“Being Good & Generous”
There are consequences to the way a person lives their life.
Share How God Changes You
Sow to the Spirit
Be Good to All
Galatians 6:6, NKJV
Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
One of the joys of teaching is to see those who are being taught excel in their lessons and watching their lives be transformed by the things that are learned. Much of what is taught by people today is centered on reforming society to standards of those who desire to influence it for their ends rather for the good of all mankind. Those indoctrinating people are unconcerned about the individuals who they are teaching since they are only a means to achieve a desired end. This was not the approach of Apostle Paul as he wrote to the congregations. The Apostle Paul taught truth that cared for the individual as much as the entire body of Christ which all those who belong to Christ are part of in the unity of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:18-20, 27).
Paul gave himself first to the Lord and then to those who he taught. He gave himself to the Lord by recognizing that his life was not his own. Paul publicly expressed this in his testimony before Agrippa, “...I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.” (Acts 26:15-16, NKJV).
Paul knew that God had separated him apart from the world in order to serve him as he stated in the openings of many of his letters to believers: “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1, NKJV). “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ our hope...” (1 Timothy 1:1, NKJV). “Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus...” (Philemon 1:1, NKJV).
Apostle Paul also recognized his complete dependency upon the Lord for all he did since it was not his wisdom that was being shared it was God’s wisdom. “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received...” (1 Corinthians 15:3, NKJV). “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you...” (1 Corinthians 11:23, NKJV). “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12, NKJV). “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25, NKJV).
Apostle Paul understood who he was in Christ and what God had called him to do. Paul imitated the same love for people as Christ modeled throughout His ministry upon the earth (1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1). Paul saw himself as a father to those who came to faith in Christ through his ministry (1 Corinthians 4:15-17). He had showed the genuineness and truth about what he taught the people by sharing all the Lord had taught him. He applied it to his life and shared it with those whom he instructed. God’s people should be consumed by the Gospel and the teachings of Christ in the Scriptures. They should want to dedicate all things consciously and unconsciously to the Lord as they share how Christ has changed them through their vocabulary, treatment of others, and how they view their circumstances. Paul did this by sharing how God helped him to overcome his struggles with sin and the hardships he endured due to preaching the truth.
There are far too many children of God hiding their struggles and refusing to seek help from others due to a false image of self-sufficiency that has crept its way into the body of Christ. Being self-sufficient is not biblical because God is the only self-sufficient One who is in need of nothing (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 10:14-17; Job 41:11; Psalm 50:7-15). Paul shared the Gospel by sharing with people his life as much as he did by teaching through the Scriptures. Therefore, his life was an open book to all who knew him. He proclaimed his weakness and dependency upon the Lord for his salvation and strength to keep going day after day in spite of all the struggles and pressures he faced (2 Corinthians 4:8-18).
Apostle Paul praised God continually in prayer sharing with God all the good things that were happening through the ministry God had called him to in the world. God rejoices in the obedience of His people as a parent rejoices with their child or a teacher rejoices with a student as they share how they were successful in applying what they had learned regardless if they witnessed them doing the deed or not (Zephaniah 3:17).
Ministry that impacts the kingdom of God greatest happens outside of the programming of congregations and in the personal interaction of God’s people excitedly sharing what they have personally learned about God and the changes it has brought about in their lives with those in and outside of the body of Christ. Paul encourages those who have taught under his and the other apostles’ ministry to share what God is doing in their lives. Someone who shares what God is doing in and through them by the power of His Holy Spirit that lives within them in their obedience to Christ is far from bragging. The proclamation of God’s people is a matter of praise to God, for what has been done is impossible with just the strength the child of God has, and is only possible through the work of God alone.
Things people share are things they are truly excited about and wish others to join them in their excitement. Sharing information which is passionately believed by the sharer greatly effects the one hearing the information. However, if what is being shared is done so in a manner which is disconnected from the emotions of a person, it will have little if any effect on the one who is hearing what is being shared. Paul desired to hear what was happening among the people who came to Christ through the Spirit’s moving in his life. It encouraged him and inspired him to continue on in ministry during the low points and he feared for his life. It was also the basis for the praises he lifted up to the Lord rejoicing in what the Lord was doing in the lives of His people.
Each and every child of God has the opportunity to be part of a great expansion of the kingdom of God in the world. This is done when God’s people allow God to teach them through others and then share what they have been taught by the Lord to others. Sharing what has been learned and applied in life does not require the gift of teaching, but the willingness to be a disciple of Christ who follows the Spirit’s guidance. Apostle Paul was encouraging the Galatians to share what they are learning with those that teach them as well to correct any errors that may have developed along the way. This was a problem in Galatia with them turning away from grace and back to the law again.
There are false teachers in the world who are making lies sound like truth by simply twisting what is true to cause confusion in the hearts and minds of people who are taking the word of their teachers without checking it against God’s Word themselves. People must be responsible to think carefully about what they are being taught since our enemy is extremely crafty and is desperate to lead people astray. These false teachers are not sowing to reap a harvest of righteousness, but sowing to reap a harvest for their benefit rather than for the glory of God.
