The Principles of the Harvest
As the Apostle Paul takes us through the application of the doctrine of grace in Galatians chapter six, he shifts his focus from what grace obligates us to do (restore others (6:1), bear one another’s burdens (6:2), walk in humility (6:3-5), and liberally support local church pastors who faithfully teach God’s Word (6:6)), to making make sure we understand grace doesn’t excuse disobedience! God’s grace is never a license to sin, it’s freedom from a life of sin. Furthermore, God’s grace is the opportunity and power to live in and experience His life right now, in the world he placed under the rule of sin and Satan. Therefore, Paul wants to make sure we understand how that works, that is that we understand the universal law that everything in the universe operates under. It’s called the Law of the Harvest. The grace of God doesn’t free us from this law, but rather it empowers us to prosper in it! Paul writes,
7 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. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10)
“I find, in reference to Luther’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians and to Calvin’s commentary on this passage, that both those learned expositors consider that this refers to the treatment of ministers by their people in the matter of their financial support. ... But I feel sure that the apostle had a wider range than that, and that these words express a general principle of sowing and reaping.”14Spurgeon, C. (2013). Galatians. (E. Ritzema, Ed.) (Ga 6:7). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Galatians 6:7-10 gives us 4 principles about the Law of the Harvest.
(1) THE SEED YOU SOW DETERMINES THE TYPE OF PRODUCE HARVESTED. (6:7B)
7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (6:7)
Concerning the Greek word translated as “mocked,” K.S. Wuest noted that it, “means ‘to turn up the nose, to ridicule, to ignore, to sneer.’15Wuest, K. S. (1997).Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader(Vol. 3, pp. 171–172). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
When Paul says God cannot be mocked in verse seven, he means you cannot break laws that God made to be unbreakable, because if you could, then you would have proof to accuse God of not being all-powerful and sovereign, and as such not God at all. But, because He is all-powerful and sovereign, the laws He has created to govern existence cannot be changed or broken.
Consequently, if the laws that God created for the universe to operate under, cannot be broken, then a person who lives as if they can break them will find themselves broken by them. For instance, those who believe they can break the laws of gravity soon find out in their pain that they can’t! On this, R.J. Utley noted,
“We do not so much break God’s law as much as we break ourselves on God’s law. Be it known, believer or unbeliever, we reap what we sow. Sin always runs its course, even in the life of believers. Wild oats are very, very expensive—so, too, is self-centered sowing! This is a spiritual principle. God is ethical-moral and so is His creation. Humans break themselves on God’s standards.”16Utley, R. J. (1997).Paul’s First Letters: Galatians and I & II Thessalonians(Vol. Volume 11, pp. 65–66). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.
Therefore, whatever seed you plant is the kind of fruit you’re going to get with such certainty that it is impossible to get any other kind of fruit. It is impossible to plant corn and get tomatoes. You can’t plant apples and get bananas. It’s a universal Law of the Harvest that GOD created as unbreakable, so much so, that all who try and disobey it will end up a mockery themselves. For instance, if you run around bragging that you planted apple seeds that are going to produce strawberries, in the end, you, not God, will be the one who is ridiculed.
Practically this creates a very serious reality in our lives. It means if you plant sin, or even religion in the name of Jesus, and expect to reap and experience the abundant life that is found in God alone, then you need to know God will not be mocked; you will not reap it!
Now understand, that obeying the moral and ethical laws of the Bible never reaps redemption from the curse of sin because there is no law you can follow that overcomes the curse.
Note: 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
The only one who planted a seed, that is, did a work that can produce redemption and salvation for us, is Jesus! His death was the seed that was planted that reaped eternal life through His resurrection.
23 And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:23-24)
Therefore, the only seed, that is the only work, that can produce the fruit of salvation is the work of Christ, because His work is the only one that contains eternal life in the first place. When the seed of eternal life was planted it bore eternal life! However, you and I are void of eternal life, therefore no manner of sacrifice or work can produce it, as such, no one can work their way to heaven with moral and ethical living.
But, not being able to earn salvation doesn’t mean moral and ethical living doesn’t bear fruit of its kind in this life, in the same way, that immoral and unethical living certainly bears fruit of its kind in this life. Whether it be believers or unbelievers, if you are spending your life planting seeds of sexual immorality, greed, jealousy, materialism, image-based value, selfishness, or whatever sinful moral or ethic you're sowing, then you need to confidently expect the effort of planting those seeds will reap more of the same thing in your life and others.
