Recently my wife Cathy and I had a mini-disagreement.
Someone we know had a heart attack. As Cathy related the story to me, she could tell I was not overly emotional about the news. So she said, “Don’t you feel bad for him?”
Without thinking (disclaimer here…I speak without thinking first way too often…) I said, “Not at all. He ate a lot of fast food, did not exercise, and has been significantly overweight for a long time. I don’t feel bad for him because he had a heart attack. What I feel is sad for him because for decades he was never able to make the choices necessary for good health.”
Cathy was clearly not happy with my attitude. She may be right. I probably should have been less harsh.
The whole conversation got me thinking about what the Bible says regarding behaviors and outcomes. Very simply stated, the Bible says we reap what we sow. There is more to the idea though.
Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
There are really three ideas here:
- Do not be deceived: The implication is we are easily deceived into believing that we can behave one way and not experience the outcome of our behaviors. In other words, we can engage in destructive behaviors and not experience the negative outcomes of our destructive behaviors.
- God cannot be mocked: This is more serious because not being deceived is tied to God not being mocked. In other words, even if we engage in a negative behavior and “believe” we will not experience the consequences of our actions, we will experience the consequence. The reason is more than simply a relationship between our behaviors and their outcomes. The bigger reason is God is behind the connection. The verse implies that if somehow God were to let us slide on the consequences of our behaviors, then he would be being mocked.
- A man reaps what he sows: This is the final statement driving God’s point home. The image is that of a farmer planting a crop then harvesting the crop he planted. This is obvious. If I plant corn, I will harvest corn, not wheat, not barley, but corn. Will it always be corn? Yes…if I planted corn. So I always harvest what I sow. Always? Yes, always, because God cannot be mocked.
So think about your day today and your spiritual growth. Spiritually, what have you sown today? Have you sown positively by spending time with God in his Word or in prayer? Have you sown positively by loving others, by serving others, by being a peacemaker? Have you sown positively by being patient or kind?
Or have you sown negatively today by acting in ungodly ways? Have you lied, stolen, lusted, or used inappropriate language? Have you neglected to spend any time with God at all? Have you been angry, rude, bitter, or selfish? Have you been impatient and focused on your own self-gratification?
These are important questions.
The good news is God loves you, and, if you are a follower of Jesus, you are completely forgiven.
The bad news is you are, even as you read these words, reaping what you sow. It is true in your physical life. It is true in your spiritual life. It is true in every area of your life.
We always reap what we sow because God cannot be mocked.
But also remember, even though we “know” this, our tendency is to be deceived into believing we will not pay the piper…will not experience the consequences of our actions.
Let me leave you with this more positive thought. The connection works the same with positive actions also. As you engage in spiritual activities, you will experience spiritual growth.
Will you always? Yes…because God cannot be mocked. Pursue your spiritual growth and you will experience it!
I do not want to stand before God one day never having made the necessary changes to experience the spiritual growth I desire. I never want you to stand before God regretting that you did not spend more time on earth cultivating your spiritual growth.
If that occurs, will God feel bad for you? I don’t know. Maybe. Will God feel sad for you? I don’t know that either. Maybe. But one thing I know for sure. You do not get a do-over. Whatever you have done or not done in life will be hardwired for all eternity.
Therefore let’s reap what we sow in a positive way. Let’s make the changes we need to make today to experience the spiritual growth we desire.