Sow To The Spirit – Reap Eternal Life!
By Rich Carmicheal
This issue of the Herald focuses on the Person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. While other articles will focus on the various aspects of His work and how absolutely indispensable He is to our life and ministry in Christ, I draw your attention to the Apostle Paul’s words: “…He who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Gal. 6:8).
In light of how precious and essential the gift of the Holy Spirit is to us, we should be very careful to do all that we can to welcome His presence and His work in our lives. We are to set our minds on the things of the Spirit, not on the things of the flesh (Rom. 8:5-6). We are to “walk in the Spirit,” not fulfilling the lust of the flesh (Gal. 5:16), but doing the things that please God (1 Thes. 4:1). We need to be very sensitive and respond to all the Spirit says (Rev. 2:7), including His warning to not harden our hearts toward the Lord (Heb. 3:7-8).
The Word and Prayer
One of the ways we sow to the Spirit is by sowing the Word of God into our lives. The Word of God is “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) and He works through it to bring forth life in us (1 Thes. 2:13). As Jesus teaches, “…He who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matt. 13:23). With this in mind, let us “receive with meekness the implanted word” which is able to save our souls, being “doers of the word, and not hearers only…” (Jas. 1:21-22).
In an hour when more and more people are turning away from sound doctrine and the truth (2 Tim. 4:3-4), we need to be even more diligent to read the Word of God, to study it, to take it to heart, to obey it, and to proclaim it. As we do, the Holy Spirit will be faithful to teach us (John 14:26) and to work through the Scripture to bring any needed reproof and correction in our lives, to train us in righteousness, and to equip us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
We also sow to the Spirit through our prayer life. The Bible instructs us to pray “always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18). And when in our weakness we do not know how to pray as we should, we are to depend upon the Spirit to intercede for us in accordance to the will of God (Rom. 8:26-27). Just imagine how far-reaching the impact of prayer is that is offered to the Lord in the Spirit and through the intercession of the Spirit! What harvest would be possible both now and for eternity if we relied more fully upon the Holy Spirit in our prayers for our loved ones, our churches, our communities and our nation?
We also sow to the Holy Spirit, as one person has written, when we, “under the guidance and influences of the Holy Spirit, live a life of faith in Christ, and abound in Christian graces.” Or, to paraphrase another, we sow to the Spirit when we share our resources, or spend our time, strength, talents, whatsoever God has given us, for the glory of God, in obedience to the commands and direction of the Spirit and the revelation of God’s will. Paul says, in the immediate context of Galatians 6:8, that we are to share all good things with those who teach us the Word (v. 6), and to do good toward all, especially believers (vv. 9-10). With this in mind, “…Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
Sow Bountifully, Reap Bountifully
One of God’s principles regarding sowing and reaping is that “he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6). I encourage you to become as serious with the Holy Spirit as you ever have. Sow bountifully to Him and yield your life fully to Him. Be careful how you walk, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil. …Do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And…be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:15-18).
Ask the Heavenly Father for more of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in your life, knowing that He is eager to give this precious gift without measure (John 3:34; Luke 11:13). Be serious about turning away from any and all sin, avoiding anything that would in any way grieve the Spirit (Eph. 4:30). “Do not quench the Spirit. ...Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thes. 5:19-22). Confess any sin in your life to the Lord and ask Him to cleanse you (Psa. 51:1-11).
Fill your mind and heart with the Word of God. Devote yourself to prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you as you pray. Ask for more of the fruit of the Spirit to be produced in your life. Live “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2-3). Ask the Lord to sanctify you completely – spirit, soul and body – knowing that God calls you to holiness and gives His Holy Spirit to you (1 Thes. 4:7-8; 5:23).
The Gift of Eternal Life
And as you sow to the Spirit, rejoice in the great reward you will reap – eternal life! “…He who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” While we often think of eternal life as being the gift to live forever, it is much more than this. Jesus says to His Father, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). The Apostle John adds that “the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). Jesus came that we “may have life, and…have it more abundantly” (John 10:10) – and He Himself is the life! (1 John 1:1-2; John 14:6). This gift of eternal life begins even now in this present age (John 3:36; 1 John 5:11) and finds its glorious fulfillment in the age to come which lasts forever (Mark 10:30; Jude v. 21).
Praise the Lord for the eternal life that is in the Son and for the eternal Spirit who gives this life to us! (John 6:63). Let us sow bountifully to the Spirit, rejoicing that from our innermost being “will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38), “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).
Pray for One Another
The Herald staff gives thanks to the Lord for the love in the Spirit that many of you have toward us and that we have toward you. Perhaps we could offer the following heartfelt words by the Apostle Paul as our prayer for one another:
“...I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:14-19).