Galatians 6:7-10 – Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
This passage from Galatians that the apostle Paul wrote is relevant to the question that was asked. It is also a very important question to ask ourselves as we start a new year.
When I was in school, I will never forget the day that one of our teachers taught us about compound interest. They showed how if we would, starting at a young age, regularly set aside some money and invest it wisely, that we’d be rich when we were older. The law of sowing and reaping is a bit like that.
In Galatians 6:7-10, Paul explains that deception is a very real possibility that God’s people must continually guard against because deception results in the mocking of God. People who are deceived commonly fail to live according to the principle of sowing and reaping that God has woven into creation. One of the basic truths of botany is that if you sow/plant a seed (i.e. a durian or mango), in time you will reap/harvest a crop that corresponds with the seed that was sown (i.e. durians or mangoes, not oranges.).
For a Christian, there are only two seeds that they can sow, namely the sinful passions and desires of the flesh, and the righteous passions and desires of the Spirit. As they continually sow either of these seeds, deception may set in because they do not see any immediate benefit for sowing from the Spirit, or any immediate judgment for sowing from the flesh. But, eventually a harvest of either life or death comes from the seed sown.
The deception that sowing from the flesh does not cause a harvest of sin and death is commonly seen in the lives of people who are astonished when they awaken one day to see that sin has blossomed throughout their life. This is because they were not attentive to the law of sowing and reaping. Examples would include the nagging wives who are astonished when their husbands file for divorce, married men who flirt with other women and seem shocked that they ended up in an adulterous affair, gluttons who are astonished when they their doctor gives them their annual physical, drunkards who are astonished when they are fired from their jobs, etc.
Anyone who evaluates how they sow their time, money, energy, and words each day is confronted with the fact that they are sowing from a source (God or sin) and reaping a harvest (life or death). But this simple fact is often overlooked because of the power of deception, particularly self-deception.
Conversely, those who sow from the Spirit reap a great harvest of eternal life that is both a state of life (life with the eternal God), and a duration of life (without end). Examples would include the people who regularly repent of their sins to God and those they have offended to discover that over time some sins in their life have died altogether, those who regularly learn Scripture to discover that as they need wisdom God brings His Word to their remembrance to guide them, and those who have lovingly served people in the church to discover that in their time of need many friends rally to help them.
Where might there be deception in your life regarding sowing from the flesh instead of the Spirit?
As we start the 2023, let us take some time to reflect how we have sown in 2022. Could things have turned out better if we have sowed more wisely?
The choice is ours and the results are inevitable.
Rev. Timothy Chow