And understand this, the fruit of your life, that is what the harvest of your life produces, does not simply affect you. The first purpose of fruit is to reproduce the vine, and as such, multiply the production of that fruit in the next season. Fruit contains seeds. When the fruit falls to the ground the skin and meat of the fruit around the seeds feed and protect the seeds as it decomposes, and as such, helps the seed fulfill its purpose of becoming a new plant that produces the same kind of fruit – one seed, in turn, creates exponentially more fruit. The point is that the sin and rebellion of your life will not just reap a harvest of sin and rebellion into your life, but it will also affect others. Likewise, a moral and ethical life reaps the fruit of a moral and ethical life into yours and others. That should never be confused with earning favor with God, but it is noticeably different from a life that is willingly committed to planting the seeds of an unethical and immoral life. God made the world to work a certain way and as such it can’t not work that way.
This is why the moral and ethical character of a political candidate matters. It has nothing to do with a nation being right with God because no manner of obeying morals and ethics can redeem a country into a right relationship with the Lord, but it does impact the experience of living in that country. If you plant the seeds of unethical self-serving behavior, you will reap that which is unethical and self-serving, both as a reality for yourself and others. For leaders, the impact of the harvest impacts all under your leadership – whether that’s the impact on your children as a parent, the impact on your business as a business owner, the impact on the local church as a pastor, or on a nation as a President. It's why Solomon wrote,
16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning! 17 Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility, and your princes feast at the proper time, for strength, and not for drunkenness! (Ecclesiastes 10:16-17)
1 He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing. 2 When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan. 3 He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth. 4 By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts [(receives bribes)] tears it down. (Proverbs 29:1-4)
But the Laws of the Harvest are more complex than what is found in this principle alone. In Galatians 6, Paul reveals another key principle to the law of the Harvest that has a tremendous impact on spirituality and life.
(2) THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF THE HARVEST ARE A RESULT OF THE SOIL. (6:8)
I geeked out a little the day I did the final manuscript of this sermon and read a bunch of stuff on the impact of soil quality. Let me share two quotes that help set up what we are going to learn from Galatians 6:8, The Penn State Agricultural extension website states, “Soil quality is how well soil does what we want it to do. Soil quality is the capacity of a specific kind of soil to function to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and support human health and habitation."17https://extension.psu.edu/introduction-to-soils-soil-quality
The National Library of Medicine has an article that talks about the impact of produce grown in low-quality soils. - “.. some of the world's nutritional insufficiency originates with soil nutrient limitation. … For example, human Zinc deficiency is correlated with soil Zinc deficiency in sub-Saharan Africa, some areas of South America and South and Southeast Asia. Micronutrient deficiency is one of the leading contributors to global disease burden, affecting approximately 50% of the world's population. Low levels of soil Zinc, Copper and Manganese, in particular, have been linked to increased child mortality.”18https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8349637/
The point is, the condition of the soil not only impacts the amount of produce that a seed can produce, but also the quality of what is produced. Now, as much as modern science has opened the door to understanding the depths of this reality, especially when it comes to human health, humanity didn’t need modern science to figure out the quality and quantity of a harvest is predicated on the quality of the soil. This fact has been known for millenniums and it’s why we see a variety of agricultural laws to protect the soil in the Mosaic Law. Jesus even used the knowledge of this principle as the basis of one of his more well-known parables. The Gospel of Luke records it this way,
4 And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: 5 "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold." As he said these things, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." … 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. (Luke 8:4-8; 11-15)
The point Jesus was making was alarming, in that the Word of God can be heard, and even believed by people, but still have no positive outcome, because the soil of their heart and life never prioritized it, and as such never held “it fast in an honest and good heart”. To hold the Gospel “fast in an honest and good heart” means to be defined, governed, led, and consumed by the Truth revealed by it, that is, who you are is now being willingly transformed by God rather than conformed to the desires of your flesh and a sinful world. Hearing the Word of God, nor even simply believing it to be true (something even the demons believe), bears the fruit of God’s life in and through you, but rather, only when the Gospel (The Word of God) is received with true repentance and dependence (good soil!).
This principle of the harvest that focuses on the impact of the soil on the seed was also used by Paul in the book of Galatians. Previously in Galatians 5, he wrote,
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-25)
Now, here in Galatians 6:8, Paul summarizes what he said in the previous chapter by writing,
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.
