the nature of man, but nothing changes the nature of sin” ~John Owen
principle of sowing and reaping applies to all areas of life. We must first
discipline ourselves before desire comes. We must first empty ourselves in order
to be filled. We must first obey before receiving the blessing. We must first
break before there is restoration. We must first pray before there is
transformation. We must praise Him before there is peace.
Him – we must sow before we reap.
The word of God plants
seeds “sow” we can reap later. For example, when discouraged, refer to 2
Corinthians 4:8-12 (ESV) and thank God for His shelter in the storm, “We are
afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
difficult financial decision needs to be made, look to Proverbs 22:1, “A good
name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver
or gold.”When confronted with adultery or sexual purity, recall Proverbs
9:17-18, “Stolen water is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he
does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of
We need to stop watching all of the drama in the news and begin
applying Paul’s words and fear and anxiety will flee: “Rejoice in the Lord
always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.
The Lord is at hand;do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to
God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy
of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and
heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with
you” (Philippians 4:4-9).
Why would we willingly walk into the enemy’s
camp? Why would we feed wrong desires and thoughts? Feeding the flesh does
nothing but bring war against the spirit. The sinful nature opposes the Spirit,
primarily through our desires. These opposing forces are constantly fighting
each other, and our choices are never free from this conflict (cf. Galatians
The Bible reveals that the devil is the prince of this world
(Ephesians 2:2); therefore, you should pay close attention to what you watch and
listen to—the force controlling it ultimately controls you. Romans 8:6 (NLT)
states, “If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the
Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.” With God’s help,
you’ll begin to control your thoughts instead of allowing your thoughts to
Here are some practical steps:
- Schedule God’s word when you’re fresh and not distracted – begin with
worship. Whatever hurts our praying must be removed. “The men who have done the
most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away
the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking
God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first
in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the
remainder of the day” (E.M. Bounds).
- Follow with prayer; don’t be in a hurry. Men would live better if they
prayed better. “In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words
without a heart” (John Bunyan). Check out the motivational message about prayer:
- Have a systematic reading plan – 30 minutes a day minimum to draw near to
- Note questions and seek to answer them later in the day.
- End with prayer and ask for help to apply what you learned.
- Read a devotional such as My Utmost For His Highest.
- Begin the day with the word and end it with the word.
is how it plays out: During worship the heart begins to soften and open. You
hear the still small voice of God during prayer as He draws your heart toward
Him. Reading reinforces, educates, and opens our eyes to His will. Answering
questions that we have builds faith (apologetics). The devotional reading sparks
a deeper walk… a deeper hunger for God. The ending reading sets the stage for
the following day.
Sin is deceptive. We are free of sins bondage
but not the influence. “Grace changes the nature of man, but nothing changes the
nature of sin” (John Owen). Many of us talk as if God is real, but act as if
He’s not. We are witnessing a generation of people hearing the word of God but
not applying it. Ironically, the power is in the application – not the
knowledge. James 1:22 warns, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only,
deceiving yourselves.” James 4:17 adds, “Whoever knows the right thing to do and
fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Sin blinds, leads, deceives, justifies,
excuses, and prevents us from fulfilling God’s will. This is why the application
of God’s word is vital – God uses the word to bring clarity.
fallen away from God, use this opportunity to turn back to Him and His
down: “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to
show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him” (2
[written by Shane Idleman]