Today is the Father of Tomorrow

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. Galatians 5:7

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 3.02.22 PMAs a new believer, I think I heard this every Sunday during ‘tithes and offerings.’ Want to be blessed? Give away your money, especially in the funny looking bags roaming through the pews, or so I was told.

Sowing and reaping.  All of a sudden preachers become experts in farming.  Plant corn, you get corn.  Astounding!  Even through Bible College this verse remained neatly tucked in the financial area of Christian giving.  If you want to be blessed financially, this ‘universal principal’ would even apply to unbelievers – like a cosmic hidden easter egg, ‘Test God in this, He can’t help but bless you.’  This was the unfortunate environment I was exposed to early.

Context, beautiful context. Paul, in Galatians, has been writing the church about a much more vital principle than increasing physical blessings in your life.  He’s talking about freedom.  Specifically, the freedom everyone receives through Jesus Christ.  What are we free from?  Ourselves, our old nature, sin, the power our corrupted flesh holds over us.

Specifically, he eludes to our situation as a type of slavery and being ‘under’ this curse. Our fleshly appetites molding within us this ungodly character – without any hope in the flesh to remedy.  Not even the Law or commandments will help us, they only testify against us.

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 2.38.54 PMPaul is trying to deal with something he also deals with in Romans (specifically chapter 6, read it!).  This cursed flesh is bent on self seeking desires.  If left to ourselves, we crave, lust, and use people for our own agenda. Through the destruction of sin, our natural appetites for food become gluttony.  The eye that is designed rightly to enjoy beauty becomes bent by sin to lust and seek self glory.

It is impossible, in our flesh, to rid ourselves from our own nature – we need a new one, a new heart if we’re ever to enter into meaningful relationship with our Creator.  It’s impossible, outside of divine new birth, to present ourselves before God in any justified sense. We are condemned, enslaved and without hope outside of something mercifully miraculous.

No matter how hard we try in the flesh, there is no provision for sin removal.  There is only one course of action for our fallen nature – death.

Paul starts in Galatians Chapter 5 (before the sowing and reaping verse) with an amazing verse that I love.  “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.”  It sounds like a redundant statement, but he’s getting at something powerful.  Though we have been freed from sin through faith in Christ, it’s entirely possible to remain in it’s enslaving grip.  Jesus sacrifice and resurrection was intended to not simply transact something spiritually, but He wants each of us to enjoy it, to experience the freedom purchased.

I used to think that there was ‘no such thing’ as a carnal Christian. I would look at someone struggling or even defeated in some ‘obvious’ sin that I wasn’t struggling with and account them unregenerate.  Such arrogance.  In my prideful estimation, I was more guilty than they were!

“Don’t go back!” is the cry of the Apostle Paul to the Galatian believers –  implying that you actually can, and we all do at times, ‘go back’.  We, as believers, are free from sin’s grip, and experience new heights of freedom. This is the heart and plan of God for us.  Yet, we can also return to poor choices that lead to certain results in our lives.  This, this is where Paul is headed when he enters Galatians 6 and the ‘fruit of the Spirit’.   We can argue, in fact, that most of the Apostle’s epistles are in response to this reality that while through faith in the Son of God we are free, we struggle ‘walking’ in this new reality.

Paul is giving us a powerful help, a truth to help us realize this new freedom in Christ.

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 5.47.29 PMIt’s like Paul sees prison doors flung open, yet too many of the prisoners still sitting inside the cells – Go!  Be free!  By the way, it’s essential that you start sowing in the right areas!

The seeds are the key for actualizing the victory over sin in our lives.

We aren’t able to produce the actual spiritual fruit. The Holy Spirit produces the fruit in our lives. That’s why they are referred to as ‘fruits of the Spirit.”  Love, joy, peace, patience… we cannot, no matter hard we strive, produce these on our own.  They are results, they are a harvest from something divinely working under the soil of our hearts.

We are called to plant the right seeds.  If we think we will simply produce a harvest of righteousness in our lives by watching soap operas (fresh in my head from my hair cut today; Russian soap operas playing in the background) and listening or reading garbage all day, we’d be wise to listen to Paul’s warning = Do not be deceived, God is not mocked.. what or even where you sow, yeah, it’s coming back at you. Garbage in, garbage out.  Sow to the spirit, you’ll see a spiritual harvest in your life.

I have begun asking myself this question.  It’s a question I want my kids to ask themselves earlier, not later in life.  “What is my vision for my spiritual life?” Where do you see yourself in the Kingdom of God, in His plan to redeem the world with His love? Where do you see your heart, where do you really want to ‘be’ in this regard? Where do you see your motivations, your desire for people, your interests lying? Next week, next year, in 10 years? Do we have a vision for this? If we don’t, we might find it hard to sow the right things.

I think this is where Paul is coming from. He says we are dead to sin – past tense, it’s already happened. If I am to be considered ‘dead’ to sin and alive to righteousness, I’d better start sowing in this regard, toward my new nature, if I’m ever to expect a harvest in this direction.  It’s entirely possible to continue sowing to the flesh, even though I’m born again and a follower of Jesus – this is why Paul argues in Romans, “what shall we say then, shall we continue in sin that grace might abound?” The answer is obvious, no! Because that would be really stupid. Possible, but stupid.

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 2.40.04 PMI’m deceived if I think I hold no sway over my own life’s trajectory. I’m not talking about salvation or justification, this is about common sense farming – what you put in, you will get out.

So the next time you hear this verse, if it’s in the context of financial giving, just remember God loves a cheerful giver.

Then, consider the seeds being planted in your life, your marriage, family, workplace.  Sow the Word of God in your heart, it will return a harvest.  Sow continuous prayer and fellowship with God and those that journey in faith along with you.  Sow challenging books that make you think about your faith journey, music that directs your heart to the Cross.  Sow moments in the day where you love others, listen, encourage.  Sow in faith opportunities that require you to step onto the water and trust him in new ways.

Don’t sow because you are a ‘Christian’ or because you believe it may somehow justify you (self-righteousness).  Sow because you are born again, you care about your own heart and it’s trajectory – you want a spiritual harvest that brings you closer to the heart of the Father.

This image reflects the nature of the verse. Sow into the plan God has for your life - you need to see it!

This image reflects the nature of the verse. Sow into the plan God has for your life – you need to see it! He wants to dwell in your heart through faith (Eph 3:17)

Plant, sow, invest in your spiritual vision for your life.  If you don’t have one, ask God to show you. He wants to see a harvest of righteousness break out in your marriage, family, friendships, workplace. We don’t sow to be spiritual, we sow because we have spiritual life in Christ now, and we want to know Him more!

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. Galatians 5:7

Resting from works, abiding in Him through faith, and believing Him for a greater harvest!

Bruce & Deb

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2 Responses to Today is the Father of Tomorrow

  1. Jeff Rash says:

    Excellent

  2. Michelle Fritz says:

    Wow! So rich, delicious food for the heart and soul. Thank you! I love the title of this, “Today is the Father of Tomorrow.”

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