First, we need to work hard to get the soil ready for the seed. In some places the soil may be tilled and ready, maybe from last year’s planting. Sowing seed there is easy, not much effort needed.
Now we want to expand the garden, and the only way is to take over rocky and hard ground that needs a whole lot more work to break down the hardness. Difficult and time-consuming, but necessary if we want more fruit.
After the whole garden is ready, we plant and water. Then we have to keep pulling weeds around our plants so they have room to grow and nutrients from the soil to produce fruit. And regular watering, key ingredient to healthy plants, whether by nature or by hand in times of drought.
And then lots and lots of waiting! With a garden, what you plant today doesn’t yield until weeks or months later. Takes time for the little seed to grow into the big and mighty plant. How big and mighty depends on how (if) you tend the garden. Lots of time and attention = great yield; ignore the garden and the weeds take over.
How our faith grows and the abundance (or lack of) fruitful yield depends on how we seed and tend the garden of our souls.
Our spirit is whole from the day we receive Jesus; but our souls, not so much. Our soil can be hard and damaged by past hurts, sin, and just life. God softens and heals it through tears and consistently seeking more of Him through reading the Bible, prayer, obedience, worship, and godly counsel. It’s a painful process, but necessary if we want fruit.
Seeds represent what we allow into or consciously feed our souls. What are we planting – what do we take in and focus on? What do we read, watch, listen to, and surround ourselves with?
Then comes the watering and tending of our souls. Are we intentional about focusing on the Lord, or do we just let the weeds of our flesh and this world have their way? Do we think about whatever is true, noble, right, lovely, admirable, pure, excellent and praiseworthy, or do we complain, gossip, judge, and speak/think negative words? Do we thank God, or complain to Him?
What you choose to plant today and how you tend it determines what you produce tomorrow. What you choose to allow God to heal today will determine how much you produce. Both will determine whether you’re growing in faith (working out your salvation) and living a fruitful life, or not.
What are you planting?
So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13, AMP)