“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.”
Two promises here - one negative, one positive.
To sow something is to plant it. When we put a seed in the soil, it grows something. It's like giving food to the soil. It’s like that in our life. We can feed the soil of our lives with the flesh (Gal.5:19-21) or we can feed it with the desires of the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 1:14-16).
If I sow to the flesh, I WILL reap corruption. The previous verse says, vs.7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” We don’t just, as they say, “get away with our sins,” without consequences. One way I can be DECEIVED is, if I don’t experience the consequences right way.
SOWING IN THE AREA OF MONEY
For example. A person who loves money may have had enough in his bank account at the time he purchased something unnecessary (NOT to fulfill a NEED, but a certain pleasure). But when the time came to pay for the bill, he did not have enough in his checking account, so he took out of his savings account (if he had one). And he did this again and again. One EXCESS purchase after another being sown, the normal and unplanned expenses of life came to reap what was sown. Expenses like the car breaking down, medical bills, and other emergency situations came up. Then, he blamed these unexpected situations for not having enough money to meet his NEEDS, when he should have been spending less on his pleasures. So he had to ask his family to help. And maybe they did. But then that well ran dry, so he then went to the church to ask for help. And therefore he became a burden to the church as well.
The first purchase seemed innocent. But he didn’t plan. Where did this man go wrong? All the way back at the very beginning, when he didn’t look ahead and say no to his flesh. Now he many not have spent his money on sinful things, but he didn’t discipline himself. He didn’t say “No” to his fleshly, seemingly “good” desire. And he did not CONTROL his pleasure. He didn’t say, “Lord, ALL I have is Yours,” like Jesus said to His Father (John 17:10).
Those of us who have experienced these kinds of failures, know how tremendously burdensome this is! Bill after bill, and year after year, their paycheck is spent before it is EVEN received. Living a life where they are constantly behind, and it always weighing on the mind and heart. When this hits married people, the home becomes a place of unrest and constant arguments. And the innocent children are brought up in this lifestyle, so they repeat the same foolishness when they grow up. All the while, the devil is rejoicing at the pain, discouragement, and hopelessness these folks are going through. A self-inflicted wound that the Lord allows such ones to experience because of their own stubborn will.
Some continue and become indebted to a credit card company or even worse, credit card COMPANIES. They therefore became an even greater burden to others. And this, is a CORRUPTION (having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain; evil or morally depraved). What was the “dishonesty”? They said they had a NEED, but spent what they had, on their WANTS for personal gain/pleasure.
We actually need very little to breathe in and out in this life. 1 Tim. 6:8 says, “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (see also Matt. 6:25-34). Practically, we may need an education to get a job to put food on the table and covering on us. And God may give us more than these basic NEEDS, but never wants us to be a burden on others.
Now tragic situations also happen to people who spend wisely. They too may even lose it all. BUT they do everything they can to NOT be a burden to others, and especially to the household of God. The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Cor.11:9, “when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.”
May God help us to be BETTER stewards. Not of what we OWN, because we OWN nothing; but of what our God has graciously given us to take CARE OF, till we go to be with Him or He returns. We came into this world naked, and naked we WILL return. God has given us everything to enjoy, BUT NOT at the expense of others. IT is MORE blessed to GIVE than to receive. Pleasure is not wrong. But if we are ALWAYS concerned about receiving trips, food, earthly pleasures, we WILL miss out on giving ourselves and our resources to God. And we won’t be able to HELP others who have TRUE needs!
PRIDE IN JUDGING AND COMPARING
We must be EXTREMELY careful NOT to judge others who have made such decisions. Not to entertain thought after thought of how they have messed up their lives. Because believe it or not, we ALL stumble in MANY ways (James 3:2). This is ONLY one example of the lusts in our flesh and the despair we can face when we feed our flesh. In the world there is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16). ALL of these sins can reap corruption!
The boastful pride of life is one of the worst. When we are proud, we are most like the devil. It’s easy for ALL of us to look at folks who have made such blunders and think, how could they do such a thing? But WE may not be as careful with our thoughts. Not pure, like Jesus is pure.
