Everyone’s a farmer. We’re always sowing and reaping, planting and harvesting, putting down seeds and taking up crops. We just do so with our thoughts, words, and actions. That was Paul’s sentiment in Galatians 6:7-9.
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.
Gal. 6:7-9 ESV
It’s the most basic farming truth: you get what you plant. If this is so obvious, then why does Paul say it? Because we habitually ignore or forget that we are farmers, not just sometimes but all the time. You are a farmer right now. By reading these words, you are sowing. You are planting thoughts that will germinate into words and sprout into actions. The correlation isn’t always direct and simple, of course. Some seeds lie dormant for months or years. But in due season, you will reap.
The Seed of God’s Presence
Let’s apply this to the thought of God’s presence. There are two seeds to choose from: a great lie and a great truth. The great lie is that God isn’t present with you, at least not in any way that matters. You’re on your own. If you’re in a room by yourself, then you are by yourself. That’s a lie that originates with Satan. He’s always in the fields with you, seeking to sabotage. He wants to convince you through any means possible that God is not with you, that God is not Lord over your every muscle movement, that his holy presence is off somewhere else, that no one is watching you.
The great truth is that God is always present. Everywhere. In fact, if you believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, God isn’t just with you; he’s inside you. His presence pervades the whole world—rock, river, and reed. Everything reflects him (Rom. 1:20). Everything speaks about him (Ps. 19:1-4). We live in a God atmosphere (Acts 17:28). The fact that you don’t feel God’s presence sometimes doesn’t change a thing.
But remember, you’re the farmer. You choose which seed to sow. You reap the crop you put in the ground. Satan would have us sow the great lie and reap frustration, bitterness, and anxiety. And he loves when we reap the illusion of independence. That’s his favorite, I think. That’s how the whole world fell into chaos.
Now, if you sow the great truth, what will you reap? This would fall under “sowing to the Spirit,” since the Spirit is “the Spirit of truth” (John 16:13). And so in the end, you know you will reap “eternal life.” But you’ll reap much more in the present as well.
Your thoughts can be shepherded by God’s presence. You can submit every thought to his Lordship, asking him to filter out Satan’s lies with the great truth of holy redemption and promise. “God, I feel like a failure.” God’s presence says, “In Christ you’re a success, and I love you.” “God, I’m not changing.” God’s presence says, “In simply asking that question, you show you already are.” “God, I don’t know the way through this suffering.” God’s presence says, “I am the way. Stay close to my words.”
Your words can be shepherded by God’s presence, giving grace to those who hear them (Eph. 4:29). When someone near you doubts and despairs, God’s presence will give you the words to inspire faith and ignite hope, to affirm meaning and encourage joy. Numerous times, I’ve been able to love others simply by writing out or speaking a Scripture-steeped prayer for them. “God, bless Carol with the patience she needs to persevere in this relationship, to encourage and build up even when she’s attacked and torn down, just as you did for us.”
Your actions can be shepherded by God’s presence. You can give yourself for someone else, knowing that the God who gave himself for you is right there, smiling. When you’d rather blast the radio, you can call the friend who has been reaching out and offer a gift of listening for 30 minutes. God will be there, working through your listening.
Sowing the seed of God’s presence has the potential to revolutionize your life, to put God at the center of everything, where he belongs.
The alternative is to sow the great lie, and I shudder to think of what you’ll reap there. Sow the good seed. Take joy in farming. God is with you.
More awaits you in The Great Lie
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