You Always Reap What You Sow (Galatians 6:7-10)

Reap what you Sow

The Laws of the Harvest

Ever get frustrated by the Laws you can’t change? If you could change a law, which one would it be? Would it be a traffic law? Ever notice how a yellow light means step on it? Or turning right on a red–people use the ooze technique? Maybe you’d like to change the law of time—you get more time for that late homework assignment or to get ready for the big test and watch a movie too? Have you noticed when you wait for your homework to go away, it never does?

Maybe you want to change the law of gravity so you can fly? Some window washers were doing their job, when one man stumbled and fell. While falling, he grabbed his coat and used it as a parachute and actually floated back up to the roof. His partner was amazed, so his friend explained that the wind was just right and it always blew him back up–he should try it.

So the man grabbed his coat, stepped off the roof and fell twenty stories straight down, screaming in terror–only to land unharmed in a huge bin of sponges. One man watching this from across the street asked his fellow worker, what’s going on over there? “Oh,” he said, “just Superman up to some more practical jokes.”

You just can’t beat the law of gravity–it just doesn’t work. Can you think of another law you can’t change? I’ve learned a lot about one law through gardening. I’ve learned much about life from that little slice of nature. In fact, there are many truths from Scripture that can only be learned from the farmer, because that was the culture that gave the Bible its illustrations. The one law the garden taught me is a law which cannot be ignored–it is a law that cannot be violated. And it is found in Galatians chapter 6:7 to 10. Let’s read it aloud.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from his flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. 10So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those of the household of faith.”

When Paul says we will reap what we sow, what does he mean? Is it profound, deep and amazing? No–to sow means to plant or throw seeds. To reap means to harvest. There is nothing amazing about it–when you plant, you expect a seed to grow. The point of these verses is this–our lives are the same. The context makes this pointed–when we live by the deeds of the flesh, or depend on the Spirit to produce His fruit through us, there will be consequences–there is no escape.

Christian, hear me now–salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone does not deliver you from the consequences of your choices. Rob a bank, you can be saved—but you’ll still go to jail. Our present conduct determines our future condition. Each of you bears responsibility for your own behavior—reap and sow. If you live consistently by the flesh, you reap judgment. If you live continually by the Spirit, you reap eternal life.

If you dabble in the flesh as a Christian, there are consequences. Paul gives you an unbreakable law–you reap what you sow. Every aspect of your life is a sowing process. Now if this is true (and it is), why would you still get involved sexually, speed, gossip, live indifferent, or lie? The answer is–because of point number one . . .

#1  The LIES

Look at verse 7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” Why do we do things, think things and feel things that will lead to certain negative consequences? Answer . . . because we are deceived. Paul commands the Galatians, “Do not be deceived.” The Greek word deceived means to cause to wander or go astray–it gives us the English word planet. Ancient astronomers saw planets wandering in the sky in contrast to fixed stars. It comes to mean those who wander from truth into self-deception or doctrinal error. Paul literally says, “Do not be continually led astray or self-deceived.”

The tense tells us, do not be pressed to embrace this lie. What lie? The lie that there are no consequences to your choices. This is the most popular falsehood of our times–what is it? That you can do whatever you want and not be held accountable, nor suffer certain consequences–that you can sow to the flesh and not pay a negative price–that you can keep speeding, but not get a ticket or crash–that you can gossip and not have it damage others or be repeated–that you can do drugs and not get hooked or damage yourself–that you can have sex outside of marriage and not permanently harm others or experience massive guilt.

Daily, you’re drenched, through media, secular education, unsaved friends with the lies of humanism and hedonism–that there is no God and pleasure is the number one goal of life. Daily on Earth you’re pressed with the deceitful maxim that selfishness and greed are good–it’s your identity. So Paul adds this warning in verse 7, “God is not mocked.” Literally, Paul warns his readers to not attempt to turn your nose up at God and treat Him with contempt. When you try to beat the harvest law, you’re ridiculing God–you are literally sneering at God. When you attempt to evade His harvest law, it’s as if you are trying to outsmart the Lord and make Him look ridiculous. By trying to beat His law; you’re attempting to prove God wrong.

Deceived and mocked are passive–it is happening to you. You and I are constantly bombarded with, “There is no God,” and . . . “There is no Law–there is No Absolute Ruler and no Absolute Law.” But look what Paul states in verse 7, “For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” You cannot beat God not change His harvest law.

