Just a few weeks ago, the cotton fields were white. I enjoy the sight of the cotton bolls bursting open with their white "flowers." But the harvest began and quickly the fields showed only the vestiges of white as the cotton crop was gathered into huge, rectangular bales to be hauled off by trucks. Not having grown up around cotton fields, I do not know a "good" crop from a "poor" one, but I suspect that sometimes the harvest is a disappointing one for some farmers.
Of one thing I am absolutely certain. No cotton farmer plants cotton and expects to reap corn (the ones that do will not stay in business long!). Even the casual observer of nature learns that the nature of the harvest is determined by the kind of planting done. The quantity of the harvest may depend upon a number of factors that the farmer doesn’t always control, but he is assured that the harvest will be like the planting in nature.
Paul affirmed that this principle of harvest applies to people also when he wrote, "…for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7). The harvest law ("each kind yielding fruit according to its kind") is one of God’s natural laws used to govern this world. Paul continued, "For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life" (vs. 8).
One should not be deceived into thinking that somehow he can change the law of harvest. Man cannot mock God by ignoring the harvest law with success or impunity.
It is not that man has not tried! Many try to escape the natural and/or spiritual consequences of their actions. Paul’s point is simply that it is not done. Sometimes it takes a long time, perhaps years, for the harvest to be gathered in. Sometimes it is God who assists with the reaping and the "fruit" of one’s sowing may finally be realized at the final judgment of mankind.
I remember the time that my mom decided that we would try growing artichokes in our garden. They did well – too well. Even when we did not want to harvest any more artichokes, they kept coming back and producing more plants. It is good for young people to understand that "sowing a few wild oats" in one’s youth can result in a harvest that lasts for a lifetime.
Some of us, however, are hoping for the farmer’s nightmare – no crop! We sow according to the flesh (adultery, gossip, theft, dishonesty, etc.), but pray that somehow the crop will never come in. Unlike the farmer who may indeed lose his crop through flooding, pests, etc., God guarantees each of us a harvest!
The next time that you see a cotton field with green plants waving in the breeze or "popcorn" white, think about the kind of harvest that you are preparing by the actions that you take today.
In the process of building a house, I have begun framing the garage and my interest in immovable things has increased exponentially! I want to build a structure that can resist the pressures of wind, time and one hardheaded Boxer dog. I need the walls to be steadfast.
The word "steadfast" is an interesting word. It is of Anglo-Saxon origin and has evolved from two words. The "stead" part comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "stede" which means "place" or "spot." "I wouldn't want to be in his stead" means that I wouldn't want to be in his situation or place--using the word "place" in a figurative sense.
The other half of the word, "fast," is from the Anglo-Saxon word "faest" meaning "fixed" or "not loose." To make a boat fast means to tie it to something so that it is not loose. It is not drifting.
Steadfast, then, means to be "fixed in place." The Hebrew writer describes the hope of a Christian as an anchor which is both sure and steadfast and cast into the presence of God Himself (Hebrews 6:18-20). The anchor, our hope, remains fixed in place and keeps us from drifting away from God.
It is not just walls and anchors which need to be steadfast! A person who is steadfast is one who does not move from "place" to "place," but remains in the same spot. Although our word "stubborn" has a bad connotation, it literally means "fixed" or "unyielding." We apply the word "stubborn" to someone who is unyielding even in the face of evidence which seems to call for a change in position ("place"). Stubborn carries the implication of unreasonableness, but its basic meaning is similar to the word "steadfast."
Peter admonished his readers to "Resist him [the devil], steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world" (1 Peter 5:9). The word "resist" is a word which brings the thought of action to our minds. And yet, Peter tells us to be steadfast ("fixed in place") at the same time. He even tells us where that "place" is--in the faith. We are not to drift in and out of the faith, sometimes obeying and sometimes not obeying, sometimes listening and sometimes not listening. We are rather to be fast in place in the faith, fixed within the boundaries of the doctrine of Christ. Once we embrace the facts, principles, promises and commands of the gospel, we should not be moved away from them. That's being "steadfast." And by not moving, we offer the best resistance to Satan that we possibly could!
It is good to be steadfast ("fixed in place"), but it is equally important to be correct in one's understanding of the Word of God. To cling to a belief simply because we have held it for a long time may, in fact, simply be a bad case of stubbornness rather than a true commitment to the Scriptures!
Jesus said, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand" (Matthew 12:25).
A Nation Divided — One of Abraham Lincoln's best speeches was his house divided speech. However, Lincoln did not originate the thought, but it was presented by Jesus Christ. Lincoln was concerned about two issues which were dividing the nation, human rights and states' rights. The ultimate war which took place between the two groups of states illustrated the truthfulness of Lincoln's (Jesus') statement. There are major divisions in our country today – divisions which could ultimately destroy our nation. While some believe that the division is racial, sexual, economic, etc., there is a much deeper issue which underlies all of these other issues and which is destroying the fabric of our society. It is the issue of right and wrong, good and evil, truth and error. Society is divided because we are not willing to accept a common standard for determining what we will do. In many places and in many ways, we have become a Godless society, humanistic in our beliefs, and hedonistic in our desires. There are still those, however, who know this is an invalid approach to life in a nation, but because so many do believe in these doctrines and practices, we are a nation divided.
A Home Divided — There can be no question but that homes are divided as well. Every year for every two new marriages on average there is one divorce. For the homes which stay nominally in tact, there are many more in which strife and abuse wreck the happiness and peace which is suppose to be there. Children are torn and mates are demoralized. In the home as taught by God, a man and his wife are to be one for life (Matthew 19:3-9). Children are to be loved (Titus 2:4) and brought up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Looking at the state of our nation in view of the divorce situation, and seeing the destruction that is brought on human life and sanity, is it any wonder that the prophet said that God "hates divorce" (Malachi 2:16). There are still those, however, who know this is an invalid approach to life in a home, but because so many do believe in these doctrines and practices, many have a home divided.
A Church Divided — Nothing can be more painful that to see brethren divided. While the New Testament teaches it is clearly unacceptable (John 17:21; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1-6; et.al.) too many are content to allow their personal opinions and ambitions divide the people of God. When there is trouble in the church, it brings to a halt the work the church is able to accomplish in saving the lost. Division is sinful. There are still those, however, who know this is an invalid approach to life in a church, but because so many do believe in these doctrines and practices, many have a church divided.