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"And the Lord make you to increase and above in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you" (1 Thess. 3:12).

Have you discovered that God's love grows in your heart when you nurture and cultivate it in your life? But it doesn't just happen; it takes some effort on your part. Developing the love of God in your heart is just like nurturing and growing a garden. When you have a garden, you have to take care of the tender little plants that are just starting to grow and sprout.

For example, did you ever just plant a tomato seedling in the ground and then go off and leave it? No, if you did, it would wilt and die. If tender little plants are going to grow properly so they can produce a harvest, they must be cared for and cultivated.

The fruit of God's love in us works the same way. The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts, but it has to be cared for, cultivated, and nurtured. There are certain things we can do to help our love grow.

For example, we've got to water the love in our hearts by spending time in God's Word and in prayer. Then we've got to pull out the weeds of selfishness and self-centeredness so our love can be free to develop. And we've got to nurture and take care of that love by putting others before ourselves.

You and I have a responsibility if we are going to grow and increase in God's love! For example, when I was a child, my grandpa had a garden in his yard. When it rained, the sun would bake that north central Texas black soil until it had a hard crust on it. My grandpa would go up and down those rows of plants with his hoe loosening the soil around the plants so the hardened clay wouldn't choke the life out of the plants.

If the surface of the soil was hard, then when it rained, the moisture would just run off that hard surface. But if the soil was broken up so it wasn't hard, the rain would soak into the ground so the plants could grow.

Many of us are like that hardened soil. Our hearts have gotten hard! But if we want the love of God in us to produce a harvest, then we must make sure the ground of our heart is continually soft, not hard, so the love of God can grow unhindered. We must also make sure that there are no weeds that will sap the life from God's love in our hearts.

To grow in the love of God in our lives, we need to continually cultivate the ground of our hearts to make sure our hearts don't get hard. It is so easy to get hard-hearted in life and allow our love to dry up and be choked out by the cares of this life. It's so easy to just go around trying to walk in faith and quoting faith scriptures, but without any love accompanying our faith because our hearts have gotten hard.

So cultivate the love of God in your life! Soften the ground of your heart by saturating your thinking with God's love. Every time someone wrongs you, instead of thinking on that person's bad qualities, choose to think on the good.

Replace negative thoughts by quoting the Word. And as you diligently weed negative thoughts and attitudes out of your heart, you'll create a garden in your heart that only produces a harvest of God's blessing!

Source: From a Pastor's Heart by Kenneth E. Hagin, Jr.
Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publications

Author Biography

Kenneth W. Hagin
Web site: Kenneth Hagin Ministries
Kenneth W. Hagin, President of Kenneth Hagin Ministries and pastor of RHEMA Bible Church, ministers around the world. Known for calling the Body of Christ to steadfast faith, he seizes every ministry opportunity to impart an attitude of “I cannot be defeated, and I will not quit.”

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