The Principle of Sowing and Reaping

By: Andre Lamb

One of the most quoted scriptures I've heard quoted is Galatians 6:7 which tells us that we will reap whatever we have sown. This is a biblical principle that every believer should consider in his/her every day walk with the Lord. When understood, it is a principle that will explain so many mysteries in life and abate many of our frustrations.

There are, however, some qualifiers to this fundamental principle. Not only will we reap what we sow, but we will 1) reap more than we sow and 2) later than we sowed. This latter point is why Paul admonishes the believer to be patient and not faint while he waits to reap his "well doing!"

As often as we quote Galatians 6:7, most of us like to focus on the positive seeds sowed. However, I would like to briefly explore the negative side of sowing and reaping. As I recently revisited the account of King Saul, there is another facet that I considered concerning the principle of sowing and reaping in the negative aspect. This facet has more to do with those who are the friends, family and loved ones of those who are reaping the bitter seeds they have sown.

While meditating and praying for a loved one recently, the Holy Ghost spoke to me and told me to allow this individual to reap what they have sown. I had knowledge of and was witness to the seeds this individual had sown in their life and was seeing the undesirable fruit manifest. I have even watched as this individual has tried, to no avail, to make this bitter fruit sweet. The fact remains that biblical principles change for no one!

The compassion in my heart wanted to come to this individual's rescue and do what I could to lighten the load or ease the burden. But I soon found out that I was interfering with God's business. I must admit that when God told me to back off and let the principle operate that I was very disturbed. I must, however, decrease so that God can increase.

This experience was instrumental in changing my prayer life. For so long, I always asked for specifics in my prayers. While the scriptures tell us to make our request known unto God, there is a line to be drawn. As the expressed image of the invisible prayer-answering God, Jesus gave us the key to prayer in Matt 6:9-13. I think the main key to successful prayer is for us to ask His will to be done. It is this prayer that we are assured makes it to the throne (1 John 5:14). Jesus personified this prayer in the garden of Gethsemane when He bowed His will to the will of the Father.

I like to call this wrestling match in Gethsemane "The Battle of the Wills." It is something that many of us have had to experience at one time or another. But as soon as Jesus gave in to the Father's will, an angel came and strengthened and ministered to Him. The issue on the table was actually the principle of sowing and reaping and the humanity of Jesus did not favor this principle. He was taking on the sins of the world and consequently had to reap the judgment.

From the first day that Jesus explained the necessity of His death as a payment for the penalty of sin, the Bible tells us that Peter rebuked him. In other words, Peter was unwilling to let the principle of sowing and reaping take its course, even though he would be receiving eternal redemption as a result. Because of this mindset, Jesus called Peter Satan and commanded him to get behind Him. Basically, Peter was insisting that there were other means by which God's favorable end could be attained. In doing this, Peter had placed himself in front of Jesus, hence the command to get behind Him! It is the spirit of Satan that tries to defy the divinely inevitable.

When we interfere with God's divine will we are doing the work of Satan! In essence, this is what I was doing by trying to intervene and ease the load of this individual who I loved so dearly. Praying for them was definitely the right thing to do but the content of my prayer was inspired by Satan. I was praying the very opposite of what God wanted to do in their life. God rebuked Samuel in the same way He rebuked Peter as Samuel's heart was weighed down when Saul had to reap what he had sown (1 Sam 16:1). When God asserts His will, we do well to bow in humble submission to His sovereignty.

As I stated before, biblical principles change for no one. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. This point is reiterated in 1 Samuel 15:29. The King and Glory of Israel is not a liar nor does He repent.

There is a peculiar situation that Paul had to address in the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 5). There was a young man so wicked as to have sexual relations with his stepmother. No obvious reasons are given as to why the saints at Corinth showed kindness and compassion to this man. There were apparently some that were disturbed and questioned how the matter should be resolved. Paul gives what should have been the obvious remedy all along and he stressed the fact that one doesn't even have to be present to judge this matter. This young man needed to experience the biblical principle of sowing and reaping. The saints' coddling was preventing this and they were thus teaming with Satan by shunning the sovereignty of God. The purpose Paul gives for excommunication was the destruction of the flesh and the saving of the spirit.

