By Kelley Darnell
“Rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, and relenting of evil.” Joel 2:13
Over the past month or so I’ve been on this journey to find out what “abounding in love” looks like.
I felt the Lord leading me to study this and knew He wanted to go deeper with me. This statement “abound in love” was everywhere at first…in songs, scripture, and in something someone said. I started to reflect and ask myself some questions, like what does this even mean?
One of the verses I found was Joel 2:13.
The first part of this verse stopped me in my tracks!
“Rend you heart.” This sounds really tough, painful, and just plain hard to do.
In the Old Testament, they would rend their garments in mourning for their sin. But the Lord is saying here that rending their garments is not enough. It is only an outward display. The Lord is wanting a heart change! A rendered heart!! Wow!
He wants us to truly mourn our sin, completely broken. He wants bleeding, raw, fresh hearts.
So I said to myself… I can’t do that. That’s too hard, too painful.
I really don’t have that much sin to mourn over, do I??
Yes!! Yes I do!!
Then the spirit reminded me of another verse I studied a few years ago in Jeremiah 4:3.
Here He is reminding his people to “till up the fallow ground of your heart.”
Fallow ground is hard and cold. There is no way to plant fruit in a hard ground. You have to water it, till it, weed it, and prepare it.
I must do the same with my heart.
I must mourn my sin. Clean out my heart, tear down the walls, tear out the weeds, and till it up.
Yes, it does sound painful, but the Lord is waiting and yearning for all of us to do this.
Then He can move into fresh, soft, vulnerable, clean soil…. to plant and grow His fruit.
That’s when we can truly “abound in love.”