Breaking Spiritual Ground = Plowing Up Dirt

Spiritual seeds fall on fertile soil. To receive them, you first need to cultivate a space where the seeds can flourish. Begin to develop your spirit in much the same way as a gardener prepares uncultivated land for productivity. Improve the ground for optimal growth by digging or plowing to break up the topsoil so that water, air and fertilizers can penetrate. Further refine the soil by removing the weeds that impede healthy growth.

image courtesy of Bill Longshaw /

Breaking Up the Hardness

When the bright light of the Holy Spirit penetrates your spirit, God’s holiness comes into full view. If you honestly compare yourself with what you see, you will admit that you do not appear as a mirror image of God. You see your faults, impurities and sins exposed. You see some dirt.

Perhaps, in self-defense, you covered up that darkness and hoped it would remain buried and out of sight. Did your spirit grow increasingly hardened toward the Lord while planted firmly in the soil of denial? Exposing your imperfections leaves you feeling soiled, but amending your spirit requires plowing up that dirt.

The prophet, Hosea, urges you to not be satisfied with a light plowing, but to break up your uncultivated spiritual soil again and again into a deep furrow. And, with the season for cultivating at hand, you need to do this immediately. If you don’t prepare the ground for seed so you can plant before the early rain passes, your garden will not be fruitful.

Receiving the seeds of faith and reaping spiritual fruit requires giving up your previous course of conduct and creating a new set of behaviors. The hard work of correction has to first convert your grounding. Don’t let discomfort cause you to abandon the effort. Continue to plow deeply until the Spirit convinces you that the hardened crusts of ungodliness lay open and exposed.

Plowing Up the Weeds

The broken ground reveals the places where seeds of deception blew in and settled while the uncultivated soil slept. Scarce nourishment and neglect did not deter them. They sprang up and thrived in the hardened soil.

A hardened spirit becomes overrun with the thistles and tares of transgression. It takes diligent damage control to keep them from overcoming and destroying the good seed you will sow. Surface plowing will not suffice. Neither will one deep sowing. Your life never becomes so perfect, so pious, that noxious desires cannot spring up anew as weeds in your well-tilled spiritual soil.

Awaiting the Showers of Righteousness

God blesses your plowing. After tilling the land, a gardener prays for rain. After tilling your spiritual ground, seek the coming of righteousness. Misconceptions about righteousness abound. You reap it by grace born of God’s mercy. A grace that pardons, justifies, saves—a grace that rains righteousness upon you. Christ Jesus is your righteousness. He can silence your enemies. By way of his Spirit, he can teach you to be righteous and godly. Watch your righteousness spring up with all of its earthly and eternal rewards. Expect to harvest an abundant crop. You need only to receive God’s gift.

Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. –Hosea 10:12

Breaking up your hardness means dealing with some dirt, but after you have dealt with it, you find it easier to move on. Have you allowed God’s bright light to expose a space where you can grow?


This post originates from Chapter Two, Wild with Potential / A Season for Silence, in my forthcoming book, A Disciplined Walk with God / Grow in Abundance through Each of Your Spiritual Seasons.