As the new year is freshly upon us, no doubt there will be many resolutions made as 2017 gets under way. The changing of dates on the calendar is a great time to look at where we’ve been over the last year and then look at where we wish to go over the next. Resolutions get made, some are kept, while others are broken. We put away our Christmas decorations, hopefully (I always seem to take my outdoor Christmas lights down around April) and our lives settle back into rhythm as the specialness of Christmas and New Year’s fades into the renewed duties of January and day to day life.
I’ve never been one to make resolutions at New Year’s, yet, this year I find myself thinking differently. From the Old Testament we hear the words of Hosea say:
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.
I know that this is precisely the time of year when much ground is fallow. Unless you’re growing winter wheat or planting onions or potatoes; also I’m not getting into crop rotation and letting fields rest fallow for a period of time (I’m no expert), the fact of the matter is that fallow fields do not produce any fruit. Perhaps though, this is the perfect time of year for us to look at the fruit, or lack thereof, that we produce in our lives. Hosea equates breaking fallow ground with seeking the Lord, in order that we may sow righteousness in our lives and so that God may rain righteousness upon us after sowing, and after all is accomplished, that we may reap love in return.
Notice the first step, breaking fallow ground so we may seek the Lord. So often it seems, there are areas of our lives that we do not think, want, or dare to let the Lord come into. Perhaps deep down, we are ashamed of something (justifiably or not) and don’t want to face God. Or perhaps we believe that the way we handle ourselves in some area of our lives is just A-OK and we don’t really need God’s input there. Or perhaps we are comfortable with the way we live, and even though we might realize there could be positive changes made, that comfort is difficult to give up…even to God. Rest assured, we all have fallow fields in some aspects our lives…fallow fields where there are no fruits of our Lord’s Spirit being produced; because of our own neglect, fear, indifference, comfort, pride, or cautiousness.
What are the fallow fields of your life? Where are the areas that you have not let Christ into for one reason or another? God is looking to do great things with you! It is through us that God through Christ and the Spirit does work in the world, but if we do not allow God into our lives or into all parts of our lives we limit what God can do in or world and what God can do for us. So take stock and see where you trust in your own power and understanding instead of God’s and break that fallow ground and seek God in all things. And in so doing, you may begin to sow righteousness in all parts of your life. God will see to it that the harvest yields good fruit: patience, love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
May all of you have a blessed New Year, and may God’s Holy Spirit guide you in breaking new ground for the Kingdom in 2017!