Have you ever experienced sin popping up unwanted in your life? I think all of us have found ourselves in that spot. However, fewer things will change the way you deal with sin than understanding the principle of “Sowing and Reaping”.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7 NIV
Sowing and Reaping in the Garden
As a gardener, I’ve learned that some of the good seeds I plant won’t sprout at all. Birds, squirrels and raccoons sometimes snatch them up before they take root. Other problems like the wrong amount of water, pests, or lack of freshness can impede their growth. It’s a hard fight to get the good seeds to grow in my garden.
Another concurrent fight is to keep the weed seeds from taking root and choking out the good plants. Weed seeds never seem to have a problem sprouting. They easily overtake the good soil I’ve reserved for my tomatoes, beans, and zinnias. If I let a week pass without a visit to the garden, I’m sure to find an outbreak of weeds.
Sowing and reaping in the garden is an art form. You must be on the defense against weeds, pests, diseases and bad weather. You also must work on offense, using fertilizer, sprays and trellises to give good seeds the best chance at growing. Yet no matter how hard you try to keep them out, weed seeds will always be the biggest part of the battle, since the earth wants to be covered instead of bare.
Our Struggle with Sin
The apostle Paul wrote honestly about his struggle with his sinful nature in Romans 7. He described it as a war within his heart and mind. Once saved, he truly longed to follow God with all his heart. However, his sinful nature continually messed up his plans.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. Romans 7:21-23 NIV
Even when Paul wanted to obey God, it seemed as if his default setting was to be sinful. Like a garden will automatically reset to weeds if left untended.
Paul felt frustrated by this battle, knowing he couldn’t win the fight in his own strength or power. Sin seems to hold the upper hand since our sinful nature hates exposure.
Just as gardeners are ultimately subject to God’s work in making seeds sprout and sending the rain and sunshine, so are we ultimately subject to God’s work in rescuing us from sin. We can’t have completely problem-free gardens, just like we can’t have completely sin-free lives. To break out of the weary cycle of feeling frustrated, we must rely on God’s power instead of our own.
You can hear Paul’s relief in Romans 7:25, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” He knows the only way to break free from that frustrating cycle is to rely fully on God for help.
The truth is until we get to heaven, sin will always be a frustrating battle for us. Our sinful natures will always tempt us to be self-centered rather than God-centered. It’s easier to acknowledge that fact than fight against it. Reaping and sowing will always be with us.
Surrender the Frustrating Battle to God
Every day, surrender your frustrating sin battle over to God. Trust Him to help you fight back in his almighty power and strength. Like Paul, you will find relief knowing that Jesus will deliver you.
The Master Gardener will help you in both defensive and offensive strategies against sin. He will find you new ways to fight back against your sinful nature and choose the narrow path of obedience instead. That path is full of abundant life, just like a well-tended garden. You will begin reaping and sowing things for His Kingdom instead of for your flesh.