Essentially what Paul is writing in both Galatians 5 and 6 is that, if in your belief of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you plant that belief into the flesh, that is, you submit that belief to the leadership and influence of the desires of the flesh, then the outcome is going to be a disaster! A person can sow their belief in Gospel to the flesh, either by allowing themselves to be led by the desires of their flesh, or by twisting up the doctrine of Grace into some kind of religious practice that they falsely believe earns them favor with God or achieves some sort of higher level of spiritual maturity. Either way, the end is the same! A person who is sowing to the flesh will not reap spiritually healthy fruit. A person who has submitted their belief in the Gospel to the desires of the flesh will reap fruit diseased by sin because they are letting sin govern their life instead of the Gospel. The soil they are deriving life from is actually death, and thus the fruit of their life is the same despite their belief that the Gospel is true.
In addition, the fruit of those submitting their belief in the Gospel to religion, including Christian versions of it, may appear to produce the same as the fruit of the Spirit, but in the end, it is at minimum void of nutrients and at worse toxic and deadly. For instance, recently I had my house retreated for termites. The original part of our house was built in 2002 so I needed to renew my termite warranty. To do that the company that issued the warranty put down a new chemical barrier in the dirt that butts up to the foundation of my house to keep termites from getting in. The man who put the barrier down noticed my herb garden is up close to my house and as such he told us not to eat those herbs. The reason is despite the fact the herbs may grow and look beautiful; they will be toxic to eat! The chemicals in the termite barrier will leach out into the surrounding soil, and as such be absorbed by the plants in close proximity to it. It’s not toxic to plants, but it’s definitely not healthy for humans to eat! Those same plants in good soil provide great flavor and nutrients, but those plants in toxic soil can give you cancer! When you plant the Gospel into religion, the fruit may look the same but it is deadly! K.S. Wuest noted,
“The teachings of the Judaizers catered to the fallen natures of the Galatians in that they made no demand for the necessity of regeneration nor for faith in an atoning sacrifice that paid for sin. In addition to that, their teachings stressed a salvation-by-works religion, which glorifies man, not God, and which allows him to go on in his sin while seeking to buy the favor of God by his so-called good works. This could only lead, Paul says, to corruption in their lives.”19Wuest, K. S. (1997).Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader(Vol. 3, pp. 172–173). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Therefore, understand that just because you believe the doctrines of the Gospel to be true, including the fact that Christ died for your sin, that He rose from the grave, ascended to heaven, and is coming back for all who repent and believe in Him; doesn’t mean you’re also submitting your belief in those facts to the leadership of the Spirit in your life, and as such sowing to the Spirit. To this, Hendriksen and Kistemaker wrote, “Sowing to the flesh means to allow the old nature to have its way. So also, sowing to the Spirit means to allow the Holy Spirit to have his way.”20Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001).Exposition of Galatians(Vol. 8, pp. 236–237). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
So, how do you know if you are submitting your belief in the Gospel to the Spirit or the flesh? The answer is look at the fruit! Are you reaping “eternal life” or “corruption”? If you’re reaping no spiritual fruit, then there’s your answer. If the fruit you’re reaping rots on the vine before it can be harvested or it makes you sick when you or others eat it, then know that you are not sowing your belief in the Gospel to the Spirit, and as such living in submission to the Spirit of God in your life.
However, if you are sowing your faith in the Gospel to the Spirit, then the fruit Paul listed in Galatians 5 becomes life to you and those around you! It turns heads and hearts towards Jesus. It stirs your soul and others to keep pressing forward no matter what! It brings life and joy to places void of it. The fruit of the Spirit is unmatched by this world because the world can’t produce it! So how do you know what kind of fruit you got? Compare it to all the world and religion has to offer and you’ll see the difference.
(3) A PRODUCTIVE HARVEST REQUIRES CONSISTENT EFFORT. (6:9)
9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Your love for God and obedience to the Spirit, as well as your love for others, may not seem to be making a difference in your life or theirs right now, but you need to understand the Law of the Harvest. It doesn’t happen right now, nor sometimes even this season! For instance:
- Blueberry bushes can take 2 to 3 years.21https://www.starkbros.com/growing-guide/article/how-many-years-berries
- Grape vines take 2 to 4 years before producing fruit.22https://www.starkbros.com/growing-guide/article/how-many-years-berries
- Kiwi can take up to 5 years!23https://www.starkbros.com/growing-guide/article/how-many-years-berries
- Apple trees can take up to 8 years24ttps://extension.umn.edu/fruit/growing-apples#:~:text=Dwarf%20apple%20trees%20will%20start,and%20disease%20damage%20than%20others
In addition to time, reaping a harvest requires as much or more work than what it takes to plant or sow the seed. Sowing seed is essentially just scattering it, whereas planting involves digging up the soil, placing the seed in the hole, then covering it. However, no matter if it's planting or sowing, both are hard work, and neither is the end of your work if you actually want to reap a quality harvest. Once the seed is in the soil the hard work of making sure it's watered, as well protected from disease, insects, and animals begins! You can leave your crop up to chance, but if you do, chances are you will have a pretty small harvest at best. For instance,
If you leave a trace of where you planted your corn seeds crows and other birds will fly down, pop the seed right out the ground and eat it before it ever even gets started! Whenever I planted things with seeds, especially corn, I was sure to carefully smooth out the surface to make sure birds had no obvious sign of where the seeds were planted, then I left the guideline that I used to keep my rows straight, directly above where I planted the seeds to further discourage the birds from trying to pluck them up when they first sprouted.
