Gravity, Donuts and Drugs
Gal 6:7,8 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he 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.
Several years ago, during a long winter, I felt compelled to shovel the ever-deepening snow off our roof. As the piles on the ground below grew, so did a fantastic idea. We should jump off the roof into those piles of snow. What could go wrong? Nothing went wrong. At first. My kids and I had grand fun, jumping off the roof into the fluffy piles, laughing and falling. Needless to say, my wife did not endorse our roof-jumping. Apparently, she did not embrace my what could go wrong, attitude.
I will spare the details and the justifications, but eventually, someone ended up with a broken wrist. That was when my wife gave me the look that I had given so many in the Emergency Room over the years. That look says, Exactly what did you think was going to happen?
The Emergency Room, which is where we ended up that day, is a fantastic place to witness the stupidity of mankind, including my own. As an ER physician, many times, I had the opportunity to ask, How did you think this was going to end? It is often only from standing back and looking at my behavior that I realize it could have only ended one way. My actions have consequences.
Paul, in today’s passage, insisted on this cosmic, God-ordained principle. Just as I cannot cheat gravity, I cannot cheat God. I reap that which I sow. If I spend the energies of my life chasing lust, money, drugs, anger, affirmation, status, food and all things me, I will breed death and destruction in my life and in my relationships. If, however, I pursue God in me, I will grow life, joy and peace. Following God does not mean I will be rich and healthy, but when I pursue God, I find life in him.
Paradoxically, it was because I was a Christian that I once did not truly believe in this principle. It sounded too much like karma. As a Christian, I was forgiven, which meant that the strings tying my behavior to consequences had been cut. I was saved by grace, not by works, so life was not about my behavior, but about what I believed. I believed in God and I was forgiven, so I could do whatever I wanted, right?
Then, in my disaster, I had the audacity to blame God. How could you allow this to happen to me? I believed in you. Where were you? To this kind of thinking, Paul said, Exactly what did you think was going to happen? If you eat donuts, you will get fat. If you use drugs, you will be an addict. If you jump off the roof… You get the idea.
Though I am forgiven by God for all eternity, I am not released from the consequences of my behavior. Faith is not a magical device that turns the pursuits of my flesh into the life of God. I cannot walk a thousand miles in one direction and then just say a prayer, expecting that God will transport me a thousand miles in the other direction. I reap what I sow. If I pursue me, I will find me and my disaster. If I pursue God, He is always faithful to fill me with his life.