January 14, 2019
With Bishop Ronald K. Powell
In all our daily choices, we either “sow to the flesh” or “sow to the Spirit” (Gal. 6:8). With our actions and thoughts, we plant seeds that affect what kind of person we’re growing into and the level of impact our life will have for God.
The “flesh” is the part of us that wants to live and act independently of the Lord. As humans, all of us have to deal with the pull of this attitude; we don’t lose it automatically when we’re saved. However, the Holy Spirit frees us from slavery to the flesh. He begins to change us so we can turn from the deceptive lure of living for self and instead start to live according to the truth. The choices we make contribute to the process of transformation, and when they’re in alignment with the Spirit’s work, they plant good seeds that result in even more new growth.
When you’re sowing to the Spirit, you are accepting God’s truth into your mind and heart. Then you will begin to experience eternal life, which comes from truly knowing the Lord (John 17:3). The fruit of the Spirit grows naturally from these seeds of godly truth and influences every aspect of your life. When you feed your spirit with the things of God, you’re going to become stronger, more Christlike, and more full of His life in your thoughts and actions.
Are you feeding your spirit and the wellspring of your life, or are you feeding the part of you that wants to act independently of God? Do your choices sow seeds that are building you up, making you different, and letting streams of living water flow from you to nourish others? (See John 7:37-39.)
You have a choice to make. You can decide to sow to the flesh or to the Spirit. In the planting season a farmer decides what kind of crop he wants to harvest and chooses the appropriate seeds. Each Christian begins their planting season when they’re born again through faith in Christ. Then they must choose what kind of spiritual crop they want to produce.
If we choose to sow to the flesh, we will harvest, “corruption from the flesh” (vs. 8). We are not to be deceived, because “God is not mocked” (vs. 7). We sow to the flesh when we reject God and choose to satisfy our own desires. “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissension’s, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar” (Galatians 5:19-21).
A Christian’s choice should be to sow to the Spirit by submitting to the Spirit’s control. That requires a conscious effort to yield to Him in all of our life choices. Paul reminds us in Galatians 5:16, “Walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” If the Spirit of God is in control of our lives, we will produce His fruit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). We should look for that fruit in our lives as evidence that we are sowing to the Spirit.
While our passage speaks primarily about stewardship of resources, it applies to every part of our lives including our relationships. If we sow to the Spirit, we will see others as God sees them. We will love them as He loves them. We will touch their lives as He touches them. We will tell them the good news of Christ’s offer of eternal life. If we sow seed in those areas, we will reap a rewarding harvest.
Can you imagine the difference that would make in the relationships in our home lives, our professional or academic lives, our social or recreational lives? When we invest ourselves in serving others as Christ demonstrated for us, we will spend time with those we love, forgive when we are offended, reach out to our neighbors, and offer aid to the underprivileged. We need to allow God’s Spirit to teach us to think Christ’s thoughts, speak His words, and act out His actions. It is the kind of life Paul talked about when he said, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
In our passage today Paul tells us, “So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10). God is the one who gives the harvest. It takes the exercise of faith to wait for God’s blessing. But He is faithful to give it when it is due. He instructs us on conducting the relationships of our lives in areas like restoring those who make mistakes, bearing one another’s burdens, examining our own lives in light of the judgment that is coming, and providing financial support for those who teach us.
Most of our homes would be more joyful and fulfilling places if we practiced restoration rather than ridicule. If we sow to the Spirit we will become selfless rather than selfish in all our relationships. If we think those in our relationships do not deserve our responding to them like Christ, remember we do not deserve Christ’s response to us. The key in beginning to sow to the Spirit rather than to the flesh is the daily release of our lives to the Spirit’s control. Decide today to sow where the harvest is “eternal life” (vs. 8).
What are you doing to restore a broken relationship in your life (e.g. Praying for that one, reaching out in love, avoiding gossip)?
Look for a way to assist someone in need financially, relationally, or medically.
Take time to examine your life, focusing on the thoughts, motives and desires you need to submit to the Spirit’s control.
Make a commitment to give to God’s work through your church.
Think of ways to teach the generations coming after you to sow to the Spirit.