Life can be very wearying at times for a variety of reasons. Perhaps we have wearied ourselves with our sin (Jeremiah 9:5). Perhaps life has just pushed us physically and emotionally to great lengths, and we are simply tired and worn out. Maybe we have reduced the Christian life to a legalistic system of standards and performance that has made living tiresome. If we have sinned, we must repent. If we are simply languished, there is a time for rest. If we are relying upon self for sanctification, we need to surrender control and come under grace. God’s call to the Christian is perseverance and finishing strong. We will battle fatigue, indifference, and the flesh, but we must continue to believe and do good. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (see also 2 Thessalonians ). God makes a conditional promise here by saying that we will bear fruit and gain eternal rewards at the proper time if we don’t lose heart and grow weary. In fact, if we lose heart in our praying, we are not to expect answers (Luke 18:1-8). Thus, it is of great importance that we know how strength can be sustained and renewed.
The context in Galatians 6 is speaking of sowing to the Spirit versus sowing to the flesh. What God is driving at in His command that we persevere in doing good is that we would continue to bear fruit, both internal and external. We are to be taking care that our heart motivations are right, that our thoughts are pure, and that the fruit of the Spirit is evident in our lives. We are also to be active in serving others by bearing their burdens and showing them good will such that they will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Both internal and external components should be a regular reality for the Christian. If we slough off in either, we will have violated Galatians 6:9, failing to persevere, giving in to spiritual apathy, and losing our first love.
The answer to sustained Spirit-filled living is not merely Christian activity. The church at Ephesus in Revelation 2 continued to stand for truth and defend sound doctrine. They didn’t tolerate false teaching, and their good works were abundant. God’s issue with them, however, was that they lost their first love. Initially, they did things because they enjoyed God and the pleasure of serving Him, but as time passed, their works became form and function rather than the outworking of love and the abundant life in Christ. The same thing happened to the people of Israel in Malachi’s time. In Malachi 1:13, God confronted Israel because they had been saying that His work was “tiresome.” God always wants a heart of devotion, love, passion, and commitment. Perseverance isn’t simply continuing in doing the “right things,” but it is a matter of being driven and controlled by the love of God.
If we have been exasperated or if we have lost heart, the ultimate answer is to look to Jesus. Hebrews 12:3 says, “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.” When we feel ourselves growing tired of God and ministry, we must consider Jesus. Jesus’ life was brutal with many rejections and more suffering than we can conceive of. Yet He endured it, and by His power at work in us, we can persevere in heartfelt service as well. When our strength fails and we feel that we can’t go on, Christ is our hope. He never grows tired or weary, and He promises to renew the strength of those who wait upon Him (Isaiah 40:28-31). Relying on willpower alone to sustain us spiritually is not going to suffice, but trusting in God’s sufficient grace to work in and through our weakness will (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
So if we are sensing a spiritual weariness and a loss of joy in the things of God, here is what we must do. We must acknowledge our condition as sin. Isaiah 43:22 says, “Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob; But you have become weary of Me, O Israel.” The issue is that we grow weary of God. Since God is to be the source of our joy and since worship is to be directed toward Him, our issue fundamentally when we lose heart must stem from a spiritual “fatigue” with God. He becomes a bore to us, we put Him on the back burner, or we don’t care to commune with Him through reading His Word or prayer. We don’t give God the time of day because we have “other interests.” It is at this point that we must acknowledge the reality of our spiritual slide and draw near to God Who will, in turn, draw near to us (James 4:8). God alone is the supplier of strength, so when spiritual fatigue enters our lives, we must acknowledge it, repent of it, and let God be our joy. As God becomes our joy, we can trust that strength will soon follow after as we wait upon Him. As Nehemiah says, “The joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Are you losing spiritual strength? Better said, have you lost your joy in God Himself? Repent, and let God be your joy; His strength and grace will soon follow.