Life in the Garden of Faith
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.
We often wonder where life will take us. What’s next? What is in our future? Obviously, there is much that we cannot know about what lies ahead, but there is one thing that is certain. We can know where and when we will spend eternity.
The theories, religions, and philosophies of man offer many deceptive alternatives to God’s eternal plan and thus this warning from the Apostle Paul, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.” Teachings or worldly philosophies that are contrary to the instruction handed down by God through His word deceive man and mock God. To follow any way other than the way of God through Jesus Christ is to be deceived.
Since God is the supreme power He has complete control of man’s destiny yet He allows us to choose our final destination. Paul points out that we will ultimately “reap” from what we sow. We will either reap “destruction” or “eternal life.”
“Destruction” is a word that we often want to soften or ignore altogether when teaching the principles of Christianity. We theorize that surely a loving God would not sentence people to destruction. I’ve heard people say, I don’t like to think about God that way.” However, when you think like that you have fallen into the trap of the Deceiver. You have fallen for the deception. There is a heaven, and there is a hell.
Where are you sowing the seeds of your life? Paul makes reference to two gardens. Are you sowing in the garden of the sinful nature or in the garden of the Spirit?
Years ago I lived in St. Petersburg, Florida. On one particularly hot afternoon, I brought home a watermelon. My wife cut a piece and handed it to our 2-year-old son to eat in the backyard. A month or so later we were greeted by a surprise. A watermelon was growing by the patio. We weren’t watermelon farmers by any stretch of the imagination. But we had inadvertently sowed a seed that eventually produced something we didn’t expect.
As we go through life we sow seeds in many areas and often times those seeds are sown with little thought. Although we shouldn’t be surprised, those seeds may eventually take root and produce something we didn’t expect or want.
God wants us to know that when we engage in sinful indulgences, regardless of how harmless they may appear, there is potential danger in the future harvest. We can spare ourselves a lot of pain, heartache, and misery by forgoing momentary sinful pleasure for the greater promise of a spiritual harvest.
Paul links pleasure to sowing. “The one who sows to please his sinful nature…” and “the one who sows to please the Spirit…” God doesn’t have a problem with “pleasure,” He just wants us to make wise choices. That which is pleasurable is “deceptive.” Just because it looks good and feels good does not mean that it is good.
Plant in the garden of faith.
When your uppermost desire is to please God then you will make choices that “please the Spirit.” You can know where you are headed by taking inventory of where you are sowing the seeds of your life. What seeds are you planting in your heart and mind? Are they seeds that will bear fruit in — or out — of the will of God?
If you are truly in Christ you have made the garden of the Spirit your priority. When and if you occasionally plant a seed in the garden of the sinful nature you experience guilt over your sin and take measures to correct that behavior. You want to make it right because you want to please God.
For more on this topic, check out this article: With Christian Freedom Comes Responsibility
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.