Do Not Lose Heart

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart
(Galatians 6:9)

Some thoughts:

In light of all the countless multitude of things that we have to be thankful for, how easy it is for us to lose focus, lose perspective, lose priorities, and thus lose hope and heart. How easy we become weary of even the simplest things in life: a bill due, a paper to write, a dog to train, a meal to make, a yard to rake, or a test to take; dishes to wash, clothes to fold, people to please, or a house to clean. These are the things of life. However, I don’t think that such is the immediate thought of the apostle in this above passage. This verse is sandwiched between two other verses. Here is the context of thought:

For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith (Gal. 6:8-10).

Paul here is discussing our daily walk with God and our fight to maintain that walk in light of the flesh, the world, and the devil, though primarily in this context, the flesh. A friend of mine last night said that we need to not be hypocrites and be able to look at ourselves in the mirror, to which I responded in agreement but also added that that person we look at in the mirror is our worst enemy. Our hearts are deceitful, our minds are perverted and corrupt, our secret thoughts and actions are shameful, and the reality between what we are (on the inside) and what we appear to be (before others) is enough to drive the true believer to lose heart. Let us take heed, lest we think we stand. To paraphrase James, we are so two-faced that in the same breath we can praise God and curse others. We can do a good thing and five minutes later do an evil thing.

The “good” that Paul speaks of here is the “right.” Doing the right thing, the godly things, is so often down-right difficult. The world has no Lord over them, no absolute rules to follow, no binding obligations to forgive, to love, to abstain, and to apply. They do what they want; they are their own Lord. We are by no means immune from coveting this alleged freedom. As Christians, we can’t always do what we want to do, and at times we have to do things we don’t want to do. We can’t lie, steal, lust, cheat, hurt, hate, and covet. We have to tell the truth, work for everything, abstain from immorality, make amends, forgive the undeserving, love our enemies, and be happy for others who succeed, often in light of our own failures. Sowing to the flesh (those things listed in Gal. 5) is so easy because it comes naturally to us and just feel so good. Doing wrong comes natural; doing right is of grace. Last year I wrote a paper that I was going to submit to the annual philosophy paper contest for school. The title was: “The Existential Agony of Ethics under Authority.” What does that mean? Basically, just a fancy way of saying what I just said: the Christian life is at times down right difficult and burdensome. The flesh does not let up and neither does God’s demand for obedience. In this we find a head on collision: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:16-18). An “Ethics under Authority” is simply another way of saying that we have an uncompromising Lord who has exclusive rights to our moral and spiritual life, a Lord to which we cannot escape even in the deep recesses of our minds—Behold, He is there. The Psalmist in 139 felt this inescapability of God, and at first it was an oppressive thing for him, a burden. It is mostly a burden when we are not “walking in the Spirit,” or abiding daily in Christ and His words. But even when abiding, the difficulty of always doing the right thing can cause one to grow weary while doing good.

Paul in our main verse calls us not to grow weary while doing good (who better to know about growing weary!). Notice the connector ‘for’. There is a reason we ought not to grow weary and lose heart: “in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Reap what? Well, notice the metaphor of farming. Planting, sowing, reaping are all agricultural metaphors. He tells us what we will reap. If we sow to the flesh, that is, give in to it and obey it, we will reap the consequences. Paul says in Ephesians 4 that if our deceitful lusts and desires “grow” the more we give in to them, the end of those things is death, i.e., no fruit. Our inner person will become more and more corrupt which leads to outwardly evil actions. But if we sow to the Spirit, that is, yield ourselves to obey and apply the truth, we will reap those consequences: everlasting life. Yet notice carefully that when the Bible speaks of everlasting or eternal life, it is not merely referring to quantity of life, that is, we live for a real long time, so to speak. “Life” in Scripture also has a qualitative sense. Paul told Timothy that a woman (or man) who lives in immorality (for example) is actually “dead” while she lives. Everlasting life is both durative and qualitative, life more abundantly. Thriving life, abundant life, joyous life occurs as we abide in the Life source, the Vine. This is what God has promised us. This is why we are not to lose heart or grow weary while doing good, because we have such a great hope. If we continue doing what God calls us to do and do not lose heart, we will experience more and more transformation, more strength, more joy. When we live in this kind of life we will be a greater blessing to those around us, especially to those in the household of faith. Then the world will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. Do not grow weary, do not lose heart, we have too much going for us.

Now study the context around these three passages and see how this theme applies in these situations.

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, (Luke 18:1)[ The Light of Christ’s Gospel ] Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:1)Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16)

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