Its harvest time in many of the gardens of West Virginia. But because of the extremely wet season I’ve heard many of our farmers say that their gardens have been swampland for the most part, causing a few things to grow in great abundance and other plants to rot away leaving a disheartened farmer for all his or her labor. Life can be like that too can it not? I try so hard to be all “spiritual.” I mean really, I’m the Jesus Chick; if you give yourself that title you better be able to back it up with some proof! But the truth is some days I’m fruitful, and some days I’m just a rotten vine with little to show for what my Master has put into me. But that didn’t catch God off guard, he left me some instructions in the book of Galatians 6.
Apostle Paul wrote in the closing of his letter to the Galatians the results of poor gardening.
Don’t throw rocks in someone else’s garden and think that you’re going to reap a bountiful harvest in your life. One of the greatest struggles for me, who tries to live spiritual, is the people around me who live like heathens. They frustrate and suck the life out of me. And they’re everywhere! I turn on the news and they are there, Facebook… they are there, in my family… they are there, in the church…. They are there, at the grocery store… they are there, everywhere. And then I hear the screeching of the tires on Apostle Paul’s car.
Paul said in verses 1-3
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Questions: Have I tried to restore them with kindness? Have I looked in the mirror? Have I tried to help?
If I consider my own garden, what have I planted in it? I need to spend more time proving my own work; studying the Word of God and living the Word of God so that I can be a testimony and a help to those who need Christ. I’m first responsible for me. It’s hard to judge the fruit of another person’s orchard when you take care of your own as you should, there’s little time for judging. And I’m pretty sure when we get to Heaven we’ll not hear the words “Good job judging your neighbor,” come out of God’s mouth, but He will likely have much to say about the condition of the soil in our own lives.
4-6 ~ But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
Whatever it is
We know the “whatevers” in our lives that are not healthy. Spiritually and physically we’re constantly gardening to the body and soul. From the time my feet hit the floor in the morning I begin either sowing to the spirit or to the flesh. If I turn on the television before I turn on God, flesh. If I eat donuts instead of cereal, flesh. If I care more about the physical house I’m building than the spiritual house, I’m sowing to the flesh.
7-8 ~ Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
I don’t think I say it in judgment, just in reality, that I see churches filled with idle farmers. They come to church to get the store bought goods. The stuff that’s prepackaged and ready to eat. Spread out on the table like a banquet for royalty to pick over and discard the unwanted fruit. Church is not a grocery store, it’s a farm store and conference center. It’s where we gather together to hear and learn the Word of God and to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul took the time and effort to write a very long letter of encouragement to the church. It is said that because of Paul’s poor eyesight that he struggled to write at all, and yet he wrote the bulk of the New Testament. Paul truly cared about the church.
Paul said in verses 9-11 ~ And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.
Nothing but the Cross
For me, work and service come easy. Often times it’s so I’ll feel vindicated or accepted by those I serve; both of which are wrong because in so doing I’m sewing to the flesh to make me feel better. I certainly need to serve but not to prove myself to anyone, I need only to prove to Christ that I am a new creature because of what He did for me on the cross. Many of the Jews who had gotten saved had a hard time separating the works of man from the grace of Christ. Even circumcision was viewed as a part of salvation. Sowing and reaping is not to bring our work before the Lord and say look what I’ve done, but rather to keep the harvest coming till the Lord returns. Then and only then will we discover what the fruits of our labor have been.
12-16 ~ As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Grace. Enjoy it.
If we sow seeds of grace in the lives of others, I believe we’ll reap and enjoy grace in our own lives, including forgiveness for all those times of sowing to the flesh.
17-18 ~ From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.