Summary: Practical application of the Fruit of the Spirit. Stop living by what comes naturally to you, start living by what comes unnaturally, Paul calls this, Life in the Spirit.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
When we lived in San Antonio I had a vegetable garden out back. I grew various types of vegetables, but the plants that always did the best were pepper plants. Now I didn’t have a lot of room for a garden, so a crammed everything together. I put in tomato plants first, about two feet from one another and in between the tomato plants I placed other vegetables: carrots, radishes and so on, I also planted lots of chili peppers and sweet bell peppers. It looked like one great heap of plants.
Now seeds are expensive, so what I did was take seeds from some of the peppers the year before instead of buying pepper seeds. The plants all grew well and soon it was time to harvest.
One afternoon I added some sweet bell peppers from our garden to a salad that was part of our dinner that night. But as we tasted our salad that night, holy smoke! The salad was super hot and spicy. Wow it was great. We only had lettuce, spinach and sweet bell peppers in the salad that night but it had a kick you cannot believe. You see, probably because I planted everything so close, the plants the year before apparently had cross pollinated and the sweet bell pepper seeds I had planted had taken on chili pepper spiciness. They were not sweet at all, they were hot and spicy bell peppers. Those bell peppers sure looked sweet, but boy were they spicy. So it turns out that I planted hot bell peppers and harvested hot bell peppers.
We reap what we sow. This is obvious, is it not? We plant tomato seeds, we get a tomato plant, we plant watermelon seeds we get watermelon; We plant love and we harvest love, we plant patience we get patience, we plant faith we get faith.
Last week, Lois showed us how we are to live our new spiritual life, we live life in the Spirit with Fruit of the Spirit. This week, Paul shows us some practical application of the Fruit of the Spirit.
We have seen in this study of the book of Galatians that we are not to live by the law, we are not to live with the goal of being good people – we are to live by faith with the goal of being faithful people. We saw that anyone can be good, Christian or unchristian, so being good cannot be our goal as Christians, no, our goal as Christians is not to be good, but to be faithful. Remember we saw that it is by faith we are saved in Christ, and in parallel, by faith we grow in Christ. We learned that we are not able to grow in Christ on our own, it is impossible, but we are to place our faith in Jesus Christ and He will provide the growth by giving us spiritual tools called, Fruit of the Spirit. Paul told us that since we are now Christians, we are to stop living the way that comes naturally to us and now start living the way that comes unnaturally to us, by life in the Spirit, this life is directed by the Holy Spirit within us as we see the fruition of the Holy Spirit through the Fruit of the Spirit.
Looking at our Scripture for today, Galatians chapter 6, we see Paul showing us what life looks like in a practical way as we live our life in the Spirit.
Starting with verse 7, we see the heart of the matter that Paul is speaking of, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”. This is fairly obvious stuff: What I sow in life, I will reap in life, but the spiritual principle that Paul is teaching us this morning goes beyond the obvious. First, we see that a little is sown, yet much is harvested and second the harvest is not only here on earth, but in the presence of God at the end of time as well.
Now this is not the Christian version of Hindu Karma. The whole concept of karma is essentially centered around spiritual energy. It is an attempt to build positive spiritual energy around the self by positive acts. This is the idea behind the “random acts of kindness” bumper stickers we see on cars around town. The idea is that the more positive energy one has built up the less likely tragedy will befall them or the community around them.
On August 16, 1987, a group of people tried to apply this concept with what they called the Harmonic Convergence. Thousands of people gathered at Mount Tamalpais just north of San Francisco and other designated religious hot spots around the world, such as Stonehenge, to usher in what was hoped to be a major energy shift. It was said that if enough people got together and thought positive thoughts, the global perspective would shift from one of human conflict to one of human cooperation; In other words there would be enough positive energy (karma) to usher in an era of universal peace.