How are things in your family? Are you wondering where all the anger and strife and fear is coming from? Today AMBrewster unwraps a well-known Truth and helps Christian parents discover some deep realities they may not have known were there.
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I know that my line of work puts me in contact with very hurting families — hard cases that are broken and feel constantly hopeless.
And I know that some of you are in that position right now.
However, others of you are truly enjoying what you believe to be the good life. Money isn’t tight, your children are succeeding, and your marriage is flourishing.
On top of that, we’re all so different. Though our sins may be similar, the unique mixture of personality and philosophy produces a nearly endless spectrum of humanity. A testament — no doubt — to our Lord’s creativity and sins destructive capabilities.
And yet, God’s Word is relevant and applicable to us all.
It meets us exactly where we need it.
You may have children who take too long in the bathroom or your daughter may have gotten an abortion.
Your son may cry when he’s dropped off at school or he may throw a book through the window when he doesn’t get his way.
Your two year old may have discovered the word “no,” or your sixteen year old may have cut herself.
Regardless, God’s Word has the answers.
And that’s why we’re here today.
But before we continue, if TLP has been blessing to you and your family, will you please take a moment to rate and review us on iTunes. If would be such a blessing.
Okay, so what beautiful Truth does the Bible have for us today.
You don’t have to know anything about the Bible to be familiar with the phrase, “You reap what you sow.”
But what was God trying to communicate by that Truth?
The principle is simple enough. If you plant corn, you’re not going to reap pears. You’re going to reap corn.
The most famous passage to teach this lesson is Galatians 6:7-10; which says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 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. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
There is so much going on in this passage, but I am going to save its exegesis for the end.
First, we’re going to look quickly at eight other passages.
The first three I want to read all illustrate the consequences of sowing sin.
Job 4:8, “As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.”
Proverbs 22:8, “Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity.”
Hosea 8:7, “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”
That last verse is talking about sowing vanity — that which is worthless — and reaping destruction.
1. Here’s our first Truth for the day.
Mark it down, dads and moms, sin hurts. When you sin against your family, you will reap destruction.
This happens when we parent in anger or fear or depression.
This happens when we selfishly argue for our own way.
This happens when we sacrifice our actions, words, emotions, and thoughts on the Altar to Self.
And the same goes for your kids.
You may be listening today with a heavy heart because you feel like you’re reaping nothing but pain and misery in your marriage.
You may feel that relationships with your children are nothing but tense, rocky, heated, and broken.
If that’s the case, you know that sin is an issue.
“Of course!” you say. “I knew that!”
But, my friends, don’t assume that the sin is being sown merely by your children or spouse. Yes, you child is rebelling by refusing to eat her broccoli. Yes, your junior higher is being lazy at school. Yes, your seventeen year old refuses to introduce you to his friends.
They are sinning, and they are reaping the consequences of that. And some of those consequences are going to affect you.
But — and, dear friend, please listen — I have never yet counseled a troubled child with perfect parents.
There’s a reason our second episode was entitled “Why’s it Always about Me?” On that show we tackled the reality that every time I meet with parents to talk about their child, undoubtedly the Lord has an important Truth to which He wants the parents to submit.
I am a flawed individual who would be an absolute fool to think that issues with my son are all on my son. It doesn’t matter that I have a master’s degree in biblical counseling. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been counseling families for over ten years. It doesn’t matter that I work in a home for at-risk teens. And it doesn’t matter that I host a podcast for Christian parents.
God needs to do a work of grace and sanctification in me. And when I’m reaping the consequences on sin in my home, it’s my responsibility to look to me first.
I must deal with the log in my own eye before I address the splinter in another’s.
So, that’s the first call to us today.
If you feel as though you’re reaping more calamity than joy, please search your heart. Pray with David the last part of Psalm 139: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
And — you know what — I’m not saying you’re always going to find something. Your children may be completely at fault for the bitter harvest in your home. But don’t assume it.
Alright, number two:
2. Sowing sin will always result in calamity, but sowing righteousness will always result in the fruit of the Spirit.
Hosea 10:12 says, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love.”
But here’s the caveat: the consequences of sin are always experienced internally and are often experienced externally.
However, the fruit of righteousness is always experienced internally and only sometimes externally.
If the prosperity gospel were a real thing, you would imagine that Jesus would have been the most prosperous Man on the earth. No one was more loving and kind and committed to the will of the Father.
Yet despite the fact that he sowed divine righteousness absolutely everywhere He went, He still seemed to reap nothing but destruction, hatred, and calamity.
The same is true with the author of Hosea. In episode 135 we talked about Hosea Parenting, and — if you remember — Hosea sowed a lot of love, but didn’t reap it back from his wife.
But the beautiful reality is that the Fruit of the Spirit is an internal thing that bubbles out of us onto others. It may result in encouraging people to be nice to us, but it may also motivate them to hate us.
God promises peace in me, not always around me. He promises love in me, not always toward me. He promises grace over me, not always to me from others.
This makes the reaping of righteousness a little harder to quantify, but it also is a guaranteed harvest.
Picture this: your middle schooler may be sowing sin and reaping consequences — one of which includes a lack of trust from you — but you can simultaneously be sowing righteousness and be reaping joy despite the fact that things are hard at home.
God never promised that your good behavior would result in a perfect family. He promised that your faithful service to Him would result in true soul rest.
