The Healthy act of sowing with Joy
I’ve been thinking a lot about Galatians 6:9 lately.
It says, “ Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
When I read it over quickly, I simply think of it as a verse written to encourage us. “Keep doing good, Shelly.” And most of the time, that small bit of a boost meets my heart in such a way that spurs me on to do good.
Lately, though, I’ve been really focusing on the beginning of the verse, specifically, “Let us not become weary in doing good.” I don’t know about you, but I almost always jump to the result of the command or encouragement. I can read a verse like this one and think, “Okay- if I do good, it’ll pay off!” This is true- doing good does result in good things happening, so I take it at face value and keep doing good.
There is more to this verse though. (Like pretty much the rest of the Bible.) We can skim past a verse one week, and the next we find it shining light into our lives in such an incredible way. I often think to myself, “How did I not see this before?”
As I’ve been reflecting on the intention of Galatians 6:9, I’ve had a deeper revelation and that is...
Becoming weary while doing good is what stops us from seeing the fruit of our labor- BECAUSE WE GIVE UP.
I know this may be common sense, when we think about it- but we really have to understand the fruit we surrender when we give up, instead of press on.
I bet if you’re like me, you have some particular comforts. You probably sleep with the same pillow on the same side of the bed. You probably have a fairly normal routine (even if it seems chaotic.) You most likely gravitate to the same kinds of foods and atmospheres for entertainment. I bet you even find yourself being attracted to a certain type of people group and your friends probably look and act very similar. So what does this have to do with anything? Well, our comforts say a lot about us. There isn’t anything essentially wrong with our comforts, but if we aren’t careful, we can let them dictate our choices, and control how hard we allow ourselves to be challenged.
Our comforts can end up being a trap. We can slowly become imprisoned to the things we “like”:the way we eat, the way we serve or don’t serve, the way we exercise or don’t, the way we get involved and even the way we handle a challenge.
The Bible is pretty clear in that the challenges in life, you know, the fiery trials that come us- well, they are what produce life in us. Many of us are familiar with the really tough verse in 1 Peter, that actually tells us to REJOICE? in our trials. (1 Peter 4:2) What. the. heck? Who gets excited about trials? I’m not talking about the little curve balls thrown at us, like temper tantrums, flat tires, or the common cold… I’m talking about the times in our life that our faith is tested. The nights we cry ourselves to sleep in prayer. The seasons we battle the pain from our deepest hurts, regrets, and relationships. Fiery trials are unavoidable, and they come to us all.
I have learned that these are the true challenges that God intends to produce the most fruit. These fiery trials test our ability to remain in the truth and in love, WHILE WE DO GOOD.
Do you find it hard to do good, when you are feeling bad? I don’t mean, do you find it hard to be nice when you are sick… I’m asking, are you able to serve others in your darkest moments? I’m asking, are you able to give, when you have nothing left? Can you love and forgive when someone has betrayed you? Are you doing good in how you think about your life and your body when you are confronted with sickness or disease? Do you press in to let good flow from your heart when all you feel like doing is giving up? I’m asking about doing good, when it seems impossible.
I believe Paul was writing to the Galatians about that kind of doing good. The kind that actually takes sacrifice and commitment.
The churches that Paul was writing to were sliding back into their old routines- they were sliding back into what they were comfortable with. Before they came to accept the Gospel of Jesus, they were predominantly Jewish. They had their old ways of worship, their old ways of traditions and religious practices. They also had their old ways of life beckoning them to return. It’s so easy to do what’s comfortable, instead of pressing in to DO GOOD. Pushing past the awkward and painful pangs of transition is hard. The transition is the most challenging part of the process.
The churches in Galatia were in the transition of learning how to do good when their bad tendencies fought to hold them back. Paul even asked them at one point in chapter 3 verse 1, “who has bewitched you?” He was confronting them in such a straight forward way because it was clear they had relinquished the fight. They were throwing in their towel of effort. They were believing false teachers telling them their old life was the good way.
Are you in the process of transition right now?
Are you in between jobs, relationships, ministries?
Practically speaking; Are you beginning the transition of turning from unhealthy behaviors toward the better ways ahead? Maybe you’re beginning a diet or exercise program. Your body might be aching, maybe you haven’t lost weight and you’re feeling defeated. Have you been tempted to go back to the junk food and the excuses? You might be transitioning in your faith, like the Galatians. Are you seeing God’s call on your life more clearly but sitting still in fear? Maybe your marriage or a friendship is on the rocks. Are you working to do good for the other person despite of the pain they’ve caused you. Whatever is is that you’re going through you might feel tempted to just let it go back to the way it was, because even though it was painful, it was comfortable. You were used to it.
Don’t become weary of doing good, friend.
Doing good is a fight. Growing weary is evidence that you are starting to believe the old way is better than the new. Don’t believe that! God was clearly moving through his Spirit in the province of Galatia. Bodies of believers were being formed, miracles were happening, people were spreading the good news of Jesus. But as in every transition, they were confronted with the actual work it takes to see the fruit of their labor. And right now, you are being confronted as well. Do you think the goal of doing good for your health is worth the fight? Do you believe the person that seems unlovable is worth the effort? Do you think the promise God gave you over your family or your ministry outweighs the struggle of getting through the dark nights?
Earlier in the letter to the church in Galatia, in chapter 5, Paul writes this, “THE ONLY THING THAT COUNTS is faith expressing itself through love.”
FAITH is often less about whether or not we think something is possible- but more about how we step out when we waver to believe. The converted Jews began wondering if what the false teachers were saying was actually true. They entertained the questions, “Did Jesus actually come? Was Jesus actually the son of God? Will God do what He said he’ll do?”
You may have to confront lies you’re entertaining to pursue in good works. Maybe you’re questioning the benefit of the goal ahead, or the task as hand. “Is this actually worth the struggle? Can I keep this up if it keeps hurting? Does doing this good thing actually matter?”
Answer those questions by taking those steps of faith even when you waver. Go to the next exercise class, drink the shake instead of the pasta, give even when you need, love even though it doesn’t seem deserving.
As you continue in doing good- your mind will begin to shift- your eyes will begin to open and see more clearly. The areas in which you wavered to believe will become part of the foundation of your faith. Whatever it is you are fighting for, do it with Christ in mind. Fight with the knowing that God is victorious in nature. His church is a body of champions in the making. Fight to do good so that the world will see what it looks like to overcome. Fight to show broken people what healing looks like. Fight to shine. That fight in you to sow in doing good, WILL produce a lasting reward. Fight to believe that first, then continue to work hard at any goal God sets before you. Watch your joy unfold as you see God bring a harvest.