Do Not Grow Weary of Doing Good

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).

Paul encourages us to not grow weary of doing good. That tells me it is very possible and likely that at some point in my walk with Jesus I’m going to grow weary of doing good. It happens. It happened to the best of the best in Scripture (Elijah, Jeremiah, Paul, Moses, etc.).

Here are some thoughts for why we sometimes grow weary in doing good.

  1. We lose sight of the mission. It may be that we become results oriented, instead of service oriented. For example, we get frustrated because people are not “doing” what we are teaching / influencing them to do. But our job is not on the results end, it is on the planting and watering end. It is God’s job to give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:7).
  2. We feel like we are the only ones doing right. Following God may leave us at times feeling lonely, thinking we’re the only ones who “get it.” Elijah thought that, but God showed him there were 7,000 others. Rest assured that you are not the only person on earth who “gets it.”
  3. We take our focus off God’s glory and begin to direct attention to ourselves. This was Moses’ problem, even though it was temporary (Numbers 20). Moses blew a gasket, and I can understand why when you look at the Israelites’ behavior and attitudes. But for a brief moment, Moses took the glory from God and directed it to himself, and for it he paid dearly. One of the reasons we grow weary in doing good is because we make too much of it about ourselves and not about God. It ain’t about you.
  4. We take on too much. Sometimes, we are trying to do too much by ourselves. We begin to rely on our own strength instead of God’s. And instead of spreading the responsibilities and delegating the work to the body of Christ, we begin to think one body part can do it all. That is not good for you or others. That can get us tired and weary in a hurry! We are to bear one another’s burdens, that means we type-A personalities have to learn to rely on the strength of others (Galatians 6:2).

Remember, Paul said we will “reap if we do not lost heart and give up.” God is there with us. His strength holds us up and renews us. The body of Christ is around us to work side by side in His service.

Let us also keep in step with the Spirit

But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
(Galatians 2:14, ESV)

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:24-25, ESV)

The two above passages from Galatians talk about keeping in step. Some of you were in the military or in a marching band, and you can right away understand this concept. You can spot it right away when someone is not “keeping in step” with the others.

Galatians 2:14 is referring to when Paul rebuked Peter to the face for conduct “not in step with the truth of the gospel.” Peter’s hypocrisy led even Barnabas astray. Barnabas and others were walking in step with Peter, but not in step with the truth of the gospel.

The next passage from Galatians 5 is in the context of the war between the flesh and the Spirit. In order to keep in step with the Spirit, we need to “crucify” our flesh with its passions and desires. When we are following our lusts and passions for the things of this world, we are keeping in step with Satan, not the Spirit.

Just like that person in a marching band who is not keeping in step with the others, we should be able to spot when we are not keeping in step with the Spirit. It all comes down to what fruit we are bearing and manifesting in our lives?

Is your life’s fruit showing that you are keeping in step with the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21)?

Or is your life revealing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)?

With whom are you keeping in step today, men?

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
(Galatians 6:7-9)

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?

Paul, an apostle–not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead–(Galatians 1:1).

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:10-12).

We just finished a gospel meeting with my great friend, Jason Salyers. He preached from the book of Galatians. He drew our attention to the theme that “the gospel is not from men.” There were men in that Galatian region who were trying to pervert and twist the gospel. At the same time those very men were aggressively oppressing and persecuting those who stood for the gospel. Both Paul and those who stood for the gospel could have made life a lot easier for themselves if they would have just caved in and went along with those false teachers. As Jason pointed out, even the false teachers were teaching these things because they wanted to avoid persecution (6:12).

Here are some things about Paul in the book of Galatians to remember when it comes to being a people-pleaser versus a servant of Christ.

  • Paul understood his relationship and position with Christ did not come from men, but through Christ (1:1).
  • He also knew that seeking the approval of men was the same as turning his back on Christ (1:10-12). It isn’t that he didn’t try to accommodate the consciences of others and become all things to all men (1 Cor. 9), but his focus was first on pleasing Christ. He could do nothing for men that would not please Jesus.
  • You can’t yield when it comes to the truth of the gospel, not even for a moment (2:5).
  • Don’t try like Peter did to play both sides of the fence and make everyone happy (2:11-19). That’s just being a hypocrite, and it will have a strong influence to lead the faithful astray (2:13).
  • Understand that those who are “influential” added nothing to Paul. God shows no partiality and Paul didn’t either (2:6). Just because that person is a big time somebody doesn’t mean you cower and cave. God is not impressed by status, nor should we be.
  • Know that when you stand for truth, friends may become enemies (4:16).
  • Think about whether you are trying to make a “good showing in the flesh” or trying to please Christ (6:12).
  • Paul did not seek to please men, because he understood that being crucified with Christ meant that the world had been crucified to him as well (6:14).

There are several other verses from Galatians that tie in to this point, but this is enough for today to think about.

Thanks again, Jason, for the lessons.

A Story on Perspective

Take a minute and read and consider this story.

People were sitting quietly. Some reading newspapers, some lost in thought, some resting with their eyes closed. It was a calm, peaceful scene. Then suddenly, a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed. The man sat down next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation. The children were yelling back and forth, throwing things, even grabbing people’s papers. It was very disturbing. And yet, the man sitting next to me did nothing.

  “It was difficult not to feel irritated. I could not believe that he could be so insensitive as to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all. It was easy to see that everyone else on the subway felt irritated, too. So finally, with what I felt was unusual patience and restraint, I turned to him and said, ‘Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?’”

  “The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly, ‘Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.’

  Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm (heart) shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, and because I saw differently, I thought differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn’t have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior; my heart was filled with the man’s pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. ‘You’re wife just died? Oh, I’m so sorry! Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?’ Everything changed in an instant.”   (Stephen Covey)

Now consider the Holy Spirit’s words in (Galatians 6:1-5).

1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load.

 What did you think of in this exercise? What comes to my mind is the importance of knowing and participating in the lives of those I love…especially the brethren. If I know them and participate in their lives, I will understand better their circumstances. If I better understand their circumstances, I will have more patience with what I might be observing in their lives and seek out opportunities to help rather than chastise or be annoyed. If I seek out opportunities to help, those I love will be lifted up and God will be gloried and the law of Christ is fulfilled…and His law is love.

We all have spiritual and physical burdens to carry but God has given us one another to be a helper to each other and sometimes that “one thing” we carry for another is just enough. Meditate on this today. Pray God would turn your eyes and heart to other’s lives. Have the courage to love them.