Seeds and Sparks

I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness,
    and you will harvest a crop of love.
Plow up the hard ground of your hearts,
    for now is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come
    and shower righteousness upon you.’
Hosea 10:12 NLT

I keep hearing God say: “Seeds of righteousness.” I believe that just like with regular seeds, some spiritual seeds have seasons. But I’m seeing that we should be planting righteousness in every season. Not self-righteousness, but actual righteousness.

I believe this is a word for many right now. Has the Lord been talking to you about seeds or righteousness lately? 

While seeds of righteousness are at the forefront, the Lord has also been talking to me about growth cycles in different areas of my life. In some areas of our spiritual walk, we plant seeds once, and then they grow our whole life, like a tree. But I’m realizing that in most areas, we plant new seeds in each season, like crops. Sure, some of what we planted in past years comes back—it’s either perennial or reseeds itself—but we cannot survive on last season’s harvest. We have to plant again. 

Some areas of our lives are in the middle of a growing season, while other areas of our lives we are preparing the soil for sowing new seeds. In some areas, harvest has finished but it isn’t time to plant again yet. At times, I can get so focused on getting to the harvest that I become discouraged when none of my crops are to that point yet. I too often forget that growing seeds takes time.

In my life, some seeds had been underground, harvest just finished in another crop, and I had not been able to see anything above ground until just recently. If you feel that way, this is for you as well as for me. I heard God whisper, “Take heart and trust that the seeds you planted are doing what they were created to do under the ground. Water them. And begin planning with me to expand your garden. We have something new to plant.”

 I recently saw a vision of my current ministry as this small backyard garden. The seeds have been planted, and there is a small harvest. But I see that in this season I am supposed to expand my backyard garden. My mom has a vegetable garden in her back yard. It started small, but every few years, she clears a little larger space and expands it. This is the picture of the next season for me. I can also see that there will come a season where my ministry will go from a backyard garden to a new plot of land with an entire hillside full of growing plants. But we aren’t there yet.

As I was pondering this metaphor with the seeds, I saw another picture. I saw a spark. Each of us has a spark inside—the Holy Spirit. My kids came home from VBS this week excitedly sharing this experiment they were shown. Someone soaked a dollar bill in a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water and then lit it on fire. The fire burns off the liquid and then goes out, leaving the dollar bill unburned. For the kids, this visual aid represented how God protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, but as the picture popped into my mind, I was thinking about what the fire of God falling on our lives should look like. Does it burn quickly and then go out leaving us unchanged? Or do we hold that spark in a lantern, keeping it enclosed so it cannot spread?

In the right conditions, a small spark can set a whole forest on fire. What space are you giving your fire to grow? Do you have a candle, a lantern, a fireplace, a fire pit, a large furnace, or something greater? The thing about the fire of God’s Spirit is that it burns away sin and selfish desires and leaves behind righteousness, and many of us have a part of our lives that we aren’t willing to place on the altar to be refined. God allows process. And He respects our “No” if we aren’t ready. But if we want to be more than the candle or the lantern, we need to let our whole lives be consumed so we, in turn, can spread the fire to others. 

Just like we need to plant seeds of righteousness,  if we want our lives to carry and spread His fire, we need to let Him burn away everything not of Him to reveal who we are with the Righteousness of Christ.

So here are the questions I’m asking myself—feel free to answer them as well:

  • What season are your seeds and plants in? 
  • Are you planting seeds of righteousness? 
  • How large is your garden? Is it expanding? 
  • What are you doing with your spark? How large has your fire grown? 
  • What parts of your life are holding you back from allowing God’s Holy Spirit to refine into righteousness?

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