With the New Year coming up this week, most of us are contemplating things to cut out of our lives.  Less junk food, less social media, less smoking, less drama, less debt, etc.

This morning, I feel that God wants to challenge us to think about this differently.  What if instead of considering what to cut out of our lives, we consider what we should add to our lives?

There is something psychological about us that makes it difficult to give up things or to take things out of our lives.  We feel like we are missing out or getting less out of life.  It’s a very negative thing.

However, we are all about adding to our lives.  We’re all about “but wait, there’s more!”  Pay $20 for a small tub of Oxi-Clean?  No way!  Pay $19.95 for a small tub of Oxi-Clean and call in the next 30 minutes to also get a free second tub of Oxi-Clean, a squirt bottle, a bottle of orange clean kitchen cleaner, a super shammy, and free shipping? YES!

Psychologically, we want more, not less.  We don’t want to miss out.  So, when making new year resolutions, consider making commitments that add to your life and not take away from them. 

Less junk food for snacks?  Nope!  We’re going to try out a whole bunch of new natural foods that we’ve never experienced before as snacks.

Less time staring at your phone looking through social media?  Nope!  More time getting together with friends and doing new things together.

Less debt?  Nope!  More wealth and more financial peace by building up some savings.  Or another way of looking at it, paying ourselves first.

It becomes a more positive mindset and attitude toward life in gaining a fuller life and less negative about takin things away from our lives.

It’s the old adage that says, “You are what you eat.”  Another way of looking at this is, “What are we planting into our lives?”  What are we putting into our lives?  After are, who we are is the result of how we think.  That’s what repentance is all about; seeing ourselves and our lives the way that God does and no longer from our own perspective!

That is essentially what this scripture is stating:

Proverbs 23:7 (NASB)

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.

We are what we think.  The thoughts that we plant into our hearts and minds root themselves within the fabric of our character and eventually bear fruit through our behavior. 

This is why the primary message of Jesus, and John the Baptist preparing the way for Him, was to repent.  Repentance is less about what we do and more about how we think.  Once our thoughts are transformed, then our attitudes and actions will change as well.  What thoughts are we planting and cultivating in our lives?

Are we pressing in to seek after God and to hear what He is speaking to us?  Or do we fill our ears and minds with what others are saying through social media and news sources?  Do we value the voice of peacemakers or do we prefer listening to voices that stir up division and strife?  Which choice voice are we allowing to plant seeds of thought into our lives?

This morning, God is beginning to take us on a new journey that will likely continue throughout the course of the upcoming year.  He is challenging us to be planters.

Galatians 6:7

Do not be deceived:

God cannot be mocked.

A man reaps what he sows.

We do not plant watermelon seeds and expect to later reap a harvest of corn.  We do not plant carrot seeds and expect to later reap a harvest of barley.  We should not plant seeds of gossip and expect to later reap a harvest of encouragement.  We should not plant seeds of greed and expect to later reap a harvest of generosity.  We should not plant seeds of violence and expect to later reap a harvest of peace.

Galatians 6:7

Do not be deceived:

God cannot be mocked.

A man reaps what he sows.

Karma is fake knockoff of this Biblical principle, which is why it appears to be true.  We reap what we sow.  We harvest what we plant.  We receive what we give.  We are what we think.

So, what are we planting?

Galatians 6:7-10

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Farming is not an adventure for those seeking immediate gratification.  It is not a sprinted race toward a finish line only a short distance away.  It is a hard labor done in faith with very little to show for it in the immediate future.  It is a life of daily duties done with the future goals in the mind here and now.  There is nothing about it that is rushed, but there is always work to do. 

The plowing and planting and fertilizing and weeding is all done for a future harvest.  That future harvest is often done to feed future livestock that eat that harvest year after year before eventually being butchered to finally feed families.  That cycle is ever-continuing and always future-minded.

So it is the life of a Christian.  We would be wise to learn not to grow weary in doing good and not to seek out immediate results.  We trust that if we keep faithfully doing what we are called to do in our daily lives, we will reap a harvest at just the right time so long as we don’t give up.  James said it this way:

James 5:7-11

7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Your harvest is coming!  That’s why we can give God praise in every season.  God remains unchanged throughout every season of life.  He is always good and we can stand steadfast convinced that we will experience His goodness.

We patiently persevere.  We know that good fruits come from good roots.  We want the fruits of the Spirit here and now.  We long for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.  However, those fruits do not come our way in an instant.  We don’t plant an apple seed one day and expect to stroll out the next morning and bite into a large, juicy apple.

Good fruits come from good roots.  Roots begin with a seed that first dies and then begins to grow and develop a large network of roots under the ground completely unseen.  Those roots are searching for water and nutrients needed for growth.  Then, a seedling sprouts up.  For a long period of time, that sprout grows and becomes stronger and stronger.  The very last step in the whole process is the production of good fruit, which then begins the process all over again.

We want good fruit, but are we willing to develop good roots?  It all begins with the seed that we plant; what we choose to sow.

In the upcoming year, let us be more intentional and more discerning about planting.  It begins with our own lives.  We cannot sow good seed into the lives of those around us if we are not growing good fruit in our own lives to derive that good seed from.  Jesus said:

Matthew 7:17-18

17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

Matthew 12:33

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.

God wants us to be good, healthy trees with good, healthy roots that bear good, healthy fruits.

It all begins with what we choose to plant in our own lives.

Galatians 6:7

Do not be deceived:

God cannot be mocked.

A man reaps what he sows.

This year, let us be a people with an insatiable hunger and thirst for more of God’s word, more of God’s Presence, and more of God’s revelation.  Let’s be a people who plant the things of God into our lives and patiently allow Him to grow within us good roots trusting that at the right time, we will reap a harvest of good fruit. 

There’s a whole lot of things that God has given us to plant and I can’t wait for the upcoming year as we learn about them, plant them in our own lives, and also sow them out into the lives of those around us!

Good roots produce good fruits, so let’s get to planting!