On your mark, get set, till. Yes, till. It’s gardening season and as every gardener knows the most important first step to a plentiful harvest is the preparation of the soil. Soil preparation will determine whether or not seeds will even penetrate the soil, allowing them to eventually germinate and mature. While everyone enjoys the results of ripened fruits and vegetables, there are no shortcuts in the growing of good food. This is especially true in fruit production. Properly watered, good soil that has been fertilized with nutrients and kept free of weeds is required for a bountiful harvest of fruit. That’s why it is referred to as enjoying the “fruit of our labor.”

Parenting is very much like gardening. Even though we look forward to the production of spiritual fruit in our children’s lives, there are no shortcuts to this process. Good fruit production involves properly prepared soil, as well as the continual planting and nurturing of seed.

In Matthew 13 Jesus uses a parable to teach us about fruit production. He shows us that our hearts are like soil and His Word is like seed. If the soil condition of our hearts is rocky or filled with thorns, then there is little room for seed to take root. Even though the seed may have the appearance of growth by sprouting, it will eventually wither and die. In verse 23 Jesus said, “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Parents, please don’t miss this: teaching your children to walk in obedience to Christ begins with them hearing and receiving His Word. This means that you should consistently promote a teachable mindset prior to communicating biblical truth. In doing so, you will be helping them become more receptive to the seeds of truth you are sowing, similar to preparing the soil to produce a plentiful harvest.

Using Christ-centered comments such as these will promote a teachable spirit in your child:

  • Please listen carefully, because what I am about to say to you is from God’s Word.
  • What I am expecting of you is what God expects from you.
  • God gave us His Word so we will choose to listen and embrace His  instructions.

It can also be beneficial to ask Christ-focused questions such as these to help your child consider his level of teachability:

  • Where do you see God  in this circumstance?
  • Have you considered what God might want to teach you in this situation?
  • Are you open to the ways God might want to use you in this instance?

Parents, in what ways will you begin to use truth to prepare the soil of your child’s heart?

*Photo courtesy of Michaelaw.