Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
Turned Upside-Down
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Last article talked about the 4 soils of the heart. It was a fascinating exploration of a parable Jesus told about how different people receive and interact with God’s Word. The soil of the heart indicates the condition of the soul. Jesus’ parable also strongly suggests reasons why some people set out to follow Jesus, but end up discouraged and even walk away. Life is challenging. And it’s confusing when you feel you are being turned upside-down as a believer in Jesus.

Turned Upside-Down

Some days you literally feel turned upside-down. So much flows against your wishes. You may suffer losses you didn’t expect. Perhaps your dreams have been shattered. You know God is with you, but it seems He is allowing your life soil to be turned and overturned in ways that are almost unbearable. During these turned upside-down times, it’s tempting to lose hope.

Every person I know has ended up somewhere on this spectrum at some point in their life. If you are here now, you are normal. And you are not alone.

Fallen World

You might wonder – is God allowing my life to be ruined? Why is He allowing this to happen to me? What did I do to bring this on? The Bible clearly states God does not tempt His people. (Jas. 1:13) Instead, God is your Helper, Protector, and He sides with you against the fallen conditions we all live in. (Ps. 118:7a; Ps. 32:7; Is. 52:12b)

In the article of the 4 soils, we asked, “Are you willing to let God till your life soil, turn it upside-down, rake it, fertilize and water it, pull weeds out that He says don’t belong?” I hope you answer “yes” to that question. God uses this broken world to do incredible, strategic, beautiful things in His people. When God is tilling your soil, it’s the best thing that could ever happen to you. “Behold, I am making everything new.” (Rev. 21:5)

Remember you live in a fallen world. So it’s not God working against you. In fact, “God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” (Phil. 2:13) He intends to “equip you with everything good for doing His will . . .” (Heb. 13:21) “His divine power has given you everything you need for life and godliness.” (2 Pet. 1:3)

God’s Intentions Toward You

What are God’s intentions toward you? Scripture takes a bold, clear position about God’s intentions regarding your life (and every believer). He is doing something in unseen dimensions to build you up in strength and effectiveness. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6) God is doing a good work in you. Will you let Him carry it on to completion?

God uses the reality of living in a broken world to transform you into exactly the person you’ve always wanted to be. I mean God’s original design of the deeper person, rich with character, full of God’s life. That is the person He is working to transform you into. If you saw who God created you to be, you’d love it. Maybe you don’t know yourself in Christ well enough yet.

As God ploughs the human heart, the tilling process is grueling. His plough slices in and opens the soil of your life – almost like a wound. He exposes, turns over, and breaks down the big clods of hard soil. His goal? He wants to plant His hope into your heart and His character into your spirit. God is for you, not against you. But He must break down any hard areas of your life soil to make it ready to receive something “new.”

A “New” Thing

God wants to do a “new” thing in your heart. He has “new” seeds and young seedlings He wants to gently plant into your turned-over life soil. His loving hands press these “new” plantings gently, yet firmly, into place.

He provides nutrients, living water, and His own sunshine to these “new” planted patterns and habits so they produce an incredible harvest. Even if you are a seasoned believer, let God do something “new.” Why live off yesterday’s successes, last year’s crop, old harvests of character development. Go for the “new” that God wants to do in you. He is invested in your continued growth. Are you?

Oaks For Display

Testimonial - JimWhen God plants His “new” habits and patterns of godliness, He intends to raise you up into a strong, seasoned, mature representative of Jesus Christ. He wants you to be a leader, a discipler, an investor in other people’s hearts. Would you be willing to accept His invitation to help Him work the soil of others’ hearts?

Scripture says, “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” (Is. 61:3) Yes – you can be a strong, tall oak tree in God’s Kingdom. He wants to nurture that stability and strength in your life soil. But this “new” working must be met with receptivity and resolve. And you’re the only one that can provide those two things.

Faith and obedience are required to care for God’s “new” planting. This response back to God gives you ownership in His work. It makes you a partner in things that are most important to Him.

Turned Upside-Down “New” Partnership

When you partner with God in this “new” planting investment (first in you – and then in others), it is exciting to see tiny pokes of green growth pushing up in soft, pliable life soil. “New” leaves form on stems of your “new” growth in Christ. In fact, partnership is a whole “new” way of living. God wants you to live intimately connected to His own heart, to know His deep love and abiding esteem for you.

To put it another way – God thinks you are totally worth His investment in your life. Why? Because He said so. Because you are you – created to do special and valuable works established before you were born. (Eph. 2:10) That’s how much purpose God attaches to your existence. He’s made you timeless by planting eternity in your heart. “From eternity I have been fashioned, from the beginning, from before the world existed.” (Prov. 8:23) Are you ready for “new” partnership with God? An eternal one that starts now and makes an absolute difference in this world?

What Is Your Response?

You can do this. Partner with God. With faith and obedience, you learn how to fall into comfortable team work with God. Hear the psalmist respond to God tilling his life soil when life was turned upside-down. “I calm and quiet my soul.” (Ps. 130:2a) Are you taking this approach? Am I? We must ask ourselves hard questions about our response when God allows upside-down circumstances to frame His glory and your value.

Why not choose partnership with God when life is turned upside-down? Embrace “new” things God is doing in your heart. You will notice increased strength and stability – a planting that can weather life storms and provide shelter for others.

Application Thoughts and Questions

I urge you to click and read (or listen on our web player) the 4 Soils of the Heart. Ask yourself what kind of soil your heart is made of. Use the application questions in that article/episode to contemplate how the content applies to you.

Are you letting God till your life soil? Do you trust Him even when He is breaking your life soil into small pliable grains to be excellent planting soil? What about letting His strong, loving hands press His “new” seeds and young plants into your heart? Are you willing to let Him firmly sculpt His “new” character, habits, and patterns into the furrow He slices open in your heart?

Why not be an oak tree? In these troubled times, we need strength in the hearts of God’s people. What specific things will you do to partner with God as He tills your life soil? Write these down and date them. Pray over them. Become an amazing planting. Jesus wants you to live an Alive and Active Life.

Final Words

Early in this article, I declared that God is your Helper, Protector, and He sides with you against the fallen conditions we all live in. Then I gave you references of Ps. 118:7a; Ps. 32:7; Is. 52:12b. I’m going to close with these words of “new’ hope when your life is turned upside-down! These words help you look at life through the right lens.

Ps. 118:7a – “The Lord is on my side as my helper.”

Ps. 32:7 – You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”

Is. 52:12b – “The Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”

During your seasons of difficulty when your life is turned upside-down, remember – God wants to do a brand “new” thing in your life.


 

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