"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, February 4, 2011

WHAT ARE YOU PLANTING?

Galatians 6:7 (NIV) "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."



My kindergartener brought me his Sunday School lesson: A styrofoam cup with dirt in it. He tells me, "There are seeds under the dirt, Mom. If we care for it, it will grow." We watered it, put the cup in sunlight, and waited. Within two weeks we finally saw a bud peek out from the dirt. Then, there were several little seedlings taking off. Pretty soon, we had a cup full of grass. My son reaped what he had sown.



After a few days the grass started to wilt and turn brown. My son neglected to nurture and care for it. The grass went too long without being watered. Again, he reaped what he had sown.




This simple greenhouse project caused me to pause and evaluate the seeds I am cultivating in my own life. I am planting seeds in my life each day, good or bad. The nature of a seed planted is that it will take root. In time it will grow to fruition, whatever it is.

The depth of our spiritual roots is a measure of our spiritual maturity. What is rooted in our hearts will bear fruit in our lives. My friend Beth Ladd says, "We take root downward in order to bear fruit upward." Simply stated, "No root, no fruit."

The law of the harvest teaches we will reap what we sow. The fruit in our lives is a result of what kinds of seeds we are planting and feeding. Recognizing the fruit that is produced in our lives is necessary. Sometimes we nurture seeds of bitterness, selfishness, anger, jealousy, and unforgiveness. In order for us to plant seeds of patience, love, forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, joy, and self-control, we need to be sowing to the Spirit.

Paul teaches in Galatians 6:7-8 "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." These verses instruct that if we sow to the flesh the harvest is destruction. Sowing to the Spirit produces a harvest of eternal life. Paul is telling us we must sow to the Spirit in order to reap a life in the Spirit.

One thing I have learned in my walk with the Lord is, sowing to the Spirit requires a conscious daily surrender of my life to God. My flesh is too weak. I must die to self in order for His Spirit to be alive in me. Ultimately, the seeds I must continue to plant and fertilize in my life include time in His Word, quietness before His throne, and disciplining my body and mind to say "no" to the flesh.

Let's understand this concept where we are each day. I mean, it's hard sometimes not to give in to the flesh. On a practical level what does sowing to the Spirit or flesh look like?


The Spirit says, "Put a love note in your husband's lunch."
The Flesh says, "He doesn't do that for me."

The Spirit says, "You need to pray for your boss."
The Flesh says, "He/She's the most difficult person I know. How could prayer possibly help?"

The Spirit says, "You should leave a generous tip."
The Flesh says, "The waiter brought the wrong dressing, my food was cold and He wasn't nice."

The Spirit says, "Get up a 1/2 hr. earlier to spend time with Me."
The Flesh says, "I'm so tired. I need my sleep. I deserve a break."

The Spirit says, "Don't honk your horn, yell at your dashboard or flail your arms at that driver."
The Flesh says, "They totally cut me off. I'm gonna teach them a lesson."

The Spirit says, "You need to send your friend a card."
The Flesh says, "I really do not have time for snail mail."

The Spirit says, "Hold your tongue. What you are about to say is not kind or necessary."
The Flesh says, "Tell it like it is, girlfriend!"

The Spirit says, "Those shorts are a little short and that shirt is a little revealing."
The Flesh says, "Who cares, I like the attention."

The Spirit says, " You need to surrender your thought life to Me. It's getting out of control."
The Flesh says, "Why? No one knows what I'm thinking."

The Spirit says, "You know you need to forgive that person."
The Flesh says, "I think I would rather like to hold a grudge."

The Spirit says, "Forgo the new outfit and give the money to someone in need."
The Flesh says, "It's so cute! Plus it's on sale."

The Spirit says, "You should invite that person to church/small group?"
The Flesh says, "Don't bother. They're probably too busy and will say no."

The Spirit says, "Stop what you're doing and go play with your kids."
The Flesh says, "But I really need to finish checking my email."


Do any of these resonate with you? They do with me. It is in the small daily decisions of life where we sow to the Spirit or the flesh. Does this mean we won't make mistakes? Of course not. However, when we have spent time in His Word we plant it into our hearts. The daily decisions of choosing the Spirit become easier and being more apt to say "no" to the flesh is the result.

Disciplining ourselves to sow to the Spirit requires planting seeds that will grow us spiritually. Being intentional to plant spiritual seeds in our lives will enable us to bear fruit in accordance to what we profess. The seeds planted in us are demonstrated by how we live. Sow to the flesh, reap the flesh. Sow to the Spirit, reap the Spirit. Friends, remember Paul's message: we cannot sow to the flesh and expect to reap a life in the Spirit!

What are you planting?



Heart Work:

Make a list of practical ways you can sow to the Spirit each day. What are your weak points?

Consider events of this past week where you gave in to the flesh and when you said "no" to the flesh. Ask the Lord to help you die to yourself each day in order that His Spirit be alive in you.


Heart Exam:

Let's be honest friends, how much time do you spend sowing God's Word into your heart? How deep are your roots?

What spiritual seeds are you planting in your life? What flesh seeds need to be uprooted?


Heart Changing Word:

Psalm 1:3 (NIV) "He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season."

James 1:21 "Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."

Romans 8:9-11 "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you."



Copyright 2011 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.