Reaping Spiritually What We Have Sown
To ‘sow with a view to the spirit’ requires what attitude toward material things?
A Christian who has a family must give thought to providing the needed material things of life. For him to fail to do so would be to deny the faith and would make him worse than a person without faith. (1 Tim. 5:8) However, he should not let himself become discontented with what he has or envious or jealous of what others possess. He should not keep “eagerly pursuing” material things. Rather, he is wise if he keeps such things in their right place by ‘seeking first Jehovah’s kingdom and His righteousness,’ trusting that other needed things will be added to him, even as Jesus promised. (Matt. 6:32, 33) In this way he can hope to reap spiritually what he has sown to the spirit, even as the apostle Paul states at Galatians 6:8: “He who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.”*
Why must those who would sow and reap spiritually guard against harboring improper sexual desires?
Today from every direction the enticements to improper sexual desires crowd in upon the Christian and especially upon those of teen age. Romantic novels and cheap picture-story-type magazines glamorize fornication and adultery under the guise of “true love.” Motion pictures, by and large, pander to the perverted taste of the majority for the sake of profits, and so many television shows. Then, too, the talk of one’s companions, in school or at one’s secular employment, often gravitates to adventures with the opposite sex, real or imagined.—Eph. 5:3, 4.
Unless the Christian is careful, seeds of wrong desire can take root and grow, resulting in the minding of the flesh, which means enmity with God and loss of life. (Rom. 8:6-8) One must therefore keep strict watch that how one walks is as a wise person and not as an unwise one, especially in view of the wicked times in which we are living.—Eph. 5:15, 16.
Why must those who would sow with a view to the spirit watch their motives?
True Christians are busy people; they always have “plenty to do in the work of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58) They invite others to share with them in the work of preaching the good news of God’s kingdom. Each time before they engage in the field ministry they ask Jehovah’s blessing upon their activity. But such activity of itself may not necessarily be sowing with a view to the spirit, for some may be doing it with a wrong motive. If their actions are for self-justification, self-praise, or from a spirit of rivalry or jealousy, their good works would not merit the promised reward, and they would see the corrupting of their spiritual life. Whatever they do they must do whole-souled as to Jehovah and not to men.—Prov. 14:30; Phil. 2:3; Col. 3:23, 24.
That is why Christians should not become slaves to figures or measure their integrity by such goals. That could well lead to boasting in the flesh on the part of some and discouragement on the part of others. They know that the widow mentioned at Luke 21:1-4 who gave a few small coins of little value was approved because she gave ‘all that she had.’ And so they keep in mind the purposes served by their ministry: To bring honor to Jehovah’s name; to help lovers of truth and righteousness to get on the way to life; to warn the wicked, and to prove their own integrity and gain the reward of life.—1 Tim. 4:16.
Against what pitfalls must one guard in order to keep sowing to the spirit?
Among the pitfalls that mature Christian ministers must guard against if they would be sowing to the spirit and reap everlasting life from the spirit are: The tendency to view one’s brothers according to the flesh and perhaps even cherish resentment because of some disagreement. The feeling of jealousy if one has been passed over as regards advancement in the congregation in favor of someone else. Resenting the correction, counsel and encouragement given by a mature fellow Christian. The tendency of the flesh to become weary in well-doing; letting one’s zeal become lukewarm instead of remaining fiery hot.—Rev. 3:16.
Encouraging all to the right kind of sowing, with a view to the spirit, are the words found at Hebrews 6:11, 12: “But we desire each one of you to show the same industriousness so as to have the full assurance of the hope down to the end, in order that you may not become sluggish, but be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
For details see The Watchtower, September 1, 1968.