“A farmer went out to sow his seed. … Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. … But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
What does a harvest of God’s Word look like?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
This is our reward. This is what all the hard work is for.
Last week, I covered the first five fruits of the Spirit that are our harvest. This week, I’m covering the last four.
II Thessalonians 1:11
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.
Goodness is virtue or charity. It is specifically “doing” good. Paul writes to the Thessalonians about, “every deed prompted by faith.”
These are good works.
Paul says very clearly in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we are not saved by good works. But he follows that up immediately in v. 10 by saying that we were, “created in Christ Jesus to do good works.”
And the fact that goodness is a fruit of the Spirit tells me God doesn’t expect me to be able to do these good works by myself.
Doing these good works is a harvest I reap from planting God’s Word in my heart.
Paul prayed constantly for the Christians in Thessalonica that they would be able to press through the obstacles in life and complete every deed God placed on their hearts.
When I spend time cultivating the Word of God in my life, I receive the harvest of being able to finish what God puts on my heart. That’s a huge blessing, because there have been so many things I’ve started at God’s prompting, and then not finished.
The parable of the sower tells me how to build my life so that when He gives me a good work to do, I know I can complete it to His glory.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
It makes sense that if the journey to reaping the harvest of God’s Word includes planting His Word firmly in my mind and heart, then faith is one of the results of that endeavor. Paul tells us directly, that’s how faith comes.
The fight for faith was what I was doing all along. I had to fight to spend time in God’s Word to put down roots in my heart. And I had to fight the thorns of doubt and deceit to keep my faith from being choked out altogether.
Emerging on the other side of these struggles with strong, battle-tested faith feels good.
And every future struggle that comes up now has a history to be measured against. God brought me through before and He’ll do it again. Genetic mutations and imbalanced chemicals couldn’t take me down last time, and they won’t be able to take me down this time.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Gentleness is one of the ways our lives can be raised to the level of being worthy of the call of God. That’s a high bar.
Just as with good works, a lifestyle of gentleness cannot earn us salvation. But the fact remains, it will mark us as His children in a way that few other things will.
Rage and violence are symptoms of some mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder. Other disorders create great frustration in us because the false reality built up in our broken minds chafes against the reality of others around us. This frustration often causes us to lash out.
Gentleness is usually an early casualty in the war with our minds.
And God knows that, so He gave us a way to strengthen our minds and spirits in His Word so that gentleness has a fighting chance.
Even when I’m in the middle of an emotional storm, if I’ve built up God’s Word in my heart, then I’m that much more able to choose a gentle answer. And it works like a feedback loop, because my gentle answer diffuses some of the chaotic emotions, which then makes it easier for me to maintain the gentle stand, and so on.
I Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
The whole purpose of sowing and reaping is to produce something by our actions that would not otherwise be produced.
Without conscious and intentional effort, no race is won. For me, that means without conscious and intentional effort, I will lose the race in my mind.
God not only told me that I needed to make that effort, but He told me how to do it, and then gave me everything I needed to succeed.
I had known for years that I needed to change my diet to get better. But it wasn’t until after I started filling my mind with His Word that I was able to change my diet and maintain those changes. And those changes have made a huge impact on my mental health, which in turn made it easier for me to read, study, and meditate on His Word.
In a few weeks, I will have been sugar-free for three years and depression-free for two years.
I sowed His Word into my heart and I’m reaping a harvest of mental health. Thank you, Jesus!
II Corinthians 9:10
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
God sows His Word into our hearts. If we do our part and foster its growth, we will reap a life-changing harvest.
Every harvest produces more seed, so as long as we are willing to do our part, we will always reap this amazing harvest in our lives.
How has the promised harvest changed your mind about the role of His Word in your life?
Photo credit: bedneyimages