus Christ … and The Lord alone. I began to experience His presence in my life in ways I didn’t know were possible. I began to hunger and thirst for His Word.


Just as our body tends to crave the kind of food we nourish it with, so our hearts and minds tend to crave what we focus on. In other words, the more time spent reading God's Word the more we tend to desire God's Word. Time spent in prayer tends to produce a desire to pray more often. The more of God's presence we truly experience, the more His presence is longed for and cherished. The greater the desire to please God, the less is my desire to please myself. This is an example of staying united with, abiding in, and dwelling with, Jesus Christ. Just as any other relationship we invest in with someone we love.




Questions for Reflection:

What is the soil of your heart today? What Fruit of the Spirit would you like to see more of in your life? In what ways can you rearrange your priorities so that you can invest more time in growing in your relationship with God? What do you need to surrender?


Prayer: Thank you, God, that You promise to never leave me or abandon me. You are faithful. Yet, I confess, that sometimes I am not. Sometimes I want what I want instead of surrendering everything to You. Please help me abide in You. Please help me let go of the past and receive your amazing love into my heart. Change the soil of my heart, Lord. Give me the faith and courage to trust You fully and surrender to You, so my life and the fruit that results is a reflection of You.


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Editor's Note:

This devotional blog is by Jen Stone-Sexton, Christian Life Coach, Author, Speaker, Teacher and Founder. Jen has openings for a select number of new clients. Learn more about Jen and what Freedom to Flourish Life Coaching has to offer you.


Jennifer C. Stone-Sexton © 2024 Freedom to Flourish, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

All graphics created by Jen Stone-Sexton © 2024 Freedom to Flourish, LLC.

 

Credits:


All Scripture references and quotations used with permission:

Holy Bible, New Living Translation (NLT), Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Holy Bible, Complete Jewish Bible (CJB), Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern, Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., Clarksville, Maryland USA & Jerusalem, Israel


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