“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Galatians 6:7, 8

The law of unintended consequences is seldom ignored without significant cost. If you take a course of action solely because it feels right, there will almost always be unintended consequences. Feeling-driven decisions can have disastrous results. Both men and women would do well to remember that one can’t always trust their feelings.

This forgotten law holds true in every arena of life. Politicians play upon your feelings making everything sound right to gain your favor; relationships produce many confusing signals drawn from your feelings crying out to be acted upon; advertisers have mastered the art of finessing your feelings; and even false professions of faith in Christ are motivated by the feeling of the moment without genuine sorrow for sin and repentance necessary for conversion. Actions based solely on feelings will produce unintended consequences only evident after the die is cast.

The baser part of our human nature will magnify the feelings of desire while diminishing the feelings of alarm until the deed is done, the course is set, and the consequences begin to emerge from the fog. This story is told countless times in the Scripture for our admonition. Eve ate of the fruit desiring to be like God; this led Adam into sin which caused the unintended consequence of bringing death on herself, her husband, and all of her children. Moses struck the rock in the heat of anger arising from inflated self-worth and was denied entrance into the Promised Land as an unintended consequence. Esau sold his birthright for a pot of stew because he felt hunger and paid the unintended consequence of diminished blessing, being doomed to play second fiddle to Jacob for the rest of his life. The nation of Israel often sinned by forgetting the true God, lost His blessing of protection from enemies and sought the feeling of security from other quarters, with the unintended consequence of ultimately losing everything and being removed from the Land of Promise.

Our text brings us back to God’s reality that before we sow we need to be sure what we are sowing is going to bear the intended harvest. As catalogs arrive along with spring we all tend to push the limits of our gardens, our growing season, our energy level, and our dream of harvest because the pictures look so very good! Reality sets in with the trowel blisters, the dry spell, the weeds and the aching back. At the end of the season, the harvest rarely resembles the catalog.

Sowing to the desires of the flesh will produce a decayed harvest which wastes the season of life and leaves precious little to show for it. God cannot be ignored nor ridiculed; His order will prevail in His time. Corruption is another word for degeneration, like decayed food. Doing something to please the fleshly feelings will not bring the consequences desired. Only those who ignore the law of unintended consequences would plant these seeds.

Sowing to the desires of God has a much different harvest. Following the order of the “Lord of the Harvest” will bring forth lively fruit. This is an intentional harvest, one which takes forethought, submission to the rules of the season, and constant attention to the needs of the healthy garden of life. Everlasting life is a durable, fulfilling crop which turns out just like the “catalog” (the Bible).

How oriented are you to your feelings in all areas of decision-making? What kind of seeds are you thoughtfully sowing and encouraging others to sow in their lives, their homes, their work, and their nation? Make every decision with an eye to the harvest of eternal life. Trust and obey.