Sowing and Reaping - Part 4
Galatians 6:7-10 (ESV)
7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Our word “corruption” in verse 8 is defined by the Strong’s Concordance as, “Decay, i.e. ruin (spontaneous or inflicted, literal or figurative).” It is taken from the root word which means, “To pine or waste; properly to shrivel or wither, i.e. to spoil (by any process) or (genitive) to ruin (especially figurative by moral influences, to deprave).” As our definitions suggest, “corruption” is simply the temporary nature of all form. The apostle John confirms this in 1st John 2:17 where he states, “And the world is passing away along with its desires.”
Beloved, all of us sow to our “flesh,” to this human form in which we abide. As an example, eating and drinking is sowing to the flesh, and as everyone knows, both are but a temporary respite which must be repeated on a regular basis. The same could be said for many of the things we do, for many of our deeds are but a temporary action which requires repeating from day to day. There is certainly no evil in this. That being said, what is it that causes “corruption” to be “evil”? James tells us.
James 1:13-15 (ESV)
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
As James shows, “evil” begins with “desire,” and yet, we must also keep in mind that, like corruption, “desire” is not inherently evil. After all, it’s perfectly normal to desire food and drink. It’s an intrinsic part of our being and essential to our survival. Still, in light of what James wrote, it is apparent that desire can lead to “sin” and “sin when it is fully grown” can lead to “death.” So what is it that causes desire to become evil? John tells us.
1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man (1), the lust of his eyes (2) and the boasting of what he has and does (3)--comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
Note how John sums up “everything in the world” in just three things. Three is the number which symbolizes “a complete witness,” so within the parameters of 1st John 2, we have a complete witness of “everything in the world”; “the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does.” Our word “cravings” and “lust” are the same Greek word in the King James, defined by Strong’s as, “A longing (especially for what is forbidden).” “Longing” is just another way of saying “desire.” When we compare these three things to the temptation of Eve (and Adam) in Genesis, Chapter 3, we have a match.
Genesis 3:6 (NKJV)
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (correlates with the cravings of sinful man), that it was pleasant to the eyes (correlates with the lust of his eyes), and a tree desirable to make one wise (correlates with the boasting of what he has and does), she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
As we see, “good for food” equates to the “lust of the flesh” or “cravings of sinful man,” while “pleasant to the eyes” correlates with the “lust of his eyes.” Finally, “a tree desirable to make one wise” aligns with “the boasting of what he has and does.” Another way of describing these three things is appetite, avarice, and ambition, where “appetite” describes our desires for the things of this world, “avarice” describes our intense desires to have more than we truly need, and “ambition” describes the fuel for these excessive longings.
Careful consideration of John’s description of “everything in the world” shows how our “cravings” or “lust” or “desires” lead to “sin.” It’s due to “the boasting” of what we have and what we do, what the King James renders as “pride of life.” Our word “pride” is defined as, “Braggadocio, i.e. (by implication) self-confidence.” Google defines “braggadocio” simply as, “Boastful or arrogant behavior.” This, my friends, is what causes desire to “give birth to sin.” This aligns with “ambition,” which in this instance could be defined as “an exaggerated sense of self-worth.”
Beloved, what we have and do is just another way of expressing the idea of exchange. This being true, consider what the Lord Jesus said in the following.
Matthew 16:24-26 (NKJV)
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
In keeping with our divine principle of sowing and reaping, we should also realize that what we have and do equates to this principle, where sowing is what we do and reaping is what we have or receive back from our actions. Again, this is an exchange, just as Jesus taught in our previous passages. “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?”