Point of Reference
by Fred Price
What kind of mental picture do you get from that? A little 'sowing of wild oats'? Having fun, even as it borders being on the wild side? Hosea was speaking to the people of the covenant, the good guys; those who had been called, responded, and should have known better. Like most of us. What's wrong with being a little wild? Don't we just need to get all that out of our system while we're young? Only if you are in turn willing to accept responsibility for your actions and their consequences; for there are always consequences. It's like telling little 'white' lies. Pretty soon you're telling more and bigger ones to cover for them and you become so involved you can't get out as the consequences to you or those about you continue to get bigger and harsher. For the price of sin, even the 'little' ones can be steep and painful, as we are assured that our sin will find us out. (Numbers 32:23)
"As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it." Job 4:8 This may indicate a little deeper involvement in our sowing of wild oats as we actually prepare the soil for trouble but the progression is natural. When we participate in questionable or 'outlawed' activities even just a little bit, we become comfortable with that level of participation and then are tempted to deepen our involvement. This usually happens with things we are secretly attracted to or are curious about, whether they be good for us or not. In fact, sometimes the danger in an activity and the possibility of getting caught make it more exciting and attractive. James assures us that, " each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived; it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." James 1:14,15 We can't blame anyone else, not even, 'The Devil made me do it!' There is a natural progression when we allow desire for evil to overcome our good sense and desire for good. Desire sin death. Hosea, after delivering his warning of sowing to wind and reaping a whirlwind, encourages us rather to break up the unplowed ground of obedience we have neglected and, "Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap(ing) the fruit of unfailing love, " Hosea 10:12
Does that exclude us from fun? Of course not, but you can't or at least shouldn't cut corners on right and wrong; issues that God expects us to take seriously. You must be able to recognize the good, better and best of situations and respond as a follower of Christ. Paul instructs us to, "Avoid every kind of evil." or "all appearance of evil." (KJ) 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Don't dabble in evil or wrongdoing, don't flirt with sin, don't play around it; for the sake of your lifestyle and witness. For odds are, if you play around it, you will soon be playing with it. You can't play at the edge of a mud puddle without getting splashed on; our goal should not be to see how close we can get without getting dirty, but how far away we can stay altogether.
"Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." Colossians 6:7,8 For, "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." Genesis 4:7 (This is dealing with Cain's resentment of God and anger at Abel as he pondered how to respond to God's rebuke and Abel's example.) Our natural inclination is to sin. It is by knowing God's word and putting that knowledge into practice that we master this inclination, and that takes a conscious effort.
You all are young and excited at the prospects before you, as were Cain and Abel. They, as you, were trying to define who they were and how that would translate into a successful lifestyle. The difference in their choices is quite obvious. You are out to gain knowledge and understanding of many new disciplines and ideas; you will be exposed to much good and bad. In the next several months and years you will consider more opportunities, make more decisions and face more temptation than ever before. Decisions will be made and changes implemented that will impact the rest of your life and possibly dictate much of what you will or will not be able to accomplish. For with those opportunities and options come the responsibility of deciding well, as much of your future life will entail taking responsibility or paying the price for what you do now.
Acquiring money for school, deciding which school to attend and what classes to take are just the start. Are you going to drink, smoke, experiment with drugs? How about sex? All those issues will confront you in one form or another and you will have the freedom to choose to participate or not in a way you've never had before. How are you going to respond when the pressure is on? Remember how mom and dad raised you, think back on the lessons learned at church and Sunday School, ponder God's word; these are the defenses available to you and are your responsibility to use.
Consider Adam and Eve. Created for companionship with God, having capabilities we wouldn't understand and a life expectancy that was virtually unlimited. One exception. Don't do this one thing or you will die. God didn't explain every detail because he didn't have to. They merely needed to refrain from this one thing. Was the apple bad? Was it full of spiritual poison? No. It was simply a question of obedience or rebellion. Of course they were attracted to it, by its very nature of being off-limits. To Eve it appeared good, "pleasing to the eye" and desirable (Genesis 3:6), appealing to the senses as most sin does. She gave in to temptation sowing the wind and didn't immediately die. Maybe God exaggerated a bit. She didn't really feel all that different, didn't look any different. So they went for it; undoubtedly enjoying the moment, the taste and the sensation of doing something they had never done before, something they had decided all on their own. They did die, though in various other ways. Their action diminished their relationship with God, changed the unlimited possibilities of their lives, the relationship they shared as a couple was changed from innocent sharing to suspicion, submission and physical hardship even death was introduced into a system not meant for such. All by merely eating an apple. (Or whatever else God had set aside as a prohibition that they might have done.) Sowing the wind reaping the whirlwind.
The problem lies in our perception. The things we see as of little or no consequence are often the proverbial tip of the ice-berg as far as our potential involvement is concerned. Sometimes the things we play at, telling ourselves we can control, blooms to full expression in a way we never considered and didn't intend. Check back next week as we consider just a few of the more common ways we sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.
"'Winging It" from
Jehoshaphat SpeaksRead Article »
Fred Price - married (48 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.
Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker. He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today. Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.
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