While the fall season is typically associated with harvesting crops, we as Christians should also consider other types of harvests.
For example, from a spiritual standpoint, what can we expect to reap as a harvest?
If we look at the quality of our lives, our spiritual harvests should reflect not only what we have been sowing but what we are reaping. Despite the trials, tribulations, and troubles that came into our lives over the past nine months, what have we reaped spiritually? Can we say we grew in their faith? Can we say we acquired more patience? Can we say we developed more self-control? If we can honestly say yes to these and other accomplishments, then the quality of our lives should reflect the spiritual harvests mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV):
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
However, we should also realize that our spiritual harvests, and thus our spiritual growth, can be stunted or even diminished if we are not careful. To illustrate this, I turn to my study about watchmen and harvests in the following section.
This month, I have had the pleasure of reading Intercessory Prayer by internationally renowned pastor Dutch Sheets. I find it not a coincidence but God’s timing that He has me reading Chapter Fourteen, “The Watchman’s Anointing” right now. In this chapter, Sheets shares his spiritual insight about the need to watch during the harvest season: “In seasons of harvest, there is a more urgent need for watchmen, as the ‘thief’ is going to do all he can to steal it, keeping the greater portion.”
While reflecting on Sheet’s insight, I recalled reading one of the most long-awaited sequels in the world of literary classics: Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. When the novel debuted in 2015, there was a stir among some readers who questioned the meaning of the title. In his article, “What does the title, ‘Go Set a Watchman’ mean?” S.J. Prince pointed out that the title comes from Isaiah 21:6 (NLT):
“Meanwhile, the Lord said to me, ‘Put a watchman on the city wall. Let him shout out what he sees.'”
When we read further in Isaiah 21:6-10 (NLT), we learn that Isaiah was prophesying the fall of Babylon, the kingdom that had taken Israel captive and spread its worship of idols throughout the land. Inspired by the meaning behind Lee’s title, Sheets’ insight, and the prophecy of Isaiah 21: 6-10 (NLT), I crafted the title of this blog post reflect the subject of watchmen. As I began my reflective writing about spiritual harvests and watchmen, two questions came to my mind:
- In what ways can our spiritual harvests be stolen?
- What can we do to watch over our spiritual harvests?
To answer these questions, I considered that the ‘”thief” can steal our spiritual harvests through common, every day situations that are not going our way. When we fall short of being Christ-like, our responses reflect the spiritual ills mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21(NLT):
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
I provide three examples. As a first example, what is your response when you are stuck in traffic? Do you curse the line of cars in front you, diminishing your spiritual harvest of patience? Or, do you bear with it, tap into your faith that you will get though it, and thank God for His protection while you wait?
As a second example, let’s say the wireless connection for your phone suddenly drops. Do you go into an angry panic because you can’t post on your social media platform? Perhaps your phone become your idol, similar to the idols introduced to the Israelites from the Babylonians? God warns us in Exodus 20:1-6 (ESV) about loving material items above Him. To emphasize His displeasure, consider what happened to the idols of the Babylonians: ‘“…All the idols of Babylon lie broken on the ground!” In other words, take heed to what could happen if you idolize your phone!
As a third example, when find out your child forgot to bring home his homework yet again, do you go into a fit of anger, shaming him in public? Or, do you show self-control, take your child aside, and apply a gentle yet firm response of your disapproval by saying something along these lines: “I’m disappointed that you forgot your homework again. It is important that you learn how to be responsible so that you can do well in school. Since you are showing me that you are not responsible, you won’t be able to go to the movies this weekend. When you go to school tomorrow, we will see your teacher and you will apologize for not having your homework. When you can show me that you can be responsible to bring home your homework, then we will go to the movies.”
Needless to say, showing love for God and others, patience, faith, gentleness, and self-control in any of these situations is not always our first response nor is it easy. However, they illustrate that even in small ways every day, our spiritual harvests can be stolen, and as Sheets states, the thief keeps the greater portion. Thus, let’s “go set a watch” over our attitudes, our actions, and our affections.
How are you growing spiritually and what spiritual harvests are you reaping? Tell me on Twitter! May God bless and keep you!