Sow in the Spirit, Reap Life

Daily Devotion | Day 246

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . .” (Galatians 5:22-23, NKJV).

In today’s passage, Paul lists nine different (but related) things and calls them the fruit of the Spirit.” The complete list: is, lovejoy, peacelongsufferingkindnessgoodnessfaithfulnessgentleness, and self-control.

Here, Paul makes use of a familiar agricultural image to instruct Christians about the nature of life in the Spirit. Typically, a farmer cultivates the soil, sows and waits for harvest. At harvest time, the farmer moves in to reap the fruit (the produce) of the field.

The word “produce” or “fruit” is a collective term which may refer to a variety of crops on the same land. On a particular field (for example, a garden) a farmer may grow corn, cabbage, tomatoes, pepper, etc. This is the analogy Paul is using when he speaks of the fruit of the Spirit. Assume, therefore, that the Spirit is the land; and love, peace, joy, etc. are the different produce growing on the land.

Later, in Galatians 6:7-9, Paul reinforces the sowing-reaping analogy when he writes,

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reapFor he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

As you can see, sowing precedes harvesting. Furthermore, what you sow is what you reap. Paul speaks of fruit of the Spirit. What he means is, when you sow to the soil of the Spirit, you will naturally harvest the fruit of love, peace, joy, etc. These manifestations are evidence that you are authentically walking in the Spirit, i.e. you are submitted to the leading of the Spirit.

Alternatively, you have the option of sowing in the soil of the flesh, i.e. a life contrary to the ways of God. But, be advised that this option leads to everlasting death or “corruption,” as Paul has noted (see Galatians 5:19-21). 

The only path that leads to life is the path of the Spirit. Sowing in the Spirit is simple. It essentially means walking in obedience to God’s Word. If you are doing that, you are sowing in the Spirit. The natural result is, you will manifest the following fruit (all, not some of it): love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Don’t sow anything you don’t want to reap.

Choose wisely. Invest wisely. Sow in the Spirit, and the harvest of life shall follow.

BlessingMay the Lord bless you and prosper you in all your ways. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Romans 8:1-17

God Provides in a Time of Obedience and Trust

Daily Devotional: Day 133

“And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?” Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest” (Leviticus 25:20-22, NKJV).

In Leviticus chapter 25, God commanded the people of Israel to keep a sabbath for the land they were about to occupy (Canaan). They could sow and reap for six years, but the seventh year was to be a year of rest for the land. During the seventh year, they were prohibited from all farming activities on the land. This commandment was to be observed – as in a cycle – every seven years, for as long as they remained on the land.

Obviously, this commandment presented its own opportunities and challenges. On one hand, it afforded them the opportunity to rest; but on the other hand, they were left with the obvious question: “What shall we eat during the seventh year?” What God was asking them to do required radical trust and obedience. Recall that once every week, on the sabbath day, they did no work. It is one thing not to work once a week; but no farming for an entire year was a completely different story. This brings us to today’s Bible text.

God allayed the fears of the people with the following promise: “I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years.” This blessing ensured that the Israelites had food provision for the sixth year, the seventh year, and the eighth year. What we can learn here is that God is not limited in His ability to bless you. Oftentimes obedience to God requires a sacrifice. Not sowing or reaping, for the Israelites, was a huge sacrifice. But today’s Bible reading assures us that when you do what God requires of you, He will not leave you without provision. Our God is a dependable provider. Dare to trust Him.

May the God of Israel command His blessing upon you and your family today! Amen.

For further study: Genesis 22:1-18

“Money, Come to Me!”

Daily Devotional: Day 101

“And He [Jesus] said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’” (Luke 12:15, NKJV).

Jesus made the above statement about 2000 years ago. Yet His statement is extremely relevant for today’s generation. Our society makes a big deal of people’s net worth. Gradually, the trend is to measure people’s value by their material possessions. Fascinated by celebrity lifestyle and driven by our consumerist culture, young people (and even some older people) are increasing seeking validation through material possessions.

Our society is constantly pushing the false notion (via movies, TV shows, magazines, books, the educational system, peer pressure, etc.) that a person’s worth is primarily measured by the material possessions he has accumulated.

Even more disturbing is the growing obsession in our churches with the so-called ‘Gospel of Prosperity’ and its persistent emphasis on ‘sowing seed.’ Instead of being an example to the world, churches are also falling for the lie. The effect is that the poor among us and those who are struggling financially are made to feel  awkward in the house of God.

That is what happens when you’re made to feel that your lack of financial prosperity is probably a sign that you don’t have enough faith, or you don’t sow enough seed, or you don’t pray enough, or you don’t pay your tithe, or you’re under a curse, or you just don’t ‘confess’ the right things.

In fact, on some occasions Christians are even encouraged to confess by faith: “Money, come to me! Money, come to me!” But this is a different Gospel – which is no Gospel at all. It is not the Gospel preached by Jesus, the Apostles or the Prophets.

True, the Bible talks about ‘sowing and reaping’ to describe the blessings of giving (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:6-15). But like everything in the Bible, one can pull passages out of context or capitalize on biblical concepts, blow them out of proportion and create ungodly practices or doctrines out of them. We all need to carefully examine Jesus’ statement in today’s Scripture reading. He says, “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (emphasis mine).

Jesus is not against material prosperity. But He is against obsession with material possessions and the giving of the impression that people’s wealth – or lack thereof – is the measure of their worth. Don’t give in to the ungodly pressure to prove your worth. Your true worth as God’s child is measured by your standing with the Father and how much treasure you have stored in heaven through your faithfulness to God’s calling. 

Your worth is not about what you have, but who you are in God’s sight. God sets your true worth, not Hollywood, not Wall Street, not your bankers, and certainly not your friends. 

Prayer:

Lord, I am what I am by your grace. I give you all the glory and honor. Help me to always realize that my true worth is based on your love for me and your divine calling upon me. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

For further study: Luke 12:13-34