You Reap What You Sow: Meaning In The Bible

November 9, 2022

Alberta Vadnais

Alberta Vadnais

Author & Non-profit Consultant

Alberta Vadnais

Alberta Vadnais

I love finding ways to feel God in my day, whether I’m going to work or cooking dinner. I make sure I’m connected to Him by listening to Bible stories, sermons, praying, and singing praise songs. All the apps I test are introduced into my everyday life so that I can feel their usability on a daily basis.

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“You reap what you sow” is a popular proverb that is found in the Bible. People sometimes refer to it as the law of karma and wonder if everything they’ve done comes back to bite them in the end.

In truth, life is all about choices. God gave man the gift of free will and the ability to choose his path. If we desire to be righteous we can do so, and if we want to live in wickedness, we also can. So what does the Bible mean about sowing and reaping and to what extent do we actually reap what we sow?

'Reap What You Sow' Meaning

The words ‘reaping’ and ‘sowing’ are agricultural terms.

When a farmer puts a seed into the ground intending to nurture it to grow, it is called sowing. After it grows and yields fruit, the act of harvesting them is called reaping.

As a saying, these words simply mean that whatever choices we make presently would have consequences in the future whether positive or negative. It is like the law of cause and effect that states that every single action produces a reaction no matter what.

In farming, if you sow pepper seeds, you’ll reap a pepper plant. You can’t sow pepper and expect to come back and meet oranges growing from the plant.

In the same way, if you sow wrong decisions, you will always get the results.

What Bible Verse Says You Will Reap What You Sow?

These words can be found in Galatians 6:7-9. It says,

“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.”

This was Paul’s writing to the church in Galatia. In the first few verses of chapter 6, he reminds them that when people are found in sin, it’s important for others help them come back to God in love. Being gentle with them helps us not to become judgemental of them because that could be us as well. He also warns them to be careful not to fall prey to sin themselves. That means that even as we carry the burdens of others, we are responsible for our own actions as well.

Verse 7 then opens up with Paul stating that whatever we sow, we will always reap. If we sow in the flesh, we’d reap corruption, but when we sow spiritual things, we would reap spiritual things. What did Paul mean by this?

What Does It Mean Today?

Paul began verse 7 with the words “God is not mocked” before saying that we reap what we sow. This means that we cannot ridicule the justice of God shown in the law of sowing and reaping. We cannot cheat laws by hoping that we would not be affected by our bad decisions.

Whatever a man sows by his thoughts, words, and especially actions would always bring the same consequence, whether good or bad. It goes a long way to tell us how careful we must be about the choices we make now. If we just focus on pleasing our flesh, acting on every whim of our evil desires, we can surely count on reaping the fruit of our desires. Paul mentions them in Galatians 5:19-21 when he said,

“19. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,

20. idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,

21. envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”

When we also decide to go against our evil desires and instead seek spiritual things, the Holy Spirit Himself causes wholesome fruits to spring forth in us. These fruits are also mentioned in Galatians 5:22–23. They are; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

We must note how Paul ended after mentioning each of these fruits. He assured us that those who bear the fruits of the flesh will have nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. But for the fruits of the spirit, he said there’s no law against them meaning that these fruits are not forbidden but encouraged. They help us fullfill the intent of God in our lives.

Bible Verses About Reaping What You Sow

“Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.”

“Sow with a view to righteousness,
Reap in accordance with kindness;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord
Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.”

“According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity
And those who sow trouble harvest it.”

“He who sows iniquity will reap vanity,
And the rod of his fury will perish.”

“You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies;
37. and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.”

“The wicked earns deceptive wages,
But he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.”

“And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

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Final Thoughts

God is just and that is why the law of sowing and reaping is in place. If we always reap what we sow, it means that we can choose what we sow. Choose good, choose life over death and separation from God (Deuteronomy 30:19). If we have previously sown wrongly and then turn to God, though we cannot escape from it totally, God will always help and strengthen us through the aftermath.

Finally, in Galatians 6:9, Paul encourages us to persist in doing good and pursuing the fruits of the spirit. No matter how tough it may be, be patient because the reward of God’s Kingdom is worth everything.

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Alberta Vadnais

Alberta Vadnais

Author & Non-profit Consultant