“Sow with a view to righteousness, reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD that He may come and rain righteousness on you.”
An integral part of producing spiritual fruit is letting the Father prepare us. We may typically think of this process in a negative way. Perhaps subconsciously, we associate sanctification solely with God pointing out our sins and flaws, or always falling short.
Because God is our Father, the process of preparation is really intimate, kind, and ultimately for the greatest good we could ever imagine. This week as I was praying into spiritual preparation, I had a vision of a father combing his daughter’s hair. The little girl cried as the comb hit a knot in her hair, yet the father comforted her, smiled, and kept brushing. His movements were ordered, yet intimate. When he was done and put down the comb, she smiled at herself in the mirror and delighted in her smooth, gleaming hair.
We are God’s children and have received a spirit of adoption in God. We ARE His children. Sanctification is not trying to become God’s children, but discovering what being his child means as we delight in relationship with Him. Sanctification is like the father combing his daughter’s hair–sometimes God hits on a knot in our heart that has to be untangled. He whispers words of comfort and says “I’m sorry baby, I know it hurts,” as he pulls the comb of our circumstances, scripture, or a correcting word from a friend through that ugliness. He knows the pain that memory causes. He knows that habit you’ve always relied on. He knows that you don’t want to give that up. But He untangles our heart anyway.
Now imagine that a Father didn’t brush His daughter’s hair, or make her brush her teeth, for a whole year–He just said, “Okay, I know it hurts, and it’s a time consuming discipline–you don’t have to do that anymore.” A year from now, the daughter would have a mouth full of cavities that would cause her a whole lot of pain, right? Her hair would be so unkept everyone would whisper behind her back. Ultimately, she would probably have to chop it off.
God provides us the slight sting of discipline today to avoid the large hurt later.Whether that later hurt is the pain of regret, the frustration of unfruitfulness, or the hurt of allowing someone into our lives we were never supposed to–God prepares us today to protect us tomorrow.
Now imagine a father combing his daughter’s hair, and she keeps running away. He’s chasing her down the hallways, trying to swipe at her hair. As he tries to swipe at it, it hurts more because she’s moving! But she keeps running away.
In the same way, sometimes we run from God when he’s trying to do something good for us. We don’t want to sit in His presence. We don’t want to hear that word. We don’t want to practice praying. We don’t want to rest. So God has to try harder and harder to reach us, and ultimately that can hurt more too.
The very best thing we can do to be spiritually fruitful is to delight in the process of preparation with God. Let Him comb the tangles out of your spirit. Let Him dress you in righteousness every morning. Let Him prepare you for the beautiful life He has in store for you. Like a father walking his son through learning how to tie a tie, let Him teach you His ways with your money, with your relationships, your career, and your family.
As Hosea exhorts the Israelites, “Break up your fallow ground–it is time to seek the Lord.” Fallow ground was worthless ground not previously used for planting. Let God into those empty, barren areas of your life to plant and water and prepare. Then, the rains will come. Then, you will see the fruit, and “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13).
-How does this metaphor apply to your own sanctification process right now? Do you delight in God’s preparation? Do you refuse discipline or run?
-Reflect on your own experience of God’s discipline. What was the outcome of His discipline in you? If you don’t know, feel free to ask Him to show you.
-Take a few minutes to meditate on what being an earthly son or a daughter means to you. How does this apply to your relationship with the Lord? How is your relationship with the Lord different?
-Take a few minutes to pray and ask God what He wants to prepare you for in the next season. Jot down any impressions, feelings, or ideas that come to you.