Watch a trash movie, it will affect your thinking. Dwell on evil thoughts, and it will change your behavior. Feel sorry for yourself and it will warp your friendships. Cheat on your homework or lie on official papers and there will be a price to pay down the road. Treat church as an option, remain as a spectator, don’t engage in serving with your giftedness, don’t give, don’t pray, don’t fellowship–and you will reap the consequences of weakness.

On the other hand, live a life of dependent obedience, trust only in God’s Word, rely completely on His Spirit and you will reap fruit, ministry, wisdom and the blessing of God. You cannot beat this law–you cannot prove God wrong. You put seed in the ground and you will reap–you reap what you sow. Jeremiah warns in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” So Christian, never allow yourself to think that God does not deal severely with sin in the lives of His children–even with the Galatians and their sin of legalism, which substitutes man’s works for God’s work. You reap what you sow–it’s an unbreakable law.

#2  The LAWS

Allow me to show you at least four of the unbreakable biblical laws of the harvest (there are more). The choices you make today will affect your future.

First  You reap ONLY what you sow

Verse 7 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” No seed means no crop. If you’re apathetic, bored with Christ or Christianity, or there is nothing going on spiritually in your life, it’s because there has been no fruitful sowing going on. There are consequences to no personal Bible study, no prayer, no giving, and no service–you’re reaping no harvest because there is no sowing going on. You reap only what you sow.

Imagine a garden with incredible preparation, but no seed-sowing. So after a couple of months, the dirt will look pretty boring and the weeds will become discouraging. But plant some seeds, water, fertilize–and soon there will be fruit, because you get back what you put in. If your Christian life ever becomes a drag, a waste, with no fruit (no joy, no taste)–remember, fruit comes from sowing seed, cultivation, effort and work.

Fruit comes from prayer, encouraging others in the Word of God, sharing the Gospel, using your giftedness in service, giving, fellowship, all of it allowing the Spirit to work through you. Fruit is Christ showing Himself through your life. But you cooperate, you depend, you serve, you plan. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Think about the most godly person you know–they did not get that way without big sowing, great dependent effort. So now, what you see, is what they have reaped. Look at your own life–if you see little fruit of character or service or blessing, ask yourself, “Have I been sowing?”

Last week, verse 6 exhorted us to give financially–any response by you? Any real sowing going on with your giving? One of the reasons Jean and I give sacrificially with over 95% directed toward this church and its members is because we want to sow where God is reaping a harvest of genuine conversion and establishing the Church worldwide. What we sow now is already reaping in foreign countries through our missionaries and locally in our region through our children, student ministry, college, singles, CGs, jail, moms in the park, short term teams and much more.

Even more is happening that we can’t see, and that harvest causes us to want to give all the more. Yet there were times in the last three months when I was weary from commitments and heartache. Yet the Spirit wonderfully carried me through those times, motivated by the fact that what I am doing is eternal–it will last forever and someday I will reap what I sow.

Most of my pastor friends and many brothers and sisters I know outside of FBC would give their right arm to be in a place where they could serve and know for a fact it was really going to matter in eternity–where they could sow and know it would reap fruit. I thank God He has allowed me to be a part of a church that sees God produce fruit that we do week in and week out–not only now, but forever. But Paul is not finished describing the laws of the harvest, because he points out . . .

Second  You reap THE SAME THING you sow

Look at verse 8, “For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from his flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.” When you sow corn, you do not produce watermelon. When you sow apples, you do not reap oranges. When you sow beans, you do not harvest peaches. And sowing in the flesh means you do not reap the things of the Spirit.

If you sow spending, you will reap debt. I had a friend who was participating in a secret sin for six months before he repented. And it amazed me that it literally took him six months to fully grasp what he had done, because of self-deception. He sowed some serious sin and reaped a whirlwind of painful consequences. Sometimes, instead of choosing to love your wife or respect your husband, a spouse will expend so much effort trying to fix their partner, sowing strife, they reap a home full of continual tension.

Some believers are casual about their commitment to church–hit and miss with attendance, non-committal in service, with no giving at all. Then they wonder why their children are not interested in Christ–they reap what they sow. Men and women, if you sow in the flesh, you will reap in the flesh (you will reap the same thing you sow). God can and does forgive, but forgiveness does not remove the consequences of your actions or decisions.

