Season: 8 Episode: 112
Why does it seem as though some problems are cyclical? Could it be that we are not dealing with the root of what we sow? Shanda breaks down Galatians 6 and talks about the cause and effect of life’s circumstances and how to uproot the things that don’t belong.
“The devil’s tactics are the same since the beginning.”
“You are either a slave to sin or a slave to Christ. There is no neutral ground.”
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Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of Her Faith Inspires podcast where we take cultural issues and align them to biblical truth. It’s almost time to begin our online classes. The HTSTB class is on Thurs, Jan 20th for one night only. It will be 5:30-7:30 PST and we will go over how to study the Bible independently and without having to use a Bible study.
And then we have Baseline Apologetics beginning on Monday, Jan 24th for 6 weeks. This is a brand new class. If you want to get in on these classes, go to shandafulbright.com/courses.
I have a great episode for you today. I have really been thinking about this verse in Galatians:
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
What does it mean, “You reap what you sow?” I recorded an episode on regret, remorse and repentance a couple of weeks ago and I feel like this is a sister episode to that one. We are constantly sowing as we live life. Now, of course this is an idiom. So that effects how we apply it in our lives.
We need to identify it’s important to recognize what we’re sowing and the consequences of what we sow. Can we correct course once we’ve sown things that will yield sin and consequences? We’re going to talk about those things today because this is something I don’t believe we reflect on enough. And if we’re sowing to the flesh, we will have regret and remorse.
So today we’re going to evaluate this verse by asking:
- What does it mean to reap what you sow?
- How do we sow to the flesh and to the spirit because this verse identifies sowing to both.
- What do we do if we see the weeds of what we’ve sown overgrowing in our lives?
What does it mean to reap what we sow?
First, let’s take a look at this verse in its full context. We’ll read from verses 7-10:
7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 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. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Right away we notice that Paul says, “Do not be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that he will also reap.”
This is very telling because a lot of times we deceive ourselves by assuming there is no consequences to what we’ve sown because we don’t see the consequences right away. Now remember, Paul is using everyday language here, and he’s using planting as an example. When someone plants a seed, they don’t see the evidence of what they’ve planted right away. They dig a hole, plant the seed and give it time, water and things it needs in order to grow.
By the time we see the shoot come out of the ground, the plant has already taken root.
What does that mean? It means things in our lives often take root before we notice the growth of what we’re sowing.
To sow means we plant. It’s intentional. Farmers who sow know what they’re sowing. They know exactly what they’re doing. In order for things to grow, they need nutrients. It’s the same as we sow in our relationships, our homes, our health, our financial stability. It’s the principle of cause and effect.
We sow by our thoughts, actions and attitudes. And notice here that it’s always for a future reaping. There may be some time that passes before you see the results, but the crop is inevitable. This is why God cannot be mocked. When we don’t follow His commands, we we will end up reaping consequences of disobedience. What we must remember is that these consequences are not punishment from God. They are natural consequences of not following God’s commands. Just like seeds will naturally yield the fruit in conjunction with what was planted. It is what will inevitably take place whether we believe it or not.
When you think about it, this also speaks to immediate gratification. Paul is telling us once again to consider the future consequences.
So the first two points I want to pull out here is the idea of not being deceived by our actions. They will have reap a result. And secondly, consider the future outcome because there will be one.
How do we sow to the flesh and the spirit since this verse speaks to sowing to both?
First, understand that the principle of reaping and sowing is not in every situation. Illness, death, and even spiritual warfare are not all because of sowing in disobedience. We see this in scripture as well. There are trials and testings in life that God allows to refine us. So I am not talking about that and that is also something we must be able to discern. I am going to do a podcast episode on this soon and shed more light on how to identify a spiritual battle to a battle with the flesh. Because if we can’t do that, we will not overcome the issues we face in life or the enemy of our soul.
Verse 8 says: For the one who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, and the one who sows to the spirit will of the spirit reap everlasting life.
So let’s take a look at the contrast here by starting with what it looks like to sow to the flesh.
I often say that many things in the spiritual parallel the physical. What does that mean? Just like Paul is using a real life example of sowing and reaping (the physical world) to make a spiritual point, a lot of things in life do that.
For example, we can also use our health as an example. When we eat a few unhealthy things, we don’t see the effects right away. And a few unhealthy foods is not going to make us unhealthy. We can correct our unhealthy eating by consistently eating healthy and working out. But if we continually eat unhealthy and don’t workout, we eventually start to the see the effects of it. It’s going to catch up with us with weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, clogged arteries, etc. We are going to reap what we sow … or what we nurture in our lives.
It applies to the physical and the spiritual in this case.
Now think of that same concept with what we consistently put into our minds, our hearts, our homes. We filter everything through the mind. Everything goes through the mind before it enters the heart or the core of our being.
When we sow to the flesh, the consequence is corruption leading to death. That’s the cause and effect here. What is sowing to the flesh? First, it’s important to understand what the flesh is. It is not our skin, bones and the matter that makes up our bodies. When we think of the flesh in this way, we can often get a skewed view of our bodies.
However, these bodies will one day be redeemed and we will have them in eternity as well, so the meaning of flesh here does not mean our bodies. It has to do with our sin nature. This is what we inherited from our parents, Adam and Eve. We are all born with the desire to be our own authority and our own god. We are bent toward evil. Now, that doesn’t mean we will always give in to temptation, but it does mean there is a war that takes place as Christians known as the battle between the spirit and the flesh.
