Christian women, God in his grace gives us many opportunities for fresh starts and new beginnings (and, wow, do we need them!). At least one occurs every 24 hours, one every 7 days, one every 30 days, and one every 365 days. We are currently standing at the doorstep of the latter in this list. As we knock on the door of 2018 and begin to make resolutions, I want one goal to rise to the top of your list: to sow to the Spirit and not to the flesh.
Sowing refers to the planting of seeds in hopes that something will flourish and grow. When we sow to the flesh there will be a crop produced. Sowing to the flesh is easy peasy. It is doing exactly what we want to do, when we want to because we feel like it. A list of the fruit that is produced from sowing to the flesh is given in Galatians 5:19, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry [think the love of food, entertainment, clothing, hobbies, etc.], sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these.” As Paul succinctly put it in Galatians, this list can be summed up with the word “corruption”.
If you are struggling in any of the areas listed above, examine your heart to see what seeds have taken root. If you have been entertaining lustful thoughts (or allowed them in through shows or books), you may be struggling with sensuality and impurity. If you struggle with over-eating, you are sowing seeds of idolatry as you look to find comfort in food rather than in God. All of these will produce corruption in your life.
Another list is given to us when we sow to the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;” Galatians 5:22-23. These are the fruit, but what are the seeds that are able to produce this awesome crop? The true Seed that must be planted within us before any of these can be present is the Seed of Eve, that is Jesus Christ. It is his Spirit that he sends to dwell within us that is able to produce anything good.
When we sow to the Spirit we are not adding to or improving the Spirit. We are aligning our hearts, minds and bodies to the will of the Spirit. We do this by reading God’s Word, sharing the gospel, worshipping, praying, serving, using our gifts, encouraging one another and doing the many other directives given in Scripture. In this way we sow to the Spirit, we strive toward being more like Jesus and that produces love, joy, peace, patience…and all the other glorious fruits.
So while the concept is simple, the execution is where the heavy lifting begins. Every action, thought and heart motive needs to be checked before planted. Will it serve to corrupt you and produce ugliness down the road (anger, division, strife…) or will it nourish the soul and make you more like Jesus?
But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. - Galatians 5:16-17.
Ladies, soak yourself in the things of Christ and sow to the Spirit this coming year. The yield will be a magnificent blessing! It will be a harvest like no other. Let it be your daily ambition to walk by the Spirit, not allowing yourself to succumb to the easy desires of the flesh. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.