Look at the life of David after he sowed in the flesh with Bathsheba. What happened to David’s life after he was forgiven, His children turned immoral and murderous–just like David was immoral and murderous. There was rebellion in the midst of his household and kingdom–just like he was rebellious to God. Forgiveness does not remove the consequences of your actions. You will reap after sowing sinful choices. “Do not be deceived.”

John Stott writes, “Every time we allow our mind to harbor a grudge, nurse a grievance, entertain an impure fancy, wallow in self-pity, we are sowing to the flesh. Every time we linger in bad company-whose insidious influence we know we cannot resist, every time we lie in bed when we ought to be praying, every time we watch porn, …we are sowing…to the flesh.” And we will reap!

Paul shows how your pattern of continual sowing will reap corruption or eternal life–look at verse 8, “For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from his flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.” If you are continually sowing in the flesh, you get corruption–a word used of decaying food, that horrible stuff which is left in the back of the fridge at work. Although genuine trust in Christ saves you from spiritual death, you can reap corruption as a believer. And Paul warns–if sowing flesh is your pattern, then you’re not genuine.

Because the contrast is this–if you sow in the Spirit, according to the Word of God and in God’s strength by the power of the Spirit, you will reap eternal life. Eternal life is life forever with Christ in Heaven. But it is mainly a quality of life enjoyed now. Like picking berries, they don’t all end up in the pie but are enjoyed by the picker. We enjoy the blessings of eternal life now.

As soon as we are born again, we enjoy eternal life. Eternal life refers mainly to quality, not duration. Paul warns here–though no sin can separate you from eternal life, yet any sin can corrupt your enjoyment of eternal life. That is why some Christians are the most miserable people–more miserable than an unbeliever. Why? Because your sin battles against your new born-again nature.

But sow a life of dependence in the Spirit through obedience to the Word and you’ll reap eternal life now. A man sows to the Spirit when he denies his own ambition, in order to serve others. A woman sows to the Spirit when she is reconciled to her sister in Christ. A husband and wife sow to the Spirit when they repent of their selfishness and begin to work together in a true spiritual partnership of oneness and roles. Verse 8 says sow to the flesh, you get corruption; and if the flesh is a way of life, then you get eternal condemnation. Sow to the Spirit, and you get eternal life now–and if it is continual, it shows you are heading to eternal Heaven.

Third  You reap in a DIFFERENT season than you sow

Look at verse 9, “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.” When I plant seeds in March, April, or May, I won’t see them produce veggies till August. Paul tells us there is a harvest time–an appointed time for a spiritual harvest. Both a negative harvest and a positive harvest. Think of the homosexual coming out of the closet–then a decade later, ten years later, AIDS ravaged that community. There was sowing–then later, reaping a painful consequence.

If you lie at work, cheat at school, drink at home, take drugs in secret, get sexually involved outside of marriage, remain apathetically indifferent or live a life of self-centeredness—harvest time is coming. Paul says, “Do not be deceived.” You will not get away with it–there will be consequences.

Paul states the law in verse 9 positively, as an encouragement. You reap in a different season than you sow. There used to be a commercial on TV for Fram oil filters which said, “You can pay me now or pay me later.” Harvest time is not now, but it is coming. That is why you should develop habits in your guy/gal relationships now that will strengthen your marriage later, not undermine it. You can develop new patterns in your marriage now that will keep you close as your children grow older. You can develop convictions in your walk with God now that will keep your heart tender to Christ later. You should develop some commitments in ministry now that will allow you to reap an eternal harvest later–but it won’t be easy. You must invest without immediate return.

The danger is our microwave culture–we want everything now. We get bored easily. We tire of faithfulness. We’ve removed endurance from our thinking. You have to be willing to serve, to give, to fellowship, to disciple with intentional relationship, to teach, to preach, to train, to pray, to share the Gospel, to counsel, to invest, seeing little fruit immediately and wondering if fruit will come. But you reap in a different season than you sow.

Paul exhorts you in verse 9 to not lose heart–don’t grow weary, don’t get exhausted nor give up, but keep on keeping on. If you labor for Christ, you will be rewarded. Verse 9 challenges you to keep your heart fresh and your service enduring, whether the season is delightful or difficult. First Corinthians 15:58, “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

Hebrews 6:10, “For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” Paul is not talking about salvation, but about blessing, and ultimately eternal reward. He is saying it is possible to serve God for a long time, then give up and lose blessing here and reward in glory. Jean and I have talked about this of late, especially when we get pressure to slow down. We remind ourselves, we want to run across the finish line, not crawl across it.

