“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. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. … But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”(Galatians 6:7-9, 14-15 ESV)
There’s a principle we all know which is called “What goes around, comes around.” Paul describes it this way: Whatever you plant, that’s what you will harvest. He’s talking of course about our everyday lives. We can choose to live in ways that please our sinful nature. We can gossip, hate, hurt other people, waste time and money, ignore our responsibilities, indulge jealousy, hatred, and lust. If we do that, we reap the harvest you’d expect: anger, fighting, revenge, shame, guilt, lost friendships, a broken family, and a ruined life.
Or, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can follow Jesus in speaking kindly to other people, treating them the way we want to be treated ourselves. We can be merciful, helpful, decent, fair-minded, loving, and gentle. We can be faithful, honest, and dependable. Then we will see different fruit: mercy, love and kindness from others when we need it, warm relationships, and a good reputation.
The trouble, of course, comes in choosing. Paul knows as well as any of us how hard it is to resist what our sinful hearts want to do. He describes it this way: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. … I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:15, 18-19 ESV). This problem continues lifelong for Christians—the Holy Spirit pulls us one way, but sin tries to pull us the other. And so our harvest is a very mixed bag.
What can help us? Only Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can take our mixed, self-contradictory lives and redeem them for good. What is sinful and shameful He redeems; what is good He uses, that it may become a blessing to others. Through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, Jesus has adopted us into the family of God. We are His, now, and all our future harvests are in His hands.
This is why Paul says, “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In the hands of our Savior, we are remade. We are not the people we once were; we are new creations.
We Pray: Dear Lord, live through me so that my harvest may honor You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on June 29, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Did you ever plant a garden? What did you grow?
2. Have you seen any striking cases of “What goes around, comes around”?
3. How does Jesus help us when the bad parts of our past catch up with us?