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Fallow ground

Hosea 10:12

Sow yourself in righteousness; 
Reap in mercy; 
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

Sowing speaks of death to self;  "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit." (Jesus John 12:24). The difference between us and the world is that our death of self needs to result in fruit of righteousness and not self-righteousness. This also seems to tie in with 1 Corinthians 33-34, "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not." Following righteousness will lead away from sin. So how do I die to self and bring forth righteousness? John 15:4 has the answer, "Abide in Christ". In short this is a deliberate decision and more than that, it is an action. Rather than participating in "evil communications" I pursue Christ; once again,  not a passive involvement but a deliberate and active interaction with our Lord and Saviour.

"Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. In due season we shall reap, if we faint not", Galatians 6:7-9. Praise the Lord that as we have died to self, and through His death, are buried with Christ, that  through His mercy, we can reap eternal life. And eternal life is not for the future only, but for the here and now ("He that hath the Son hath life",1John 5:12). Today, and every day I can know His love, joy, peace, hope etc that passes all understanding and description.

So, what if I am not experiencing the above? I need to do some "ground-breaking". What is the condition of my heart? Here would be a good time to read the parable of the Sower (Mark 4:14-20). What type of soil is my heart? If my life is not bringing forth "much fruit" then there's a problem. This is always a challenge for me because at the end of the day, out of all that I am involved in and doing, what really is producing the eternal fruit of righteousness, i.e. fruit that will remain and that brings Glory to our Lord (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).

Praise the Lord that He has given us more time and ample opportunity to address and deal with these issues in our lives. I think this is one of the main reasons that I miss the opportunity of breaking bread every week. It is a pity that most fellowships seem to  have moved away from this example that appears to have been set by the Apostles (Acts 20:7).  In my experience, besides been a precious hour of prayer and fellowship around the Lord's table, this  time also served as a focused opportunity to keep an active check on the "fallow ground" in my life while we remembered the wonderful and victorious sacrifice made by our Lord. Together with our personal study and prayer, all the activities in Acts 2:42, help us like Paul to keep our eyes and hearts heaven bound, pressing "toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).

Once again, I need to seek the Lord. James 4:8 sums it up,  "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, double-minded ones."  David's prayer also echoes his desire to seek after God, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10). The really great news here is that (to quote James again), God is waiting for you to draw near as He WANTS to draw near to you. No matter what we've done, He wants an eternal relationship with us. This desire is best illustrated by Jesus's words, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to her, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings" (Mat 23:37  ) which he said knowing of the betrayal and suffering that awaited Him by these self, same people.

Today (if we hear His voice and harden not our hearts, Hebrews 3:15) we can already know His righteousness in our lives. What we need to encourage each other with, is the hope that we have and wait for, i.e. His very soon return to take us home to be with Him . In fact, this hope is evidence of our purity in Christ (1 John 3:3). I need to continue seeking Him daily, until I hear that trumpet sound and am caught up to be with Him in glory; "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelations 22:21).