The apostle John warned in  2 John 8, “Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.” If you do not see much fruit now, remember harvest time is coming. Make choices now to invest into others. Commit to weekly ministry in order to serve others. Commit to daily prayer in order to impact others. Commit to investing God’s Word into those who disciple. Commit to giving to a church that trains and sends. Commit to encouraging missionaries on short term teams. Commit to greeting, caring, meeting brand new folks as opportunities to love the saints and share the Gospel.

You sow now and reap later. Some of you’ve stopped doing good; you’ve grown weary, you’ve lost heart. Today, let the Lord himself stir your heart toward ministry, consider faithful Christians, remember Christ’s promises. You’ll reap what you sow in the Spirit later. Be encouraged. I’m older, yet reminded weekly of reaping what you sow. And do you know what is so exciting about it?

Fourth  You will reap MORE THAN what you sow

I’ve planted one corn seed and I expect from that seed one stalk, and from that stalk I will get two to four cobs. You always reap more than you sow. Positively, as I serve, pray and give now, I am part of what God is doing here at FBC and all over the world. And someday, we will be shocked at how much fruit that yields.

Negatively, my sinful actions, thoughts, and words can also, and will also, produce horrible consequences. Sowing a few minutes of immoral pleasure–even just once, can reap a lifetime of guilt, deep hurt from your spouse, mistrust by family and friends; shame and disqualification. A moment of sowing can reap a lifetime of harvest. A single seed can produce a bumper-crop of consequence. Just a few words like, “I hate you” to your parents, or “I wish I never met you” to your spouse, or “I wish we’d never had you” to your children can leave permanent scars. Or one act of thievery, one night of drinking, one little lie, or one flirtation can reap horrific, ongoing consequences.

At the same time, a lifetime of faithful ministry, discipleship, teaching, training, loving, serving, sharing, praying, counseling, evangelizing, mentoring, investing, giving faithfully, week in and week out, will produce great fruit. Peter told Jesus he had given up everything to follow Him and Jesus said in Mark 10:29 and 30, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30but that he shall receive a hundred times [circle] as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” So what difference do these laws make?


Look at verses 9 and 10, “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. 10So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those of the household of faith.” Here Paul mentions the fact that your Christian life will take time (“in due time”) and effort (“do not grow weary”). The life of a Christian is life in the long haul. Christian, keep rowing your boat–do not take your oars out of the water or you will drift toward sin on the current of this world.

Sowing was not easy for Christ and will not be easy for you. Farming is difficult work, continual work, and patient work. So Paul shares the key to sowing and reaping–don’t lose heart in doing good. This is the Galatians–in the midst of false teachers promoting an errant gospel, savage attacks against the apostle Paul, and ten other major distractions, Paul exhorts, “Don’t stop doing good.”

Christian, not once every month, but every week, every day–don’t faint, don’t slack off, don’t give in to being tired or weak, don’t burn out, don’t allow opposition to wear you down. Why? Because God says in Isaiah 40:29 and 31, “He gives strength to the weary, and . . . 31those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

If you’re teaching and they’re not listening or sharing, and people are not responding by serving, and it seems to make no difference in loving, and no one cares. If in the classroom of life, no one gives you a star—there is no recognition, no affirmation, and no appreciation. Keep on serving, keep on doing good. The secret of sowing is knowing you will reap–now or later. But only if you do not grow weary—literally, if you do not relax, loosen up or allow yourself to get exhausted by evil.

It’s incredible, but true–whether you sow seeds or skip planting your garden this year, weeds will grow on their own. All you have to do is nothing–just cruise, and you’ll get weeds. Just coast, relax, take it easy, and take a break. Paul says, good seed must be sown. To produce fruit, effort must be put forth. Just living a normal Christian life means evil will keep popping its ugly head out of the ground and bothering us. To survive and thrive in the Christian life, not only must you remain faithful in ministry—doing good. But you must also never stop dealing with sin—weeds.

