Trying to Fool God?

winter-barley-10435_1280Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 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.” (Galatians 6:7-8 NASB)

Sometimes I just enjoy digging into Scripture, getting my hands dirty as I study, and searching for the nuggets of truth revealed within. After that, it’s critical to write down what you’ve discovered and seek to apply it to your life. Today, let’s take a few moments and do that with Galatians 6:7-8.

  • It begins with a warning that can be translated either as Middle or Passive Voice: “Do not deceive yourself” or “Do not let yourself be deceived”. Two things are worth mentioning here:
    1. The word “deceived” literally means “to wander off”, or “to be mistaken”. So we are warned that something has happened and we are “off the course”.
    2. We can wander off or be mistaken either by our own means, or by following the leading of others (influence outside of us).

Regardless of how it happens, this is warning us to pay attention to the next statement, or we’ll wander off.

  • Why are we not to be deceived or wander off? Because “God is not mocked” and will not be mocked! The root of this word is “to sneer at”, or “to turn up your nose at” as in disrespect or contempt. Several commentators have rightly modernized this translation as, “God is to be taken seriously at all times”, or “God cannot be fooled”!
  • The rest of verse seven declares why God can’t be mocked by stating a universal principle of nature: “whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” This agricultural metaphor refers to a farmer scattering seeds in a field, but the principle is relevant in any walk of life, and it is: whatever you do, whatever you invest your time and energy in, that is what you can expect to gain, or receive back.
  • The next verse summarizes this for all of life and emphatically states there are two ways to sow, or live your life:
    1. A person can “sow to his own flesh”, or in other words live to satisfy the desires of his sinful nature. If a person chooses to do this, they can expect to reap “corruption”, which specifically means “to rot” from within, as a corpse.
    2. Or, a person can “sow to the Spirit”, instead choosing to live a life devoted to God by obeying the indwelling Holy Spirit, and reap “eternal life.” This kind of life, exhibited in both words and deeds, reveals itself as the fruit of the Spirit emerges in a believer’s life (which Paul previously discussed in Gal. 5:22-23).

With the above examination of Galatians 6:7-8, let’s consider some of the truths discovered in this passage:

  • It is incredibly easy to be misled and wander away from the truth by following our own inclinations, or the leadings of others. We should proactively guard against this by abiding, or remaining in the Word of God daily!
  • When we don’t respect God, or treat him with contempt, there will always be consequences for such an action.
  • Ultimately these two verses categorically disclose that the life you live will reveal whom you love; or to put it another way, what you do will confirm what you are truly devoted

And finally, think about these questions:

  • Have you deceived yourself by believing something about God that isn’t true, or biblical?
  • How have you recently mocked God, or treated him with contempt? In other words, has there been a time when you haven’t treated God with the respect and reverence he deserves? Or even this, are you trying to keep things hidden, or a secret from God (as crazy and preposterous as that sounds)?
  • Does what you do daily declare who you are devoted to?

Based on what was just discussed, I like the Contemporary English Version translation best for Galatians 6:7-8:

“You cannot fool God, so don’t make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant. If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life.” (CEV)


Author: Randy Allison

I am an adjunct professor and pastor, driven to understand more about faith and how to live that faith in twenty-first century America.

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