The Principle of Sowing and Reaping
By Dr. Charles Stanley
Watch The Principle of Sowing and Reaping video.
Scripture: Galatians 6:7-10
I. Every choice has a consequence. If we make wise, godly decisions, we can expect God to reward us for our faithfulness. If we make rash or sinful choices, we can anticipate negative consequences (Gal. 6:7-8). In other words, you reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow (Life Principle #6). Although the principle uses agricultural terms, it applies to spiritual things and—by virtue of that fact—all of life.
II. The Warning
A. Living as though rebellion against God has no consequences—in this life or the next—is humankind’s most common delusion. “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked” (Gal. 6:7).
B. Mocking the Lord includes laughing or sneering at His laws and being arrogant toward Him. Some people think that if they don’t believe in God, it doesn’t matter what the Bible says. But whether spiritual principles are accepted or denied, they apply to everyone (Num. 32:23; Ezek. 18:20).
III. Clarification of Terms
Let’s define a few terms from Galatians 6:7-8:
A. Flesh—The part of us that wants independence from God. Although the Spirit dwells within each believer, a part of every person still wants to live independently from God. We call that the flesh (Gal. 5:17, 19-21), which the Lord heals and sanctifies as we follow Him.
B. Sow to the flesh—Yielding to harmful cravings and sinful desires. For instance, people might overemphasize their appearance, focus on becoming rich, or watch immoral movies.
C. Corruption—Decay, ruin, and destruction. Ultimately, sin leads to death (Rom. 6:23). Over time, rebellion against God destroys a person, just as a fatal disease slowly takes a life.
D. Sow to the Spirit—To do things that please the Lord. Obeying God increases the Spirit’s influence in your life.
E. Eternal—Long-lasting; high quality. When we plant godly seeds, we will reap quality things—such as peace, integrity, and healthy relationships—that have permanent value.
IV. The Promise
A. Those who continue sowing to the Spirit can expect God to reward them (Gal. 6:9). Paul encouraged believers to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).
B. God doesn’t necessarily reward us materially here on earth. Despite his faithfulness, Paul experienced intense persecution and eventually was beheaded (2 Cor. 4:9-10, 11:23-28). However, in heaven, his reward will be greater than we can imagine.
C. The promise in Galatians 6:9 reminds me of those who faithfully serve God with little or no earthly recognition.
1. Imagine a pastor who leads a small church, earning a small salary and little appreciation. Yet, year after year, he continues to pastor his congregation faithfully.
2. Think about godly people who read the Bible, faithfully attend church, pray diligently, and always tithe their income. They might not be able to point to any great accomplishments in life, but they will be rewarded in heaven.
V. The Opportunity
A. Sowing to the Spirit is an act of faith, and as such, it is possible only during our time on earth. We must take advantage of the opportunity we have to serve God (Gal. 6:10).
B. All of us have the chance to sow into the lives of other people.
1. Seeds can be small acts, like telling someone God loves them, offering to pray for a sick person, or showing kindness to a stranger.
2. Sowing to the Spirit includes things such as talking to people about Jesus, giving books, or encouraging others to listen to radio or television broadcasts.
VI. Conclusion: I pray that you will make a decision today to sow seeds of love, patience, and truth. My friend, you will reap what you sow—there is no escaping this eternal principle. People need you to make an eternal difference in their lives. Take the time to plant seeds of righteousness, and you will reap a harvest of eternal rewards.