And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
- Galatians 6:9
Recite using the acronym:
A L U N G W O D G , F I D S W W R , I W D N G U . GALATIANS 6:9
Read Full Passage HERE
What are you planting?
As we continue to walk down this journey of memorizing and meditating on the word of God together, we can’t help but run into the picture of planting and harvesting. This seems to be one of scripture’s greatest ways of describing the soul and the human life. That what we plant is what will grow.
“It’s a beautiful early spring day, and you’ve been waiting all year to start gardening. Excited, you head to the store to pick up some new seeds for your garden. You grab a bag of seeds labeled “red tomatoes” and head back home. Over the next couple of months, you research what your tomato plants need to grow, following the instructions perfectly. Finally, it’s mid-summer, and you're ready to pick your well-cared-for tomatoes. You eagerly go out to your garden, but to your surprise, your garden is full of red peppers.” Did your tomato plants grow peppers, or were your “tomato seeds” actually pepper seeds?
This may seem like a silly illustration and question, but it’s a mistake we too often make. As Christians, we spend a lot of our time making sure that we are taken care of and that we take care of ourselves because we want to grow. I think too often, we are so focused on our growth that we don’t always realize what we are growing into, and the seeds that we are watering and tending to may not even be the right kind. We pursue so many things that we think are good, and maybe our journey to them looks good and right, but when we arrive, we realize we've been watering the wrong seeds. The term “deconstruction” is a hot word in our culture today and is basically rooted in this same problem. For years some of us have been tending seeds or beliefs that didn’t actually have biblical roots, and although we may have been watering them and tending to them in the right way, what they have produced in us is something completely wrong. We wonder why our efforts to be a better person or Christian only produce self-righteousness and judgmentalism in us. I don’t think it’s because we’ve been watering wrong; I believe it’s because the wrong seed was planted.
Is your goodness rooted in the goodness of God to you, or do you believe the goodness of God is dependent on your own? What you sow is what you reap. If you sow your own good, you will reap self-righteousness, but if you sow the goodness of God, you will reap the righteousness of God. Not just for your benefit but also the good of those around you.
Sow the seeds that produce the fruits of the Spirit, rather than the seeds that produce the thistles, weeds, and unintended produce that corrupt and spread to kill good produce. That is the aim of the Fruit of the Spirit memory projects we have been reflecting on for the past months. It is so important that we reflect and meditate on God’s Word so that we can live it out and call upon it in all of life’s circumstances. Paul encourages and motivates us in this passage to not tire of the continual process of sowing seeds of goodness, for, at the end of our lives, we will reap the reward stored up for us in Heaven.
An interesting idea to note in this agricultural illustration is that our sowing and reaping affect the people around us rather than just ourselves. If we sow good fruit, which is of the Spirit, others benefit. People are impacted positively as we serve them servant-heartedly. This is much like real life. A farmer who sows good seed and cares for their crop benefits the whole community and his personal well-being as they provide nourishment to those around them. On the other hand, those who sow the seed of the flesh produce corruption and destruction like weeds and parasites that infect the crops around them trying to produce good fruit. We often think that our sin, especially that which is done in secret, affects no one but ourselves. We must see this as a lie straight from the enemy himself.
This idea of sowing fruit of the flesh versus the Spirit also gives insight into our relationship with God before we come to salvation in Christ. Consider the following passage from Paul in his letter to the Romans:
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. - Romans 8:5-8
Before we come to faith in Christ, we were unable to produce any good fruit, the fruit of the spirit, because we are in the flesh. But when we believe in Christ, our old self is put away, and we are a new creation. We are now of the Spirit rather than the flesh. We can now produce good and pleasing fruit to God when we were unable before. This is similar to the illustration given at the beginning. We can only produce what is in our nature. We thought we would produce tomatoes, but we planted peppers. It is not that the tomato seed produced the wrong fruit because it can’t produce that which isn’t in its nature. The package of seeds was mislabeled. It was peppers being planted all along.
So we will ask again and take some time to reflect on this.
What are you planting?