January 27, 2021
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
“Mocked” is an interesting word. I usually think of “mocking” as simply making fun of something or someone, often in a friendly way of making a counterpoint.
But the word is more serious than that, especially as we see it used in our passage today. In the Greek, to “mock” is to ridicule, to turn up one’s nose at, to sneer at, or to deride. And that gets kind of scary when Paul writes, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked.” Would you ever seriously choose to “ridicule” God? Or sneer at Him? Of course not! And yet, Paul warns us that yes, indeed, we can be deceived and do just that.
(And I don’t think I really want to hear that!)
So how can we fall into this deception? Paul continues in our passage using one of the most familiar metaphors in human existence: planting seeds. We all know the basics – if you plant a seed and tend it, it will grow into something bigger and will bear fruit and new seeds in some way. But there’s a catch. You can only grow the same plant you started with. If you plant corn, you’re going to grow corn. If you plant an acorn, you’re going to get an oak tree. Simple, right? We all get it.
Now Paul makes a devastating point… We are sneering at God, we are ridiculing Him, when we “plant seeds” of one kind and expect a different outcome. And that’s exactly what we do when we make choices out of motivations like selfishness and still expect to come out alright in the end. “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption.” (verse 8). You can’t plant seeds of sin and hope for a harvest of righteousness. You just can’t. And when we do that, we are literally mocking God and the way He’s built the world we live in.
“But I would never do that!” we tell ourselves. No? Sadly, as fallen humans we are exceptionally good at deceiving ourselves. Do you ignore simple habits like eating right and exercise yet still hope to reap good health? Do you find yourself cheating “just a little bit” here or there, yet still hope to never get burned by it or to cheat more later? Or do you not prioritize much time with God and yet still hope to walk in a close relationship with Him? In the end we discover we are all fools, because we all plant seeds like these, one way or another. Thank God He lovingly extends His mercy to us over and over again!
What seeds do you plant in your life? Are your habits, disciplines and choices the kinds of seeds you really want to be planting? Or are there new seeds of righteousness God is prodding you to consider planting this year?