Sow to the Spirit
Galatians 6:7-8, NKJV
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 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.
People are easily deceived because truth is something that is unimportant to most of the population. The essential thing for most people is how what they are being told will benefit them in the immediate. Little thought is given to the future and even less thought is given to the consequences of decisions on the people around them. It is a “me culture” around the word. In first and second world countries the focus is often on individuals. In other parts of the world the central focus is on family or tribe, but the concept is still true since sinful mankind is self-centered. This is true even in humanitarian actions that are done. The greatest benefit sought is to feel good about self regardless if it is humans or animals that are being helped.
Apostle Paul uses the imagery of a farmer scattering or planting seeds to illustrate that what a person does is directly connected with the things that are believed by the person. A farmer plants specific seeds in order to cultivate the intended crop when it comes to harvest time. No one plants peas and expects to harvest corn. Peas and corn are planted in order to reap a harvest of peas and corn when the plants come to maturity. The actions of the farmer reveal what he desires to have in his heart. This is true in the lives of all people also.
Decisions that are made and actions and words that are spoken by people are like seeds that are planted. It is clear that God’s Word does not come back void but does all that it is intended to do (Isaiah 55:11). The same is true with the words that people say and the action they perform. Harsh words and actions said and done towards others are the same as a farmer sowing physical seeds in hopes of a good harvest, except these things will bring devastation and ruin to the one who sows them in their lives. Someone who is critical rather than gracious, selfish instead of generous, or angry and negative rather than calm and hopeful cannot expect to experience anything different than what they demonstrate in their lives.
God cannot be fooled as to what is in the heart of a person. Those who are only concerned for themselves will say and do whatever it takes in order to achieve the things they want to do. Other people may be fooled as to person’s true intentions but God is never deceived. Thinking that God could be deceived is to mock His sovereignty and His knowledge of all things. Yet, people for some reason attempt to live two separate lives in the world like God somehow cannot see or does not know the truth.
The double lives people live is nothing new since there really is nothing that mankind does today that has not been done by others in the past (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11). Those gathering for worship each week or serving in leadership positions are not exempt from living double lives. Publicly they put on the show of being righteous but privately their hearts are far removed from the Lord. The discipline of God came upon His people because of this attitude among the priests which filtered down into the lives of the people because it was what their words and actions were harvesting (Ezekiel 8:5-18).
The misconception that many people have is that which is done behind closed doors and away from the eyes and ears of others does not matter. People will always sow to the flesh without surrendering every thought, word, and action to make it submissive to the will of God. This is not a cultural problem but a sin problem. Sin has tainted the beauty of God’s creation and twisted and distorted things God designed for the joy, pleasure, and benefit of all mankind so they would know Him and used these things for the destruction of others and themselves in their quest for self-gratification. People discover often too late that what they are receiving the same thing as they have done to others. This is why Jesus proclaimed that the law and Prophets were summed up with the simple understanding that what a person does to and for others is what they will receive themselves (Proverbs 11:24-31; Matthew 7:12; 2 Corinthians 9:6).
There is a connection between how a person lives and what is produced in their life. The private life of a person is their true nature. What is done in secret will be brought to light, whether good or bad (Psalm 33:13-19, 90:8; Hebrews 4:13). Those who are sowing to satisfy their carnal desires do so to their destruction. This should be a warning to all who are living a double life. Those who hear God’s Word and rejoice over it in public but privately disregard it by living in a manner that is unworthy of Christ by harboring anger, resentment, prejudice, and greed when away from the presence of other believers should be warned. All people know how to sow to their flesh because it happens automatically unless a determined effort is not made by the person to invite and then depend upon the strength of the Holy Spirit to transform their lives.
Sowing to the Spirit is something that is far more simple than what most people believe. It is done by accepting Christ as Savior and Lord. Making Jesus Lord of your life is done by admitting that you are a sinner who has violated the law of God and are deserving of death (Romans 3:10-23). Realizing that there is no way of being justified before a holy, righteous God you must accept that Jesus, God Incarnate, came and satisfied the wrath of God on your behalf so that you both died with Him and are also raised with Him (Romans 6:16-23; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22). These things will bring the Holy Spirit of God to live in your heart and be your strength and guide (John 16:13-14; Romans 10:8-13). Sowing to the Spirit is impossible without the presence of God’s Spirit within you. Therefore, without having a surrendered life to Christ people will sow to their flesh no matter what they are professing to believe with their mouth.
Those who belong to God will sow to the Spirit by obeying His perfect will for their lives. Generally speaking, this is to live in the same manner as what Jesus did. This was discussed previously in the changes which the Spirit of God brings about in the lives of His people over time as they learn and grow in their faith in Christ. These changes in character take time, energy, and daily taking up and carrying the cross of God, fully dying to self each day in order to live for God. This is a conscious choice that must be made in the mind and the heart each morning by recognizing and accepting complete dependency upon God for all things.