Many times, what we don't understand is that when God allows people to reap the evils of their seeds of destruction, He has the salvation of their soul in mind. We look at things from a human perspective and we naturally don't want to see people suffer so we do everything within our power to intervene. We give of our substance, we invest our time, we extend our prayers, etc.; but we do all of this in vain and without knowledge of the Divine will. This is why it is so important to obey Jesus' formula for prayer and seek the will of God. Don't become Satan in the name or under the disguise of "love and compassion!"

You must allow people to reap what they sow. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord! There is a time and season for everything. There is a time to plant and there is a time to pluck up what was planted! Rest assured that He will make everything beautiful right on time. It may look ugly now but watch God work. That young man in Corinth was restored back to God. Biblical principles will always bring about Godly results.

Two facts that should be considered are the two qualifiers of the principle of sowing and reaping mentioned earlier. Because we reap later than we sow, many of us don't realize that what our loved ones are going through is a direct consequence of the seeds they've sown. The seasons have taken their course and harvest time has come. Just as frustrating is the fact of "how much" a loved one may seem to be suffering. We might think that even though they are reaping what they have sown, we don't believe the punishment fits the crime. The fact of the matter is that we always reap more than we sow. This principle also applies to sowing to the spirit and reaping eternal life! Many of us say we're not worthy of eternal life but the fact that God gave it to us is His way of saying that He counts us worthy! It is imputed worthiness! On the other hand, we must allow the omniscience and sovereignty of God to mete out whatever chastisement and punishment He deems appropriate according to the seed that was planted. We must simply rest assured that His chastisement is for the saving of the soul and destruction of the flesh.

Our innate desire to comfort and come to the aid of the ones we love is there for a reason. God placed it in us! However, we need Godly wisdom on how and when to apply that compassion. In 2 Cor. 2, Paul tells the saints in Corinth that the young man had suffered enough and that now was the time to show compassion and implement restoration. I can only imagine the great things this young man suffered as a result of his sins. Paul points out that the saints' "unified disapproval" of him and his behaviors was the key to this young man's punishment and subsequent repentance. This is one thing that the church must repent of. We have coddled sin for far too long as we watch the body corrupted by unexposed sin. However good our intentions were, the fact remains that he considers us Satan to defy His will. We are told to shun and abhor evil! When we see gross sins committed amongst the so-called saints, we must be unified in our disapproval of the perpetrator(s).

We must look for works of repentance! As Paul points out, Godly sorrow is much different than the sorrow of the world. Verbally confessed sorrow with unchanged behaviors is not conducive to Godly sorrow. We see too much of this in our churches! Those that have a worldly sorrow are only sorry about the miserable condition they are in as a result of the principle of sowing and reaping. They have no sorrow about what they sowed. As long as a person displays worldly sorry, we should be unified in our abhorrence of their ungodly, evil ways. Perhaps they will be moved to godly sorrow. But hopefully it won't be too late, like Esau!

Speaking of Esau, we must be mindful of the possibility that some people (whom we love dearly) have gone too far and stayed too long away from God's loving grace. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do for these individuals! Some people are invulnerable to regret, remorse and repentance! Their consciences have been seared with a hot iron and their pride has forever fortified their bond with Satan. We must ask God for wisdom in these rare situations and trust that He will give us the strength we need to accept the truth. We must rest in knowing that they will be judged and answer to the Righteous Judge.

I believe that the key to properly deal with those who are reaping what they have sown lies in our earnest seeking of God's will coupled with His wisdom. We must rely solely upon Him. We cannot allow man to condemn us in our dealings with certain people when we have sought the Lord in this regard. He is the ultimate judge; He tries the reins and the heart. Only He can decipher the many passions and feelings we experience.

This writing is not meant to be used as a free ticket to thoughtlessly dismiss people from your life with reckless disregard simply because you don't care for them or due to some misunderstanding or petty quarrel. I pray that you are spiritually mature enough to receive the message contained in this writing as I feel that it was truly and divinely inspired. As the Christ-like people, we must be cognizant of the fact that His ministry was powerful enough to save the entire world but only few are chosen. As he walked the earth, there were many He passed by only to heal a select few. We must be prayerful as to 1) who God is dealing with, 2) if and when to shun people for the destruction of the flesh and salvation of the spirit and 3) when to move with compassion once godly sorrow has taken place in order to restore them in the spirit of meekness.

Let the principle work! We are all the better for it!