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There are many verses about reaping what you sow in the Bible. These Bible verses gave me the desire to dig deeper and learn the meaning of sowing and reaping.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been meditating on scripture, studying the Bible, and discussing “sowing and reaping” with my Christian friends. After thorough research, I’ve come to better understand the meaning of the phrase “you reap what you sow”.
This is a very important topic so I want to share it with you. My goal in writing this article is to help you understand the Biblical meaning of “you reap what you sow” and how to make the right choices while sowing.
What Does Reap What You Sow Mean?
Reaping is the act of gathering or harvesting a crop and sowing is the act of planting or scattering seeds. The concept of “reaping and sowing” comes from farming.
To prepare the soil for sowing and plowing, farmers would till their fields to allow moisture and air to permeate into the soil. Once tilling was done, the farmers would proceed with sowing, i.e. they would simply scatter the seeds throughout the field.
Finally, during the harvest season, families would go to the fields and reap the harvest. The phrase “reap what you sow” is a metaphor for the actions and consequences in our lives. Sowing refers to our actions and choices and reaping refers to the consequences of those actions.
Scripture tells us that if we sow our fleshly desires and ignore God’s will, we will reap sorrow. On the other hand, if we sow God’s desires and live our lives according to His will, we will be blessed and rewarded.
What Does the Bible Say about Reaping What You Sow?
The scriptures have several references to sowing, reaping, and other aspects of farming. Many of these are taught in parables and refer to agriculture since it was the main source of livelihood for most people who lived in Biblical times.
The most important reference to reaping what you sow can be seen in Galatians 6:7. In this verse, the author, Paul the Apostle, advises the Galatian church:
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
Paul proceeds to write:
“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” Galatians 6:8
You may be asking yourself, what do “sowing to the flesh” and “sowing to the spirit” mean? Thankfully, Paul clearly states examples for both of these in the book of Galatians.
Paul describes the acts of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21:
“sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.”
Paul further warns that those who sow to the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21).
Let us now take a look at the examples of sowing to the spirit. In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul writes:
The Bible makes it clear that those who sow to the Spirit will reap eternal life whereas those who sow to the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God.
How to Make the Right Choices When Sowing
It is crucial to make the right choices when sowing because as we can see in the Bible verses above, reaping what you sow is really important. If you sow to the Spirit, you reap eternal life. If you sow to the flesh, you reap negative consequences.
Select the Right Seeds
Sow the kind of seeds you eventually want to reap. If you sow the seeds of worldly pleasures and perform acts of the flesh, such as hatred, jealousy, and rage, you will not reap love, joy, peace, and eternal life. The seeds you sow should always be in accordance with God’s will.
Memorize Scripture, study the Bible, and surround yourself with people who encourage you to walk closer with the Lord. Submit your will and desires before the Lord and ask Him to help you steer your life through the right path.
Whatever you do, choose the right seeds when sowing. Sow the seeds of the Spirit which Paul describes to be love, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.
Think About What You Will Reap Before You Sow
The phrase “you reap what you sow” means that the future consequences are solely the result of your present actions.
A farmer who sows apple seeds can only harvest apples and not oranges. Similarly, if you plant seeds of love, peace, and other fruits of the Spirit, you will be blessed abundantly.
On the other hand, if you sow anger, you will reap the consequences of anger. If you sow criticism, gossip, and hatred, you will reap the same.
As Solomon says in Proverbs 11:18:
“A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.”
It is important to understand that we reap in proportion to what we have sown. If we plant more seeds, we harvest more fruits. For instance, if we plant a mango pit, it grows into a single mango tree.
Scripture reminds us to sow generously to reap generously in 2 Corinthians 9:6:
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
Give generously and willingly to those in need. Trust God with all your heart and spread His word. Be kind and love all. Refrain from all kinds of sinful actions and sow the fruits of the Spirit in all aspects of your life.
Luke 6:38 teaches us an important lesson:
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Know Where to Sow
Not everything you sow will yield a bountiful harvest. In Matthew 13, Jesus teaches us the parable of the sower who went out to scatter the seeds. The soil on which the seeds fell represents the hearts of the men who heard the parable.
When the sower scattered the seeds, some fell along the path and the birds ate them up. Some seeds fell on rocky grounds where the seeds withered as they could not form deep roots.
Other seeds fell among the thorns that outgrew and choked the plants. Finally, some seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop, greater than what was sown.
Similarly, when you sow in this world, you may come across people who might encourage you to fall prey to the trials and temptations in life. You may come across people who might lead you astray and cause you to stumble in your walk with the Lord. The only way to overcome evil is to be strong in Christ and breathe the Word of God.
In Romans 12:21, Paul says:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
In this world, we are all so used to instant gratification and impulsivity. We can’t help but lose patience while waiting in a line or stuck in traffic.
But Solomon tells us that losing our temper at the slightest inconvenience is a sign of foolishness.
“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29
Patience is one of the most crucial qualities to have when sowing. You don’t get to reap a day after you sow. Seeds do not grow into fruits overnight. When God is at work, we should patiently wait on the Lord and continue to do our work faithfully.
Psalm 37:8 urges us to refrain from anger and abandon wrath. Romans 2:7 encourages us to help the weak and be patient with all.
You Reap What You Sow Bible Verses
The Bible has many different versions available. The verses below about You Reap What You Sow are from the New International Version (NIV). I listed these You Reap What You Sow verses in order of the books of the Bible below.
Job 4:8 – As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.
Psalm 126:5 – Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
Proverbs 11:18 – A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.
Proverbs 11:24-25 – One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Proverbs 14:14 – The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good rewarded for theirs.
Proverbs 22:8 – Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken.
Matthew 7:12 – So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
2 Corinthians 9:6 – Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
You Reap What You Sow Quotes
Here are some of my favorite “You Reap What You Sow” quotes.
“If you don’t like what you are reaping, you had better change what you have been sowing.” – Jim Rohn
“In this world, there really is a law of cause and effect: You reap what you sow. The energy you put out really does come back to you.” – Michael Imperioli
“Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” – Charles Reade
“What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.” – Meister Eckhart
“When you do good for other people, that’s when God is going to make sure that His abundant blessings overtake you.” – Joel Osteen
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
“Life is like a boomerang. Our thoughts, deeds, and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy.” – Grant M. Bright
“Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.” – Soren Kierkegaard
“When men sow the wind it is rational to expect that they will reap the whirlwind.” – Frederick Douglass
“You always reap what you sow; there is no shortcut.” – Stephen Covey