Spiritual Fruit Trees
[Read Galatians 5:1–6:18]
4 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct. 6 Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. 7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.
Some people are just destined to leave things better off than they found them. Take, for instance, John Chapman—the real-life orchardist who inspired the Johnny Appleseed legend. Chapman spent forty years of his life traveling across western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana sowing apple seeds. Undoubtedly, many people benefited from the fruits of his labor.
Paul, too, spent much of his adult life sowing seeds. In this reading, he teaches the Galatians about sowing and reaping. He also teaches them how to distinguish between fruit produced by evil and fruit produced by the Holy Spirit. The difference, not surprisingly, is tremendous. As you read, note that all believers are seed-planters, tree-growers, and fruit-pickers. How’s your spiritual fruit?
Most people know the eternal consequences of living a life of sin. But we may not be aware of the immediate consequences of our sins. For instance, when we lie or bend the truth, we do not consider how our credibility will be damaged when the truth eventually gets out. A credibility problem is only the beginning of other problems that may result, such as losing others’ trust and friendship, losing a job, or damaging family relationships. All of these consequences could be one kind of immoral “crop.” Just think about the negative results of other sinful behaviors. They are overwhelming. By contrast, “those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit” (Galatians 6:8). When we do this, we will not only reap the benefits of eternal life, but we will also give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to produce good fruit in us (5:22-23).
What kind of seeds are you sowing in your life? Are you sowing to please your own desires? Or are you sowing to please God? If you are planting a selfish crop, try planting one that pleases God. Then have the patience to see how much more bountiful that crop will be in comparison to your own.