Return to the Lord your God . . . obey his voice in all that I command you today . . . then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you . . .Deuteronomy 30:2-3
At times, I reject certain ideas because they are attached to other religions. I do not believe in the Hindu concept of karma, as it teaches that our behavior in this life affects the condition of our next life. Grace means that because Christ died for me, I do not have to pay for my sins after death. I am eternally forgiven, and the righteousness of Christ covers my guilt.
I am tempted to carry this too far though. My acceptance of grace and rejection of karma can lead me to believe that my actions do not have direct consequences in this life. I prefer to believe that because I am forgiven, that I do not reap what I sow.
From Moses, to Christ and Paul though, the Bible teaches that my actions have consequences. In today’s passage, Moses said that God responds with mercy when His children obey Him. Paul insisted that when we pursue our flesh nature, we grow corruption and when we pursue God, we grow life (Galatians 6:7,8). We may be forgiven for all eternity, but here and now, we reap what we sow.
As a friend is fond of reminding me, All truth is God’s truth.* I should not reject a concept completely just because someone else teaches it. My actions have consequences. This is not mindless, godless karma. This is how God made the world.
Addicts in recovery understand this truth. In our addiction, we suffer the destruction of our corrupt actions. In recovery, as we stop sowing the seeds of our own nature and as we start sowing the seeds of God’s spirit, we grow life. We are not guaranteed worldly success when we follow God, but when we stop causing our own misery, we begin to know life, joy and peace.
*Jon Mellema often reminds me of this truth. I owe him a debt of gratitude for putting up with all of my unconventional ideas and for keeping me grounded when I start to wander too far.