So Paul says, if you accept the laws of the harvest, then you must work now–be active in service to everyone while you have opportunity, while you are on Earth–this season. Paul is not talking about the opportunity of an occasional moment, but your life now as a Christian. Keep serving–this is your opportunity, right now, and only now. You won’t be sharing the Gospel with the lost in Heaven. And the more seed you sow, the less weeds will come up. The more you do good, the less time you have to do evil. Minister to all, and verse 10 emphasizes, especially to our brothers and sisters. The first test of our love for God is our love for His family, His children.

John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.” We cannot glorify Christ unless we love His children. We cannot serve the Lord unless we give to His family. We cannot witness the Gospel unless we are unified. We especially need to serve each other–Our Lord says to each of you, “The greatest among you will be the servant.” The Spirit gifted you to serve–Christ is seen only as we serve each other, so especially serve one another.

Today, so what if you failed to serve–so what if you grew weary and gave up? Maybe you lost heart, maybe others didn’t appreciate your efforts, maybe your family is demanding or work overwhelming or school crushing. The One who calls you to serve, God Himself, was born a man and lived as a servant, suffered beyond what you have ever experienced, then died for your sin rose from the dead–not only to save you, but to motivate you.

In 2 Timothy 2, Paul says the Christian life is like a farmer, in that it will take work–it takes work to sow. But then Paul gave the secret to our motivation to do the work of sowing, serving, giving, and loving–what was it? Second Timothy 2:8, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel.” Christ is our example, our motivation and our power to sow now, so that we will be able to reap later.


A  Don’t MESS with God

People who think they can live in secret sin and get away with it are fooling themselves. No one can mock God’s authority forever. Romans 2:6 to 8, “Who will render to each person according to his deeds: 7to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 8but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.”

If you are mocking God, you are like Goliath, and you know what happened to him–he lost his head. If you’re mocking God, you are like Herod, and you know what happened to Him–he was eaten by worms. Are you sowing the seeds of destruction? If you think you can get away with what you are doing, you are sadly mistaken–God is not mocked. There are only two choices if you are in ongoing sin–you are deceived and awaiting damnation, turn to Christ. Or you are disobedient and awaiting discipline–repent in Christ.

B  Do not DENY the laws of the HARVEST

The truth of sowing and reaping is not contradicted by the Gospel of grace. Jesus Christ is the ultimate demonstration of sowing and reaping. Christ sowed perfect righteousness and reaped eternal life, which He gives to those who trust in His finished work. The believer reaps eternal life because, in faith, he is united with Christ. But the believer is not exempt from all the consequences of his own sowing.

You, Christian, will never reap the ultimate consequences of sin, death and judgment, because the Lord already reaped those consequences for you. But you will continue to reap the earthly heartaches, wounds, shame, and the pain of your sins and foolishness. God’s law of cause and effect still operates in the lives of His children.

A genuine feeling of guilt reaped from sin is your best friend. Guilt is God’s warning something is wrong. When heeded, true guilt is purifying, because it prevents you from committing sin–or, after you have committed it, will direct you to repentance.

C  Embrace the sowing THEOLOGY

God is sovereign, but you are responsible, so start sowing. What does the Bible say? Philippians 2:12, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Sow, serve, give, minister, keep at it, never give up.

Sowing requires intentionality–it’s rarely accidental. Sowing requires faithfulness–it is not occasional. Sowing requires patience–it’s never instant. Sowing requires planning–it is not random. Sowing requires trust–you won’t see fruit for some time. Sowing requires faith–you have to believe God will use you.

But there is hope. Verse 13, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” God has prepared good works for you to do–people’s lives to impact, to love, to share, to teach, to disciple, to serve. Keep sowing good and trust the good Sovereign to produce His fruit.

D  Rely on the sowing POWER

It is sowing to the Spirit. You can’t sow to the Spirit unless you’re depending on the Spirit. You live relying on Him, obeying His Word, surrendering to His guidance and wanting only what He wants. To be filled with the Spirit, you must say to Him, “All of me is for all of you. I give all I am and all I have to be used for your glory.”

Sowing is not merely service, it is Spirit-filled service. Sowing in the Spirit is not merely discipling, it’s Spirit-directed discipling, Spirit-enabled serving, Spirit-energized greeting. Nothing you or I do will ever reap God-honoring fruit unless it’s done in the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God. Let’s pray.

About Chris Mueller

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.

1 Comment

  1. Mary Rose on May 27, 2023 at 3:34 am

    great article it encourages me. I was told if you ask forgiveness you will not reap what you sow. is that biblical? thank you

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