It's inevitable that weeds will come up all around whatever you planted. Some weeds miraculously butt themselves right up beside your plant, so closely you can hardly pull them out without pulling out the plant. It's incredibly tedious and aggravating, especially in red clay, to get those weeds out. However, if you leave weeds near your crops, the weeds will compete for the water and nutrients in the soil, and as such, lower, if not eliminate, the plant’s ability to produce. Some weeds even look just like the plant you’re trying to grow.
Finally, foot traffic, heavy equipment, and ironically even heavy rains can compact the soil and inhibit the soil’s ability to absorb water, hold nutrients and allow root growth. As such, if compacted soil is not cultivated or loosened around the plant, the plant will not be able to produce a productive crop.
The point is, it takes a lot of work to plant a crop, but if you stop working on your garden simply because you finished planting it, then you’ll never get much produce out of it, if any at all. It always amazed me to see people put in all the time and energy required to start a garden only to then quit immediately afterward, or at the first sign of weeds coming up, and as a result, they got nothing from their investment.
When it comes to how we experience the eternal life of God, Paul is saying we need to know this law of the Harvest applies as well. Obeying Jesus, investing in His Kingdom, and loving others as He loves us, can be extremely hard at times, and it can even seem like there is no progress being made at all. But then all of a sudden, almost as if it comes out of thin air, after months of work, you wake up one morning to see a garden full of vegetables that ironically now requires more effort to pick and eat them! A garden full of vegetables is no good to you at all if you’re not willing to go harvest them!
So, Paul writes to the churches in Galatia fully understanding that this law is not just about agriculture, but everything; as well as with the full knowledge that we all get discouraged when things don’t seem to be producing results. We are tempted to quit when we think there is no point. Therefore, Paul is writing to these followers of Jesus in Galatia to tell them, you may not be seeing or experiencing the fruits of the Spirit he listed in Galatians 5 in abundance from your life yet, but don’t give up! Keep walking in step with the Spirit, trusting where He leads you; keep loving others as Christ loves you; keep believing the Gospel to be true and letting it transform you; and one day, you will see the very clear fruit of what God alone can produce appearing in and through your life! The “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control” produced by the Holy Spirit will begin to bless your life and everybody around you!
The peace you long for, the joy you long for, the sense of value and purpose, the confidence to face life and death, the self-control that enables us to have healthy relationships with others, as well as keeps us from making a mess of life, are all products of your belief in the Gospel being consistently submitted to the leadership of the Spirit in your life, instead of your sinful flesh or religion. Charles Spurgeon summed this principle up in such a rich way that I couldn’t help but read it to you,
“We sow to the Spirit by faith in Christ—by being led by the Spirit. Sowing looks like a losing business, for we put good corn into the ground never to see it anymore. Sowing to the Spirit seems a very fanciful, dreamy business, for we deny ourselves and apparently get nothing for it. Yet if we sow to the Spirit by studying to live unto God, seeking to obey the will of God, and laying ourselves out to promote His honor, we will not sow in vain. Life shall be our reward—even everlasting life. This we enjoy here as we enter into the knowledge of God, communion with God, and enjoyment of God. This life flows on like an ever-deepening, ever-widening river, until it bears us to the ocean of infinite felicity, where the life of God is ours forever and ever. … The apostle does not say that you will reap everlasting existence, but everlasting life, which is quite another thing: “The one who believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). That is the perfection of love and joy. You shall have that, and you shall ascend to successive stages of holiness and virtue through the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus and the sanctification of the Spirit. And one of these days, you shall throw off the last trace of the slough of sin, and then your disembodied spirit will pass before the flaming eyes of Him who is purer than the sun. By and by, “the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout” (1 Thess 4:16), and your redeemed body shall rise, purified like the body of your own dear Lord and Savior, which could not see corruption because it contained no trace of sin. Then your perfected body and soul shall triumph and reign with Jesus here below in His millennial glory, and after that you shall have the fullness of “life everlasting” in the glory yet to be revealed.”25Spurgeon, C. (2013) Galatians(E. Ritzema, Ed.) (Ga 6:8). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
(4) THE LAW OF THE HARVEST CALLS US TO SOW GOOD INTO PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY THOSE WITHIN THE CHURCH. (6:10)
10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
