There is a great deal of instruction, as well as encouragement, in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. For our purpose in this article, we will only focus on verses 7 – 10. Read it carefully and I will attempt to explain each phrase. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that he will also reap. For the one who sows to his 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.”
The Laws of Sowing & Reaping Paul gives us a universal example of sowing and reaping. Every generation must sow and reap for its food supply, therefore, any generation of the Church, within any culture of the world, can easily understand his metaphor.
For us who live in the modern, Western world where we spend more time in drive-thru windows than gardens, we may not experience first-hand the concepts of sowing and reaping like those before us, so we would do well to remember three important, universal laws about sowing and reaping.
#1. You Reap Later Than You Sow
So often when we sin, we think we have avoided the consequences because we do not see the immediate effects of our actions. However, when you understand the universal laws of sowing and reaping, then we know that eventually, our sin will catch up with us.
The same is true with acts of righteousness, and this is ultimately what Paul is instructing us in. It can be discouraging when you try to live right, and yet it does not seem to pay off. If you are someone that you are wondering when your faithfulness will be rewarded, then this portion of Scripture should give you great hope and encouragement. Continue to sow seeds of righteousness, because you always reap later than when you sow!
#2. You Reap More Than You Sow
God put the power of life into seeds and they know how to multiply and produce more of themselves! It is interesting that Paul describes the act of sowing and reaping to illustrate the actions and decisions we make. Not only do we reap later than when we sow, we always reap more than what we sow!
Are you being faithful to sow acts of righteousness? Then you will reap a far greater harvest than what you are currently doing for the Lord!
#3. You Reap Exactly What You Sow
This should cause us to live life carefully. Not only do we reap later and more than we sow, but the universal laws of sowing and reaping insist that we reap exactly what we sow! You cannot sow potatoes and reap tomatoes! Neither can you sow sin and reap righteousness.
I heard a pastor say once that many people sow the wrong things in life and later pray for crop failure! As funny as that may be, there is no such thing as crop failure in the believer’s life. Why? Because Paul is going to remind us of two crucial factors…
Do Not Be Deceived
Paul warns that we can deceive ourselves. I know many Christians who have convinced themselves that they are okay with the Lord. However, if they compared their lives with Scripture, they would quickly see that they need repentance.
Paul warns the Corinthians Church in 1 Corinthians 6:9, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality.” Those are stinging words to our culture, but they are truth, and to ignore it is to deceive yourself and to mock God.
God is not Mocked
The believer is very foolish who thinks God will not hold us accountable for the life we live. The other day, I learned that someone failed in their marriage and made a very wrong decision that ruined their family. A few days later in our staff meeting at the Church, I almost shared what I had learned. But the Holy Spirit convicted me on the spot and asked me, “What benefit is it to share this information with anyone else? If you share this, you are gossiping!”
The gentle rebuke by the Holy Spirit caused me to hold my tongue and not say anything. Thankfully, God moved in the couple’s life and they are now trying to restore the damage. What good would it have caused me to say anything? Now they can rebuild with God’s help and through His grace, without more people knowing of their sin.
Had I flippantly shared what I knew, I would have been sowing seeds of the flesh> I would have opened the door to gossip and slander. It should be a fearful thing to a Christ follower to disobey God’s commands. Paul sternly tells us, “God is not mocked.”
Flesh vs. Spirit
Paul says we are going to either sow according to our flesh or the Spirit. It is important for the believer to remember that while our soul has been redeemed, we still live in our bodies that are marred by our nature we inherited from Adam.
This is why Paul says of himself, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15). So, while we are in this life, we war against our flesh. Read Galatians 5:17, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
An old Native American who became a Christian gave this example of the war between the flesh and the Spirit. He said, “I have two dogs living within me. A good dog and an evil dog. They are at odds and always fighting. Do you know which dog wins the fight? The one I feed the most.” What an example! Which do you keep stronger in your own life…your flesh or the Spirit?
Do Not Grow Weary in Doing Good
You can really hear Paul’s heart in this statement. The Apostle knew how discouraging life can be to a Christ follower. He knows the pressures of Satan, the temptations we face from sin and the trials and tests that God sends to authenticate our faith (1 Peter 1:7). These can cause us to grow weary in the Christian life.
I am so thankful for this verse because it tells me that it is okay to admit my weariness. There is not anything unspiritual about becoming weary if you do not stay in your weariness because the Bible gives us great hope!
In Due Season We Will Reap
Remember what we said at the beginning? There are laws to sowing and reaping that are universal. You will reap later than when you sow, you will reap more than what you sow and you will reap exactly what you sow. For those who live for the Lord and are careful that their lives glorify Christ, there is great and hopeful news…in due season, we will reap!
You do not have to worry if God is going to recognize and reward your righteous living. God promises He will. Yes, in due season! I believe this due season refers to the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is where God will, “Repay each person according to his works” (Romans 2:6).
This means we are to live with eternity in view! Someone wonderfully said, “When this life is past, what is done for Christ is all that will last. “Do you live every day with eternity on your mind? Taking the long view, and realizing that there is a day of judgment soon coming help us to live holy and righteous lives. It is foolish to live haphazardly, Paul calls it, “Deceiving yourself” and “Mocking God.”
To give the conclusion of his teaching, Paul says, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially those who are of the household of faith.” I love the practical applications of the Bible. It is so simple, yet so profound when you think about its truths. Follow Paul’s logic
First, do not deceive yourself or mock God by living a fake, carnal, sin-filled life. Second, whether you choose to sow flesh or the Spirit, the choice is yours and the consequences will be yours as well. Third, for those who live right and sow according to the Spirit, there is a great reward coming…a harvest and Paul calls it, “Due Season.” So with these truths in mind and upon our hearts, the natural outcome of our actions should be this… “do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Opportunities will come for you to bless others, give sacrificially, share your knowledge, skills, and expertise. When these opportunities come, understand that you are not “wasting time,” but instead, you are sowing seeds of the Spirit that will reap eternal life.