Therefore, sowing to the flesh is anything contrary to the word of God. In fact, in the same book, Galatians, Paul tells us what the works of the flesh are in 5:19-21: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy,[a] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[b] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
If those are the works of the flesh, those who practice them will reap the consequence of living by those actions.
Got Questions says this: “the Bible says that humanity’s nature, both the physical and spiritual, were good, yet both were adversely affected by sin. The end result of sin is a nature often referred to as the “flesh” in Scripture—something that opposes God and seeks sinful gratification.”
So again, when we refer to the flesh, we are speaking to the nature of man that wants to go its own way, thus giving into that desire by the works of the flesh mentioned here in Galatians.
What does it mean to sow to the spirit?
This one is pretty easy because the fruit of the spirit is what we yield when we sow to the spirit. I’ve talked about the fruit of the spirit before, but in case you need a reminder, they are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentlest and self-control. The reason they are called fruit is because they are produced in our lives and they are part of what is reaped as we sow to the things of God.
The question is, how do I yield the fruit of the spirit. Well, that’s not your job. The Holy Spirit is the one who produces the fruit in our lives as we live and sow to the spirit. So the better question is, how do I sow to the spirit?
When you think about it, sowing takes effort.
We intentionally think about what we’re doing with our time and where we’re being intentional. So, are we spending time with the Lord? Are we seeking Him for guidance on how to think, and how to transform our minds? Are we spending time in prayer? Another question: are we taking our cares and shortcomings to God? Are we repenting of wrongdoings? Again, I talked about repentance on the podcast in episode 110 so go back and listen to that if you haven’t yet. But repentance also bears fruit. It doesn’t feel good in the moment because it’s part of the pruning process, but it yields fruit and growth in our lives.
Sowing to the spirit reaps everlasting life and that’s not just when we get to heaven, but it’s also part of living for God on this earth. When we live for God, we don’t have the heartache of sin and corruption in our marriages, our relationships, our time and all the areas of our lives that can become corrupt.
So the final question is what do we do if we see the weeds of what we’ve sown overgrowing in our lives?
How do we correct this and deal with the consequences of what we’ve sown?
I was talking to someone a few months ago about her marriage and family life (and let me make sure everyone understands that I am not a counselor. I don’t pretend to be, but I do give advice that comes from the Bible). As I was talking to her about her marriage and family life, I referred to this verse: you reap what you sow. Again, we are always sowing to either the flesh or the spirit. We are either going God’s way or our own way and this shows up in many areas of our lives … including our marriages and family life.
We sow to our marriage. And we are going to either do that God’s way or our own way. We do that with our words, our time, what we think on, how we show respect to our husbands, and by dealing with the root of the issues that enter into that marriage.
However, many times, we get used to chopping weeds.
We see what’s on the surface but we don’t get to the root of the problem. Remember when I said that the plant first takes root before its shoot breaks through the ground? That’s how it is in life. And that means we must deal with the root of the issues.
A lot of times we think we can ignore the things in our lives that are getting out of hand and the problems will go away. But the roots are still there. Or we think we can manage the problem by striving with it or living with it, and not really dealing with it, but what we don’t realize is that the roots are still there and they’re going deeper.
So the question is: are you managing the weeds in your life because you don’t want to deal with the root of the problem? Do you know what managing weeds looks like? It’s repeating the cycle of arguments, anxious thoughts, roots of bitterness, and other things we’ve sown to the flesh and continue to nurture and try to keep under control.
How do we deal with it?
The gardening/farming concept is prevalent in the Bible because almost everyone understood it since they didn’t have grocery stores back then. But Jesus talks about pruning in John 15.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
We are not the gardeners of our lives.
The Holy Spirit is. Pruning hurts because the Holy Spirit is taking away those things that do not bear fruit. But our source of nourishment that helps us produce fruit is abiding in Christ. It is going to Him when we see roots of jealousy, bitterness, anger, gossip, and every other fleshly thing and ask Him to prune us and make us into His image.
I learned a long time ago that being honest about my failures is what allows God to work on me and in me, and trust me, lately I’ve been battling my own bad attitude and have been going to God a lot to ask for help about it.
If I continue to allow my bad attitude to effect how I treat my husband and my kids, I am going to reap the consequences of argument and unhealthy relationships in my home and yo girl don’t want that.
Another thing I try not to do is point out the unfruitfulness of others. The Bible tells us how to treat others with love and respect and to pray for them, but it doesn’t tell us to go and try and fix them. If you have a spouse or children or friends, anyone in your life that you see is sowing to the flesh, pray for them and if the conversation arises, talk about it in love. But mostly, this message is for us individually.
It’s for us to be honest with ourselves about our own actions, attitudes, and thoughts and ask ourselves, “Am I sowing to the spirit or to the flesh? Because they both will reap the evidence in my life.”
I want to wrap this up today by encouraging you once again to be honest with yourself. The only way we will grow is by putting ourselves under the eye of the Holy Spirit and asking Him to help us be who He has called us to be.
I hope this episode encouraged you and if you enjoy the podcast, please leave 5 star rating and review and don’t forget to share on social media to help get the podcast in the earbuds of others.
I’ll catch you on the next one!