K.S. Wuest notes, “The exhortation is not merely to do good to others when the opportunity presents itself, but to look for opportunities to do good to others. The word do is from ergazomai (ἐργαζομαι), which word emphasizes the process of an action, carrying with this the ideas of continuity and repetition. It means “to labor, to be active, to perform,” with the idea of continued exertion being included. The word good is preceded by the article. It is not merely what may be good in character as judged by anybody’s standards, but the good spoken of in the context, good which is the product of the work of the Holy Spirit through the saint.”26Wuest, K. S. (1997)Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader(Vol. 3, pp. 173–174). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
I love how the Gospel never lets us see life in the vacuum of ourselves. The greatest commandment is to love God, but the second is to love others. That starts with loving ourselves the way God loves us, and not the way the world does, in a sinful weak insecure fleshly way, because ultimately Jesus said we are commanded to not just love others as we love ourselves, but more importantly to love others the way He loves us! Therefore, the point Paul is making here is clear and simple. Sow good into people and according to the law of the harvest, you will reap good from them.
Additionally, because God has called us to love Him and others, we can’t very well say we are living in submission to the Spirit and as such sowing our belief in the Gospel to the Spirit, if we are also walking past the opportunities God places in our path to do good for others. And remember what we discussed earlier, that is, the good fruit the Holy Spirit produces in us is, by definition not just for us, it’s meant for others as well. It reproduces God’s life in others! It’s incredible what happens when people who are living in submission to the Spirit begin to live the life that God is producing in them with others, not simply by existing with them, but by intentionally serving them in the opportunities God presents to do good for them.
Now, verse ten in no way implies not loving those who don’t know Jesus, but rather Paul wants to make sure the believers in Galatia understood their brothers and sisters in Christ were not just “people they went to church with,” but more importantly they were kin folk of the most important kind! We are not figurative brothers and sisters, but actual brothers and sisters, because we have been adopted into the household of God! Therefore, when we are prioritizing doing good for others in the church, it’s not that we are lowering our passion to love the world Christ died for; Christ gave His life for sinners, and as such so should we! However, Paul is saying loving our brothers and sisters in Christ is more important than matching what Jesus provided us when we were lost sinners, and therefore, it should absolutely cause us to take a serious look at our commitment to know and serve others within the local church.
Who are we seeking to know and serve in our local church? How are we helping people with the things we have the resources and time to support them with? Ultimately how are we helping equip and empower others in the body of Christ to love God and others the way God wants us to love God and others?
Are you submitting your belief in God to the desires of your flesh, the practice of religion, or the leadership of the Holy Spirit? What does the fruit of your life say the answer is?
If you get baptized as a means of receiving grace, to assure yourself you're saved, or to fit in with church people, then you are sowing your belief in the Gospel to the flesh, and it will never produce quality fruit. However, if you get baptized out of your desire to faithfully obey the Word of God and the Spirit who always leads us to obey the Scriptures, then the fruit from that will nurture your relationship with God and others!
If you are studying the Bible as a means of grace to try and earn favor with God or even overcome sin through having more knowledge, then you are sowing your belief in the Gospel to the flesh, and at best you will reap fruit with no eternal value or experience. However, if you are studying the Bible because you love God and want to hide His Word in your heart so you can know Him and be transformed into His life and character, then you are sowing to the Spirit, and you will see the fruit of His life becoming the reality of your life.
If you are attending church to try and satisfy God, or get Him to love you more, or give you more grace, then you are sowing your belief in the Gospel to the flesh, and you will never experience the fruit born by spiritually mature people. However, if you come to church because you can’t wait to learn the Word of God so you can know Him more; if you can’t wait to hear the music because it encourages you to continue pressing forward in your relationship with Jesus no matter what’s going on in your life; if you can’t wait to get to worship or a life group because you love the family God saved you into and therefore you want to truly live life with them; then know you are obeying the Leadership of the Spirit in your life and sowing your belief in the Gospel to Him. That my friends produces His life in and through you!
Let me close with a couple of my favorite passages of Scripture that tell us the outcome of a life sown to the Spirit,
7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. (Psalm 4:7)
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. (Psalm 28:7)
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5-7)