If you’d like know more about how you can have peace in your parenting, we did a whole series on Peaceful Parenting. It starts in episode 69. You can also check out TruthLoveParent.com to learn find a list of all of our studies.
Here’s the point, when you look around your home at the broken drywall, the failing report card, the arguing in the other room, and the tense family dinner, you can know that it’s the result of sin in your home. It’s impossible for there to not be people sowing unrighteousness.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be reaping the rewards of a Christ-honoring life exhibited by the Fruit of the Spirit and the various other Sanctification Lists all throughout Scripture.
Alright, moving on.
3. Sowing the Gospel results in a harvest of souls.
Romans 1:13-15 says, “I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.”
Paul wanted to sow the Gospel so that more people would come to Christ.
We talk about this a lot, but it’s important to note that even Jesus refers to the fields of lost souls being ready for harvest.
If you truly want to sow joy in your home, you must never cease to sow the glorious Gospel of our great God and Savior.
I Corinthians 9:11 adds another interesting layer to this concept. Paul asks the Corinthians, “If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?”
He’s referring to the legitimate expectation that the Corinthians should be more than happy to support Paul since he invested in them so heavily. Of course, Paul also did everything he could to not be a burden to people.
But the point is, when we sow God’s Word into people’s lives, it only makes sense that we would reap both the internal and external benefits. One of the points Paul was trying to make is that when there is no external evidence of a supposed internal change, perhaps the internal change never really took place.
Now, I want to discuss two more points and then end with our Galatians passage.
4. Sowing righteousness does not always equate to immediate joy.
This makes sense when you consider agriculture. You can plant corn at the beginning of the season, but it’s going to be months before you’ll harvest anything.
I meet many parents who seem to think that their kids will turn around if mom and dad just employ a few new tactics.
But Psalm 126:5 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!”
The sowing may be hard. It may be long. It may be painful. But if we sow that which glorifies God, we know we will reap His promises.
And number 5. Don’t expect to put little effort into your sowing and yet reap an abundance.
In II Corinthians 9:6 we read, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
I also interact with a number of parents who legitimately expect that their occasional attendance in church, infrequent family devotions, and irregular devotion to God should be enough to produce pristine children.
“I sent them to a good Christian school! What more do they want?!”
Now, before we finish off today, let me encourage you to share this episode. Everyone you know may be familiar with the principle of sowing and reaping, but we sure don’t live like it sometimes.
And don’t forget that we have free episode notes on our blog, Taking Back the Family. You can find that at TruthLoveParent.com
Okay, so let’s recap our 5 lessons about sowing and reaping.
1. If you sow sin, you’ll reap calamity. It always takes a toll on a person internally, and it almost always hurts everyone in the blast radius.
2. If you sow righteousness, you’ll reap the Fruit of the Spirit. This is always experienced internally, but it’s not always felt within the situation, relationships, and experiences of life.
And sometimes, we may not reap the rewards until we leave this earth.
3. Sowing the Gospel will always produce a harvest.
4. Sowing righteousness does not always equate to immediate joy.
And 5. Don’t expect to put little effort into your sowing and yet reap an abundance.
Now, let’s reconsider Galatians 6:7-10. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
It’s a universal principle. We can take it to the bank that you will reap what you sow, but you can also work it backward. If the produce of your family is pain and consequences then you know disobedience, selfishness, and pride is being sown.
The passage continues: “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.”
This is not only a reaffirmation of the fact that spiritual sowing reaps eternal reward, but we need to see the direction of the sowing.
Fleshly sowing is spreading seeds toward oneself in one’s own power. You’ll never reap anything more than fleshly, selfish, impotent fruit.
But when you sow to the Spirit, away from self in the power of God, how could you not reap something divine — something that you could never reap on your own?
And then Paul says,“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Once again we see that it’s an easy temptation to give up when we’re sowing righteousness. It’s easy to grow weary and want to give up.
This happens as we sow Truth and Bible and love into our kids on a daily basis, but we seem to get nothing from it.
That happens, though, because we’re looking in all the wrong places for the harvest. What you’re sowing in your children may result in them submitting to Christ and serving Him. But you may sow Truth and love and have them reject you and God.
If you sow Truth and love into your kids, but expect that the harvest will be reaped in their increased obedience and respect, you’re mistaken. The righteousness you sow will be reaped inside. You will be joyful despite their anger. You’ll be at peace in the middle of their terror tactics. You’ll be content even though things aren’t going the way you’d desire.
We get weary of well doing when we try to harvest where God never promised we would reap. That’s like sowing corn in your field and wondering why you can’t find a single ear in your neighbor’s orchard.
And then Paul, under the inspiration of God say, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Sow righteousness, my friends. Sow goodness. Sow love. Sow Truth.
God will keep His promises if we don’t grow weary.
Back in episode 39 we talked about “The Indispensable Parenting Tool Called Revolving Priorities.”
Recently in my counseling and interaction with people, I’ve been reminded over and again the importance of this tool.
So, next time we’re going to review Revolving Priorities, but then we’re going to deconstruct two passages in order to see how beautifully Revolving Priorities can keep us on track in our parenting.
And don’t forget that you can contact us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com any time for all the email assistance we can be.
But don’t forget that we also offer Skype counseling. There is a cost associated with that, but I promise you that it’s lower than almost any other biblical counselor, and extraordinarily less expensive than a secular counselor.
We want nothing more than to sow as much Truth and love into your lives as possible, and we’ll trust God for the increase.
See you next time.
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