Sowing and Reaping
There is an interesting interplay between reaping what you sow and mercy in the life of a follower of Christ that I’ve been thinking about this week . . . here are some of my thoughts.
Reaping what you sow (often called karma in the secular world) is about cause and effect. Mercy counteracts reaping in not getting the negative consequences for what we sow.
In Christ Jesus, our foundation is in mercy, not karma. (One note, mercy is a part of karma, if we give mercy we receive mercy, however God gives us mercy unwarranted by our actions. So for this post I’m integrating the dynamic of mercy into the cause and effect playing field.) When we are in Christ Jesus, we are righteous in the eyes of God as all that Christ is covers us. God’s love toward His children is what it is because of Christ not because of anything we earn. We don’t and can’t earn His love and righteousness. We don’t deserve it but we have it in Christ – it isn’t about karma but mercy. God’s mercy is ours because we are His. His mercy can’t be dependent on us. We have nothing to offer. Our insufficiency is why we need it in the first place. His mercy is His never ending gift to His children that flows into every area of our lives.
Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Deuteronomy 6:10-11 So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant–when you have eaten and are full–
However on another level as God’s children we live with Him in truth or against Him. We seek His face and draw near or not, and our choice will have a tremendous impact in our lives. It is the difference between thriving in the Kingdom of God and wallowing in a mud hole at the Kingdom’s gate. And it is this area that we play a part in reaping what we sow. If we don’t nurture and take time to foster a relationship with God then our lives will reflect that. We will lack depth in experiencing His mercy, love, provision, protection, comfort, joy, peace, and power because we are trusting someone other than Him – because we are following our will not His. Psalm 40:4 When we walk outside His will, then we will suffer the consequences even though we still experience much of His mercy.
We reap in mercy. The way we reap what is truly good is by cultivating a relationship with God that is covered in mercy and not by trying to simply be good.
Our sowing should be focused on cultivating a relationship with God because that is the source of everything in our lives. Generally when we hear about having good karma in the world’s definition of it, it means actively choosing to act good so that goodness will come back to us. In my opinion, the focus of the idea of karma is off in that it focuses on being good to get goodness. No one is good but God. The only goodness comes from Him. When we focus on cultivating a relationship with God, the result is the fruit of His goodness in our lives. Life and all that is truly good comes from being surrendered to God’s will. And surrendering to His will occurs as we seek His face with all our heart, soul and mind. There are many opinions about what good is and isn’t and only true good comes from God. Therefore only by being deeply connected to God can we experience it in our lives. All other “goodness” is a copycat that leads us down the wrong path.
To try on our own to live a good life outside of God only creates death. Often society labels things good that aren’t, and the lies destroy many people’s lives. Only in God is there life; for He is life. When we sow a relationship with Him and nourish our spirit born of Him, then our lives start to become consumed with His presence – all that is good and of abundant life. In Him, God leads us to live according to His will. If we follow His lead and heed His instruction, then we will reap the fruit of it, but it is Him in us, not us.
Living as a follower of Christ is about cultivating a relationship with God so that we live according to His love moving through us. Every command of God comes down to love – true love. When we are abiding in Him, we want to do His will because we love Him, not because we “should” do this or that. Our part is to trust God’s power working in and through us. And that trust comes from stirring the deep or cultivating a deep and real relationship with God. He doesn’t ask us to be super Christians, but to excel at depending on Him and His mercy. We are nothing apart from Him. We will never obtain His promises of abundant life if we are trying to gain them in our strength by simply being good. That is a lie that has lead many astray. Striving results in a lack of fulfillment of His promises because we are trusting in our strength instead of His loving kindness and work in us. Ephesians 2:10 Our part of sowing well is to take time to develop a relationship with Him and He does the rest through us and what we reap we reap in mercy.
Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness (life in Christ); Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
Galatians 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
Philippians 1:11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
March 1, 2010 at 8:01 pm
Thanks so much for expouding on the truths concerning God’s Mercy/sowing/reaping etc. I’m going to go back and read this again. Nothing we can do or deserve without being connected to our Heavenly Father and His divine love and grace.
March 1, 2010 at 11:53 pm
Janie – so true – our connection to God is everything.
March 2, 2010 at 5:37 am
It all comes down to abiding in Christ and letting him take us through the plan that he had for our lives long before we were born.
March 2, 2010 at 5:24 pm
Marianne – well said!
March 2, 2010 at 5:43 pm
First time in a while that I have seen teaching on theses verses that did not refer to money, name it and claim it theology, or mythology!
March 3, 2010 at 7:24 pm
John – 🙂
March 4, 2010 at 10:18 pm
“It is the difference between thriving in the Kingdom of God and wallowing in a mud hole at the Kingdom’s gate.”
This is a great illustration Rachel….how often do we find ourselves wallowing when we turn away from God, and it’s not necessarily towards evil things, just things that we feel will give us more comfort at that time (entertainment, for example).
You’re so right about karma…I hear people talk about it so much in the secular sense that I cringe. What the world sees as good compared to how the Bible describes it are two VERY different things.
March 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm
Hi Joe – thanks for stopping by! So true – the more I learn of God’s ways the more I see how different the world’s definition of goodness is and the true goodness of God.
March 5, 2010 at 1:49 am
This is so right on, Rachel. When we try to live good lives (whether apart from Jesus or seeking to please God on our own), we choose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When we live by the indwelling life of Christ, we choose Him who is the tree of life.
It’s so easy to lose focus and wander off after good works when what we really need is the Good Shepherd leading us into green pastures, etc. Then the good works come as a natural outflow of His life in us.
Thanks for reminding me. 🙂
March 5, 2010 at 4:37 pm
Hi Cindy! It is easy to wander off after good works – because most of the things in this world promote that thinking. It is one of the many reasons why each day we have to renew our minds in the Word of Truth. 🙂
March 5, 2010 at 11:08 pm
What a needed word for us so many Christians still think they have to work their way into heaven,when Jesus has done all that’s necessary for us.As I was read Hebrews 7,8 and 9 I was wondering if other Christians that live according to the law,has ever read this book?! It’s as clear as can be that Jesus “Totally Satisfied God” for us! And there should be no fear of going to hell for not doing this or that.
Love you Rachel and I enjoyed your wonderful post. 😀
March 6, 2010 at 8:17 pm
Hi Pat! So nice to hear from you. Always so encouraging!!
March 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm
Getting lost in the worldly thoughts of karma and just be “good” is tempting, but it is essential to realize the gift that we all have been given–that we have been created for a higher purpose.
March 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm
Hi Slamdunk – it is tempting. Everything around us is about our performance and what WE do. The power of that influence is a great reminder of how important it is to renew our minds daily in the Truth.