The context of each statement is slightly different. In Galatians 6 he is challenging believers to help bear each other’s burdens, remember that we will reap what we sow, and to take opportunities to do good to others. In 1 Thessalonians 3 he is reminding us to not be idle in how we live but rather to work hard, and to avoid those who are not living as they should. However, while the context may be slightly different, they are similar in that both encourages us to choose what is right and avoid what isn’t…to do good.
The truth is, this can be very exhausting at times. There’s a reason we are encouraged to “not grow weary”…because we easily can, that is just reality.
First, we have a sin nature, and thus are selfish and don’t always instinctively choose what is right. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, our sin is dealt with. That means as Followers of Christ we are made righteous through him, and we have received his spirit to help guide us.
However, our flesh still battles against the spirit at times. So it’s not always easy for us to choose to do what is right, or avoid what is wrong. And this battle can be tiring.
Second, it takes effort to not act instinctively. We naturally want to choose what we want, react in our emotion, or to think of ourselves first. However, God is clear in his Word that we must die to self and allow him to live through us. We have to learn to be patient and rely on God’s strength to not act according to our flesh.
For example, in Philippians 2:3-4 it tells us…
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
This concept of counting others more significant than ourselves, looking to their interests, is not our normal operating procedure. We want to think of ourself and consider our own interests first. In fact, it is God through his spirit that gives us the strength to be humble, consider others, and think of their interests.
Notice also, it doesn’t say we only do it when it’s easy, or with people who also do the same in return (read the context around those verses to see it never says that). What is often so tiring about living this way is that we are called to do so in situations and with people that can be difficult.
Yet regardless of who or what the situation is, this charge remains the same for Followers of Christ. The encouragement to not grow weary in doing so remains the same as well.
Another example can be found in some different verses in Proverbs…
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. (Proverbs 15:18)
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32)
Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you. (Proverbs 20:22)
When we feel wronged, or when we think someone is ignoring our feelings or taking advantage of us, or when something doesn’t go the way we want, our initial reaction is to respond in anger. Being slow to anger or not seeking to repay evil isn’t. We need God’s strength for that.
God, through is spirit, gives us the strength we need in those moments. He helps us to act in a godly way.
Those are just two examples. There are many different ways we have to rely on God for his strength to not grow weary but rather continue to choose what is right. Often we see this struggle in how we choose to react and/or treat other people, which is why I chose those two examples. But truthfully, this does apply to all areas of our life.
There was a time when I had grown so weary in my own life, that admittedly I began looking for verses that would give me the ability to act in my anger. I tried to find a “loop-hole” to get to think of myself first, and be selfish. But no such luck (no surprise, I know).
God in his Word continually reminds us to choose righteousness, to be humble, to live Godly, and to love others…even those who we would consider enemies. All of this is done by dying to our flesh, finding our strength in God, and living according to his spirit. (read Galatians 5:16-26)
Proverbs 21:21 shows us what choosing to live for God will lead to; what deciding to do good and act in righteousness and kindness will result in…
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.
What difficult situations or people might you be currently dealing with? Are you struggling to remember what the outcome of choosing righteousness and kindness will be? Have you had moments when you’ve wanted to just act in your flesh? Are you tired of the battle?
If there is something in your life right now that is causing you to grow weary of doing good…take time to pause. Find time to be quiet and still, away from distractions, and spend time with God.
Read his Word; seek his wisdom
Spend time in prayer; ask him to give you the strength you need
Learn to rely on his spirit; allow him to renew you and guide you
Times when we are weary can end up resulting in a deeper relationship with God, if we keep seeking him through it. Don’t give up! Work hard to keep your eyes on the Lord.
What about those who are not dealing with difficulty at this moment? Well, continue to seek the Lord through the above ways as well…those are always good practices to have. But, also look for ways to build up your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who may be having a hard time right now.
Pray for them, and with them
Encourage them, showing them grace and kindness
Come alongside them, even seeking to help them bear their burden
Remind them of who they are in Christ. Lovingly help them to stay focused on Jesus. Share with them ways God has been there for you, and help them to see what God is doing in their life too. You may be who God uses to help them in that moment.
As we seek to Simply Follow Jesus in this life, may we continue to seek him to lead and guide us and our decisions through this life. May we help and encourage each other to keep our eyes on him. And may we not grow weary in doing good.