Sowing and Reaping
Rockey Jackson, April 22, 2018
“For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7b)
The material world is governed by the laws of physics. In the same way, the spiritual realm is governed by spiritual laws. Just like physical laws, spiritual laws work the same for everyone, saints and sinners alike. This essay looks at the law of sowing and reaping. Then it looks at two more spiritual laws derived from it: forgiving and judging. The purpose of this article is to affirm, liberate and empower God's redeemed saints.
Sowing and reaping is one of the most basic spiritual laws. It has a direct correlation to planting and harvesting in the natural world. The seed farmers sow into their fields determines the harvest they reap. If they sow corn, they harvest corn. If they sow wheat, they harvest wheat. It is the same in the spirit, if good is planted then good is harvested. If evil is planted then evil is harvested. The effects of sowing and reaping are seen everywhere. It is the foundation of the beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-10:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
It is also the basis for the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” This is what the scriptures say about sowing and reaping in Galatians 6:7-9:
Make no mistake: God can’t be mocked. What you give is what you get. What you sow, you harvest. Those who sow seeds into their flesh will only harvest destruction from their sinful nature. But those who sow seeds into the Spirit shall harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. May we never tire of doing what is good and right before our Lord because in His season we shall bring in a great harvest if we can just persist.
Everything a person does, says, or even thinks has an effect and a consequence. Thankfully most are pretty benign.
The concept of karma is based on the truth of sowing and reaping. In karma, good deeds cancel out bad deeds. It is seen as a balance and the person wants to tip the scales in favor of the good so good things will happen to them. It is a case of doing just enough to get the desired result. It is thought that if the good of a lifetime out weighs the bad, then the person will go to heaven. Some believe that it is graded on the curve and they only need to be in the top half of humanity to be okay. They justify themselves by saying: “I'm better than most people.” Karma is a false doctrine even though it is based on a true spiritual law. It is false because it has no understanding that it only takes one misdeed to make a sinner unacceptable to God. It is also false because it has no allowance for God's mercy and grace to forgive the sins of the redeemed saints who have received Him as Lord and Savior.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
How many times has someone prayed this line from the Lord's Prayer, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive others.” without realizing what they are asking? This is emphasized in Matthew 18:21-35 the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant:
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, “Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.” Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, “Pay me what you owe!” So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.” And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, “You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?” And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.””
When a person decides to forgive another for their offense, Satan tries to convince them that they have not really forgiven because when they think of what was done it triggers the same emotional response as when the incident originally occurred. The person's emotions may still be raw from the pain or anger caused by the event. These negative emotions continue to hurt the individual long after the original source of the pain is gone. They make the one who was hurt want to curse the perpetrator. It takes time for emotions to change. To forgive is a decision and emotions will change over time to follow a person's decision.
If a person does not forgive, but revisits the incident over and over again, it always causes the same negative emotional response and desire to curse the other party. It is like drinking poison in hopes that the other person will die. If someone wants to be forgiven by God, then they need to forgive what others have done to them. It is not for the sake of the one who did them wrong, but so that they can be forgiven themselves and move on from the negative effects of cursing to the positive effects of blessing. As it says in James 3:10, “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”
The human mind may be reprogrammed like a computer. In education theory it is known that students are most likely to retain what they hear first, what they hear last, and what is most often repeated. This can readily be seen in a popular song. Most people remember the first line, the last line and the chorus that is repeated. Knowing this, here is a simple way to reprogram the mind so that emotions more quickly come into alignment with the decision to forgive. Every time the instance that has been forgiven comes to mind, ask the Lord to bless the other person with the very best blessing He has to give them. Now the last thing the person has to think of when they remember the incident is that they asked the Lord to bless the other person. Blessing another person triggers a good emotional response. Reinforced by repetition over time, the first emotional response that comes to mind when the incident is remembered is from the blessing. Add to that the fact that Satan the Accuser no longer has an incentive to bring the incident to a person's mind. They are no longer hurt by the memory and the perpetrator is getting spiritually blessed every time in the bargain.
Another spiritual law derived directly from sowing and reaping is the law of judging. In Luke 6:37 it is written: “If you don’t want to be judged, don’t judge. If you don’t want to be condemned, don’t condemn. If you want to be forgiven, forgive.” Many people take from this that all judging is bad and they should never judge another person. However the scriptures don't support that position. In the fifth chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul confronts the issue of gross immorality in the church. He concludes with this statement in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13,
“For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore 'put away from yourselves the evil person.'”
So what judging needs to be avoided? A person's deeds are visible to the world. Facts simply exist, they don't require judgment. A person's heart cannot be adequately judged by another person. Their thoughts, motives and relationship with God are not visible for the world to see. It is the self-righteous judgmental spirit that needs to be avoided. The law was made for sinners and they die spiritually if they break even one of God's laws. God is their judge. Redeemed saints have a different law, a law of relationship that has been written on their hearts. It is individualized just for them. It includes the moment by moment leading of the Holy Spirit for their lives. How can one man know God's specific will for another? It is impossible to judge this as it is written in Romans 14:1-4,
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
How many times has someone said: “God told me to do this. So we should all do it.” In psychology this is called projection. The person takes what they like or believe and they project it on to everyone else. Different people have different likes, dislikes and beliefs. God has a different specific will for each individual. They are at different maturity levels and God is able to grow each one at the pace that is right for them. God is big enough to have a personal relationship with each person He has created and to have an individual plan to transform them into the image of His Son. How is it possible for another person to judge that correctly? The facts are simply not available to be judged. If someone does not want these things to be judged in their life, then they must not judge them in others.
What you do is an invitation to have it returned to you. As an example, the easiest way to receive a smile is to smile at someone else. Other people act like a mirror. They reflect the image that is in front of them. Sowing and reaping is a basic spiritual law. Many other spiritual laws are derived from it. One of the easiest ways to always obey these spiritual laws is to simply follow the Golden Rule: “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.”
The next article will look at many things that may be considered when “Interpreting Scripture.”
P.S. After publishing this article I found a very quick and easy way to heal emotional pain. It is “Emotional Healing in Three Easy Steps” by Praying Medic. It is available on Amazon or from Praying Medic's website: prayingmedic.com. I also included it as the first tool I shared in the "Spiritual and Emotional Healing Toolbox."
The Radiant Cross
This radiant cross was captured at driftwood beach on Jekyll Island, Georgia, U.S.A. There is nothing more fundamental to the Christian faith than the cross of Calvary.