Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8 (ESV)
Looking back over our day, over our week, over our lives ... I wonder how many of us should be surprised that we struggle so much to walk in the “fruit of the Spirit”. We reap what we sow! Paul makes it clear in the book of Galatians, that the freedom from law that comes with faith in Jesus is freedom to choose fruit that lasts (the fruit of the Spirit). While we’re now free to choose “Spirit Fruit” it is clear from Paul’s writing that we can STILL choose the fruit of the flesh (Gal. 5:17-21)
John R. W. Stott describes sowing to the flesh this way:
To ‘sow to the flesh’ is to pander to it, to cosset, to cuddle and stroke it, instead of crucifying it. The seeds we sow are largely thoughts and deeds. Every time we allow our mind to harbour a grudge, nurse a grievance, entertain an impure fantasy, or wallow in self-pity, we are sowing to the flesh. Every time we linger in bad company whose insidious influence we know we cannot resist, every time we lie in bed when we ought to be up and praying, every time we read pornographic literature, every time we take a risk which strains our self-control, we are sowing, sowing, sowing to the flesh. Some Christians sow to the flesh every day and wonder why they do not reap holiness. Holiness is a harvest; whether we reap it or not depends almost entirely on what and where we sow.
That hits home doesn’t it? Sowing to the flesh is me, dwelling on my self, my feelings, my rights, my hopes, my dreams ... Sowing to the flesh is me counting the wrongs I’ve been dwelt. Sowing to the flesh is me focusing on what has been unfair to me and how I ought to be treated better ...
Finding a way to sow into the Spirit instead of the flesh isn’t really that hard to do. We can begin sowing to the Spirit TODAY right at home, with our closest relationships. Instead of allowing the thoughts that speak of what “I deserve” ... We can choose to live every day as the servant of all. What can I do today to serve my wife? What can I give up today to serve my children? What can I do today to serve my husband, my brothers, my sisters, my dad, my mom? How can I pick up the life of a servant and live it well today?
Paul says in the very next verse:
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
He also says in verse 13:
For you were called to freedom, brothers, Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
The opportunity is clear. We have, through faith in Jesus, righteousness, sonship, and freedom! How will we use that freedom today, tomorrow, for our lives? Galatians tells us that it is our great joy and privilege to use the freedom we have to spend the rest of our days focused not on what I and my flesh want, but always on what my Father in heaven wants. That is, to serve others in love ... and reap a harvest of the fruit of the Spirit.