Men, when you looked at that woman, desiring her beauty for a moment, even though you EVENTUALLY, rightly turned your head, you reaped a corruption that you found later IN your thoughts. And ladies, when you admire another man, who may be better than your husband, even in that moment, how brief it was, it reaped a corruption in your thoughts. Take even the very thought of comparing ourselves with each other. The possible thought of us being BETTER because of being more educated, having more money, better jobs, better parents, better children, better church, talents or giftedness. Nothing wrong with being better, but does it cause us to shun them in a conversation? Can we even “LOWER” ourselves to compliment and encourage some work God is now doing in them? Oh how there needs to be MORE encouragement in the church! Comparing is such a wretched evil I’ve seen in my own heart! Encouragement can lift someone’s day to make them more like Jesus. What a simple, great thing we can do for God with true, UNFLATTERING encouragement! We’re so proud to think it may make someone else proud if we compliment them for a Christlikeness we see in them. It may make us look LESSER in the eyes of man. How horrible that is. We must be on guard of pride.
Earlier in the same passage (Gal.6:1,3), Paul says that “if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted... For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”
When heaven's nostrils get the whiff of pride, it’s reminded of the devil and hell. We would take good care, to take heed of this word because it NOT only affects our relationship with God but also with others. If we make children stumble, it would be BETTER for us to have a noose around our neck, that is tied to a heavy millstone, and be thrown into the deepest part of the ocean (Matt. 18:6).
And yet, there is hope for the repentant person who is willing to change their ways. God wishes for all to repent (2 Pet.3:9). He is still gracious and merciful to forgive and help people like this. The wonderful heart of God is willing to help such brokenness! What a glorious God we have! What a merciful, longsuffering Father! And if we are like God, we too will desire their repentance, be longsuffering and very patient.
KNOCKING AND WEEPING OVER SIN
So what are some ways we can we sow to the Holy Spirit? In other words, how can we live by the Holy Spirit to reap eternal life? I’m not claiming to know all the ways and workings of God in the Holy Spirit. I’m just sharing with you SOME ways. We just looked at some evidence of living according to the flesh. Rom. 8:13 & 14 says, “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
An evidence that I am sowing to the Holy Spirit is that I am putting to death sin in my life. This is a lifelong process. We won't be done with sin in our lives until Jesus comes back. But meanwhile, those of us who are being helped or led by the Spirit, KNOW we have been adopted. We KNOW, we have been taken in as God’s very own children, to no longer be RULED by fear (Rom.8:15). It’s not me deciding now, primarily, “I’m going to be like Jesus and be a nicer person, stop thinking bad thoughts, treat my spouse better, treat my children better and be more charitable…” Though that is practically helpful, it doesn’t solve my IDENTITY crisis. The fact that I am NO LONGER an orphan — that the God of the universe actually loves me and calls me His very own and is in ABSOLUTE CONTROL over ALL things. Believing that He is, beyond a shadow of a single, solitary, doubt, He IS, my DADDY — is what delivers me from being a slave to fear. Fears of not being liked. Fears of the future. Fears of our children and grandchildren’s future. Fears of running out of money. Fears of society and its evils. ALL types of fears, God delivers them out of them ALL!
They cry daily, “Abba, Daddy, I need help.” What do they cry for help for? Just for jobs, homes and to make things easier? No. Because they are children of God, fellow heirs with Jesus, they cry for HELP to suffer AS Jesus suffered (1 Pet. 4:1-2, Heb. 5:8-9). Maybe not on a physical cross or death, BUT they suffer an inward dying and fight against sin. They don’t pray to get suffering. They claim the promises in FAITH, sometimes with shouts in their aloneness with God “Sin shall NOT have master over me (Rom.6:14) and Lord, IF, I walk by Your Spirit, I will NOT carry out the desire of the flesh (Gal.5:16)!” And not just to be rid of sin but to actually partake of God’s very nature (2 Pet.1:4). It’s there that they escape their corruption. They begin to experience what God NATURALLY hates and loves. They too, little by little grow to have God’s appetite. With the help of God, they put to death their selfish tendencies, their desires to be appreciated, their desires to be heard, and their desires for things to go their way as “good” as it may be. They groan to be free from their corrupt flesh. They don’t shed tears of self pity or because they were wronged by others. They groan over the darkness of bad moods and their OWN lack of burden for what God’s heart is broken over.
