You've probably heard the saying many times in your life, "You reap what you sow."
I've heard this phrase since I was a child. But somehow it didn't really "click" in my brain...until I heard it explained in a different way.
Andy Stanley calls this principle the "law of the harvest." That is in contrast to the "law of Pinochio."
The "law of Pinochio" is instant cause-effect reaction. He told a lie - his nose immediately grew.
For some reason, most of us expect life to be like that. If we eat a donut and don't instantly feel bad, we think, "no big deal." If we work hard this week, we want to be wealthy next week. If we exercise today, we think we should be stronger tomorrow.
The reality is that almost everything in life operates not under the law of instant results, but under the "law of the harvest."
You prepare the soil. You plant seeds. You water. You weed. You wait. You weed. You water. You wait.
FINALLY - you get a tiny sprout. Gradually followed by a small plant. Then a bigger plant. And at long last - the HARVEST.
Every day we are preparing some kind of harvest - either a harvest of negative fruit or positive fruit. But we won't see instant results. The consequences of our actions show up over time.
Many years of toxic exposure, poor nutrition, little sleep, lots of stress, etc. may not manifest a problem for a while. But eventually the "harvest" will show up and we'll experience the result of damaged health.
The same is true as we try to take care of our bodies. All the hard work, tough choices, self-control, good nutrition, etc. doesn't yield instant healing. But gradually, over time, the body has what it needs to heal. One day we will experience the "harvest" of restored health.
Every day we are at work in one garden or the other - sowing seeds that will destroy health or sowing seeds that will repair and promote health.
When I'm tempted to give in to the flesh or when I'm discouraged by lack of progress, God reminds me of this principle, the "law of the harvest." And I pray for strength to keep on sowing, and weeding, and waiting...for the precious fruit.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." -Galatians 6:9