Be Good to All
Galatians 6:9-10, NKJV
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Apostle Paul continues on by explaining what it means to live a life of sowing to the Spirit in these next two verses. Sowing to or living for the Spirit of God instead of selfishly for self is done by being good to everyone, regardless of their actions and words towards those who are living for God and not themselves. Good is a vague word in the English language. Paul is using the Greek word kalós which in this context means to act well, virtuously.
The children of God must purposefully behave in a way that is honest, honorable, principled, and righteous towards others in spite of how they are treated by others. Paul is reminding the Galatians and those reading his letter today of what Jesus said and modeled in His earthly ministry. Jesus taught that someone who is guilty of murder are not only those who physically take a life, but those who are angry with someone without cause are in danger of the fires of hell (Matthew 5:21-22). Retaliation for wrongs done is to be forsaken and instead Jesus taught and demonstrated His disciples are to show kindness and confidence rather than fear and anger (Matthew 5:38-42). This is what Jesus did when He hung on the cross and cried out to the Father to forgive those who brutally beat and mercilessly crucified Him upon the cross (Luke 23:34). Jesus modeled and taught the genuine, extravagant love of God by loving and dying for those who were killing Him upon the cross that they would have the opportunity to receive forgiveness and escape the wrath of the Father (Matthew 5:43-48).
The motivation to do all these things for Jesus should be the same motivation for those who are His disciples. Jesus’ intense love for God and longing to be obedient in all things destroys the selfishness of the human heart with an overwhelming sense of love toward all people (Philippians 2:5-8). Love means to value and appreciate them; it does not mean to accept or condone sinful behavior. Love recognizes sin as rebellion to God that can be forgiven through the blood of Christ Jesus. Love reaches out to the hateful and rejected to show them hope and joy that can only be found through faith in Christ Jesus, God’s one and only Son (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Loving in this manner is impossible in the strength that people have, but is possible in rest and relying on the Holy Spirit. Often the temptation will be to turn inward and care for oneself due to the poor treatment and hatred that is often given in response to the genuine love of Christ His disciples attempt to show to others. There seems to be only so much that can be endured before a person will throw their hands up in the air in surrender saying, “If no one else is going to care or appreciate all I have done, I’m going to stop doing it!” Those who are doing things in their strength will soon fall in defeat. It is only those who willingly admit they cannot do it and struggle with being good to all who will turn and rest on the faithfulness of God’s Spirit to do in and through them the impossible love that God calls all His people to live in every day.
God equips His people through His Word to accomplish everything that He has prepared for them to do (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). He has given them His Spirit for guidance, teaching, and strength to do what they cannot do alone. There is no reason to shrink back from serving others or to despair over the latest disturbing story that comes across the local or national news. As Paul asked the Roman believers in his letter to them, “...If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31, NKJV).
There must be an anticipation and excitement concerning opportunities to be able to share Christ with others through actions and words each day. Apostle Paul is encouraging believers to be aware of what is happening around them to be able to help anyone who appears in need whether they ask for assistance or not. It should also not matter if any recognition is given or thanks shared when something is done out of love for the Father. Jesus never demanded thanks, but loyalty to God the Father in all things (Luke 14:33; Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3:8; 1 Peter 4:1-2).
Those things that are done for others can be as simple as picking up the paper around the trash cans to help the janitorial staff, holding the door for someone’s hands that are full, or simply thanking the salesclerk, cashier, janitor, police and military personnel for their service, and helping someone by giving them a ride or maybe taking the time to pray with them. It is true that God is the only one that is good, but those who belong to Him are to imitate Him (Matthew 19:17; 1 Peter 1:13-16). God’s people must strive to be good, generous, and holy even though it is impossible to be any of these things perfectly in our fallen, sinful condition. God is not looking for perfection, only availability and submission to His will.
The opportunities God places before all His people every day is for the witness to the world of His presence and His power to bring dramatic transformation in the lives of those who turn to Him in faith. There must be a conscious effort on behalf of all who claim Christ as Savior and Lord of their life to do good to all people, but especially brothers and sisters in Christ. This is what caught the attention of the world in the first century. The believers had everything in common and made sure all had the necessities that they needed (Acts 2:41-47). The first century Church burst into history in a time and culture that is similar to that of the twenty-first century were nearly everything is acceptable and those who do not agree with or condemn immorality are seen as outcasts and prejudice. These Christians were known by their love and support of one another which set them apart and made them fascinating to the world around them (1 John 3:16-23). This gave them an opportunity to share Christ with those who otherwise had no interest in even listening to them.
The social and political climate around the world is perfect for the planting and watering of the seeds of the Gospel in anticipation of a great harvest to be brought into the kingdom of God. There are some who have been called to specifically be teachers and evangelists in the body of Christ. The burden of what God has called the entire Church to do rests on the shoulders of all God’s people. For in being good to all in the name of God out of love and desire to please Him will proclaim and lift up Jesus in each life of those who belong to the body of Christ. Therefore, let us be the body of Christ in the homes where we live, in our communities, in our places of work, and wherever the Lord places our steps. It is an honor and privilege to join the Lord in His work of salvation as His tool to be used by the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ Jesus to those around us every day. Are you ready to sow to the Spirit beginning now by being good and generous as God has been good and generous with you?