The creation itself groans to be set free from its corruption (Rom. 8:20-23). Do we even groan? Do you long to be done with sin in your mind, in your heart? Does it kick inside you, like contractions of a mother with her child? Do you ache and weep over your own sin...ever? Have we wept over our own household? Because we’re not satisfied with church attendance alone! We’re not satisfied because “I’m doing this or that in the church. And my son or daughter is doing this or that!” But are we broken because we’ve been 5, 10, 20 years in Christ and our priorities are still upside down! When is the last time we’ve wept for the lost in our families? We’ve prayed BUT have we WEPT for their souls? Have we pounded on the door of heaven for the bread of the Holy Spirit for someone else besides ourselves (Luke 18:8-13)? To give away, what we so often neglect? So great a salvation? If we have the first fruits of the Spirit we will! Are we eagerly awaiting our adoption? When this wretched body will be fully redeemed? A new body with ZERO sin! A new body with the compassion and the love of Jesus! A new body and mind to do God’s will ALL the time, forever pleasing Him! Can you imagine? Wow! Are we persevering with an eagerness to see our blessed Jesus and Father and Holy Spirit?
PERSEVERE IN SOWING
It’s quite a promise that, “the one who sows to the Spirit WILL from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Eternal life is a life forever, lived for God. Now and for eternity. It’s a life that begins when a person has Jesus (1 John 5:11-14). And when a person receives Jesus (John 1:12-13). And for those who believe in Him as their ONLY Lord and Savior (John 3:36). They say, “Lord, You run my life now.” It’s not a one time decision. It’s everyday throughout the day. “Lord, You bought me with Your precious blood and I want to KEEP living Your quality of life.” Day by day, they experience the life Jesus lived on earth pleasing their Father in heaven! A life lived by the Spirit in love (Rom.5:5). Sure, they stumble, but they PERSEVERE! They keep going with Him and for Him! And right after vs. 8, we read another way to sow to the Spirit: They DON’T lose heart and give up:
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we WILL reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal.6:9-10).
Put that seed in the ground and persevere! It's those who endure to the end that will be saved (Matt. 24:13). Have we made up our mind? That we REALLY are going to seek to plant seeds of the Holy Spirit? Seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control? Have we made an absolute conscious decision, “Lord I want to — and I WILL by Your grace — LIVE by Your Holy Spirit EVERYDAY!” If so, one fruit of that will be to seek to do good to ALL people and not get discouraged when this world doesn’t treat us good. That is IMPOSSIBLE. We can’t do it. Not on our own. BUT with God it is POSSIBLE ( Matt.1:26 ). This IS God's will for us and He wants it MORE than we do. He will NOT ask us to do something, that He won't give us grace for (1 Cor.10:13).
He knows we will be tempted at times to get weary by what we see or don't see happening the way we think things should be. BUT we can ONLY reap the good BY not giving up! If I want to reap the quality eternal life, I must persevere IN doing the good (Rom. 8:28-29, 2 Cor.3:18 ). We can pray honestly, “Lord, I'm not like Jesus yet. But in DUE time… I WILL reap His character in my heart and share that with others in MANY ways!” It says in due time, because when we do good, we don't always see the results right away. So we wait and trust that one plants and another waters, BUT God WILL give, the increase (1 Cor.3:6-7)! What a wonderful promise! If I’m honest, I don’t take full advantage of such great truths! May we persevere to NOT sow to the flesh, but sow to the Spirit! May God help us!
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”