I’ll bet you can think of a time in your life when you were dead tired, stretched beyond capacity, energy depleted and maybe even discouraged from the lack of progress or growth. I’ve had more than a few of these seasons and experiences in my life, such that it can be really tempting to quit. I remember many times when I wanted to give up, such as: trying to get better at playing basketball, getting frustrated with my German phonetics class in college, parenting challenges, feeling ineffective with teaching and writing and lots of other stuff.
I don’t think it’s uncommon for us to get weary and drained from doing good, trying, investing, growing, along with the absence of progress. But with this feeling and experience, let’s remember what Paul says in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”
I think it’s interesting to pause and reflect on what Paul is saying in this verse, along with the audience to whom Paul is speaking. The readers of Paul’s letter, the churches in Galatia, were made up of gentile and Jewish believers who had become followers of Jesus. Paul was extremely concerned that these new believers were falling into the legalism trap with Judaism and doing salvation based on good works rather than Jesus’ redemption. At the same time, we read in this verse that Paul wanted these believers to persevere in doing good.
Here are some things to consider related to doing good and not quitting:
- What about the premise that we continually choose to do good, regardless of the outcomes or benefits? What about the idea that we choose to do good, for the simple and honest reason that doing good is the right thing to do, no matter the results or benefits? If we only do good to see good outcomes, then we can readily find reasons to quit when we don’t have good results.
- What about the capitalizing on the benefits of perseverance? Learning lessons, and developing stamina and tenacity are things we want, but I don’t see how we can have these benefits without the concerted persistence of endurance and not quitting.
- Is it possible that God has different outcomes for us than what we might be aiming for with endurance? I find that a lot of things where I’ve endured had different and even better outcomes than what I was trying to achieve. I think that God often has better outcomes or goals than what we want.
- Could we let God participate through us in difficult situations to bring hope, life, love and redemption? If we say yes to this possibility, there’s a good chance that we will need to endure by being steady and persistent.
With all this said, I fully recognize that there are situations where we need to quit to protect our personhood, be safe and remain healthy. It’s important that we stay aware of being healthy and safe. At the same time, let’s allow God to help us get stronger and more capable in those situations where we’d like to quit just because it’s hard. Let’s not quit and sabotage the possibly good outcomes that God has for us.
Thank you, Sarah. You are so greatly appreciated. Have a blessed day.