For the longest time, I thought reaping was planting and sowing was harvesting. You can bet I was confused with Paul’s words in the book of Galatians. To sow is to plant or spread; to reap is to harvest or receive.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
My favorite way of applying this principle is to start off with what I struggle with most: taming my tongue. For those who know me well, you know my achilles heel is speaking in gentleness and love. My first reaction in arguments is to become angry or defensive, usually amping up dispute and conflict, with an arrogant intention that I must win this battle. Pause and reflect on something you struggle with often.
“It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.”
The Holy Spirit is infamous for convicting, am I right?!
Picture this: I’m raising my voice at a parent during what could’ve been a civil conversation. Now, there may be many reasons as to why we react in anger or frustration, but those don’t excuse any behavior. In a situation like this, I am sowing discord and strife. I have planted obvious walls of pride and bitterness. These walls prevent the growth of love and vulnerability; instead, weeds make their way up the wall and continue to block the sun, and they absorb the nutrients meant for the soil beneath it. Without the Light, we will continue to walk in darkness. The intent of my words was self-centered and cruel, and I reap a rancorous attitude with a broken relationship. Was that really what I wanted?
“As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out of My mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
The verse above is one of my favorites– Isiah 55:10-11. This verse can be applicable in a number of ways: First, we can mimic God by speaking with intention and purpose, knowing that whatever comes out of our mouths will come right back; second, we can listen to God’s words and utilize the unique gifts He gave us for the purpose of His glory and ultimate expansion of His kingdom; and third, we can imply that the “word” God is talking about is indeed Jesus Himself! John 1 verses 1 and 4 say this, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” God sent His son Jesus as the fertilizer for the soil– Jesus came to the world with a purpose, and because of God the Father, Jesus revived many souls that were once dead. The Father was sowing light and life into our broken world, and He reaped awakened and lively beings!
Sowing and reaping can be similar to giving and receiving, but the Lord knows our hearts. It’s important to ask ourselves if we’re doing a kind gesture just because we know we’ll get something better in return, or if we’re doing it out of a genuine and pure heart. The verse below is from Luke 14:12; The Message helps explain Jesus’ words which say we shouldn’t be concerned with how something is to our benefit, but how it should be for the benefit of others.
“Then He turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.””
Think about an every-day behavior you do or phrase you say. What are you reaping from that habit or comment?
Sow: Today I read my text messages before diving into my time with Jesus. Doing this shows I am prioritizing my worldly requests above the Lord’s heavenly requests. It also starts the process of me checking all of my social media notifications too…
Reap: I now have clouded thoughts from upsetting, draining, urgent, or simply distracting notifications. This greatly affects the way I talk with the Lord for my morning devotionals, if at all at this point! I might be blind to what He is trying to show me because my mind is now centered on, “Have they texted me back yet? They’re waiting on my response. Only 10 minutes with Jesus because I have to call Mom ASAP.” I am not as intentional as growing as a Christ-follower as I would be if I hadn’t even picked up my phone.
What have you been planting in your mind and heart lately? Comparison with others on social media? Anxious thoughts from listening to the news? Selfish motives because of your bitter attitude toward someone else’s actions?
Now that we know a bit about the law of reaping and sowing, what are we supposed to sow to make sure we reap ripe fruits?!
To be upfront, we want to reap the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It can be as simple as sowing love means you will reap love, but we can still gather these fruits even when we plant outside of the box.
These eight fruits are results of our actions when the Holy Spirit is the one leading us, no matter what we do. When we feel prompted to give money, this could be an act of love or faithfulness, or even kindness or goodness. When the Spirit leads us in our words, our tongue speaks in a gentle and peace-promoting manner. Dedicate a time frame and a personal space to simply sit in God’s presence and you will reap peace! As you can see, whatever we plant, it must be planted with the power of the Holy Spirit if we want to reap purity and righteousness.
“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.”
I encourage you to challenge yourself! Get up earlier and soak up His life-giving words, spend less money on you and more on others, say a breath prayer each time you walk through a door.
Seek Jesus, sis, and you’ll surely find Him 🙂