The Law of Sowing and Reaping
When a farmer sows a particular type of seed in the ground, he knows that a plant bearing the same seeds will spring up out of the ground. If he plants a seed of corn, a plant bearing corn will grow which he will eventually reap. It is a law of nature that our Creator made and it will happen in every case.
There is a spiritual parallel to this physical phenomenon. If we sow seeds of anger, for example, into our children’s hearts, we will reap angry children. If we sow our “wild oats” by having unlawful sexual relations, we will reap all sorts of problems for ourselves like sexually transmitted diseases, illegitimate children, broken marriages, etc.
Galatians 6:7-8 - Be not deceived; [Elohim] is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
What does it mean to sow to the flesh?
Here is how Bible commentator John Gill puts it:
“but he is such an one that pampers his flesh, gratifies and indulges the lusts of it, who minds the things of the flesh, lives after it, and does the works of it, who spends his substance in a luxurious way upon himself and family; or whose whole bent, and study, and employment, is to increase his worldly riches, to aggrandize himself and posterity, to the neglect of his own soul, the interest of religion, the poor of the church, and ministers of the Gospel:”
The Apostle Paul listed some ways people sow to their flesh. He calls it “the works of the flesh”.
Galatians 5:19-21 - Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance (quarreling), emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of [Elohim].
When we live in this manner, doing evil through fulfilling the desires of our flesh, we will face certain judgment.
Job 4:8-9 - Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. By the blast of [Elohim] they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.
Revelation 13:10 - He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword . . .
Romans 8:11-13 - But if the Spirit of him that raised up Yeshua from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Messiah from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.
To “mortify the deeds of the body” means to put to death or totally cease doing the wicked works mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 above. They need to be replaced by the deeds of the Spirit; that is, doing the things the Holy Spirit leads us to do like loving one another, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, setting people free from the various forms of bondage they find themselves in, etc. This can only be done after the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in your heart through belief in Messiah Yeshua.
Romans 2:5-11 - But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of [Elohim]; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that does evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with [Elohim].
What does it mean to sow to the Spirit?
Here is John Gill once again:
“or that soweth spiritual things, that minds and savours the things of the Spirit, lives in the Spirit, and walks in the Spirit; that lays out his worldly substance in promoting spiritual things, in encouraging the spiritual ministers of the word, in supporting the interest of spiritual religion, in relieving the poor of Christ's churches, in contributing to the spread of the Gospel, and the administration of the word and ordinances in other places, as well as where he is more immediately concerned:”
We can sow to the Spirit by using the resources and wealth that Yahweh has blessed us with to do the things Gill mentions above. If we do so sparingly, we will not be blessed as much in return than if we gave much of our time, resources and wealth.
2 Corinthians 9:6 - But this I say, He which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Here are a few other words of wisdom concerning the law of sowing and reaping.
Galatians 6:9-10 - And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Proverbs 11:17-19 - The merciful man does good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubles his own flesh. The wicked works a deceitful work: but to him that sows righteousness shall be a sure reward. As righteousness tends to life: so he that pursues evil pursues it to his own death.
Hosea 10:12-13 - Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek Yahweh, till He come and rain righteousness upon you. You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped iniquity; you have eaten the fruit of lies: because you did trust in your way, in the multitude of your mighty men.
We must take the initiative to sow seeds of righteousness and stop sowing seeds of evil or selfishness.
1 Corinthians 3:8 - Now he that plants and he that waters are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.
Colossians 3:24-25 - Knowing that of the Master you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Master Messiah. But he that does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons.
This world and our adversary Satan will not make it easy for us to sow seeds of righteousness. Many times we will sow in tears due to various persecutions, trials and tribulations. However, the time will come when we will reap joyfully what we have sown.
Psalm 126:5-6 - They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
May you be among those who will reap in joy when the harvest is ready!