“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:9)

All of us “have been there.” We helped, and helped, and helped until it seemed there was nothing left in us to be helpful. Or, we gave, and gave, and gave until it seemed obvious our giving changed little. Or, we sacrificed, and sacrificed, and sacrificed until something occurred that made past sacrifices meaningless. Or, we worked, and worked, and worked and changed nothing. Or, our behavior set the example of God’s light; we did “the right thing” constantly; and we were conscious of our influence, but even our family preferred the darkness. Or, we understood scripture, and understood scripture, and understood scripture only to confront (again) our ignorance “face to face.”

To follow Jesus Christ to God is to swim against the tide! Swimming against the tide of culture and society is hard! Tiring! Exhausting! To help 24/7 is demanding! To give 7 days a week is relentless! A lifestyle of sacrifice is numbing! Serving God constantly winds us! To be God’s influence daily is overwhelming! To seek to understand scripture only to discover how little you know is disillusioning!

The apostle Paul knew the feeling! He took a mission journey into the province of Galatia (a Roman Empire province). Most of the converts to Christ were Gentiles. Paul established many Gentile (non-Jewish) congregations. As soon as he left that area, some Jewish Christians (known as Judiazers) came to those congregations insisting that Paul deceived them. Unless new converts followed Jewish customs and traditions, their baptism was meaningless. These Jewish Christians were so convincing that many Gentile Christians believed them, let them be teachers, and did as they were told!

Paul was astounded and heart-broken! He could not believe these Gentiles received Christ’s freedom, then turned from that freedom. In response to the crisis, Paul wrote Galatians. He was so upset that he did not begin his letter (as was his practice) with encouraging statements. In essence, he said, “I cannot believe what you did and continue to do!” (Galatians 1:6-9.) Paul was so disturbed by their situation that he feared he wasted his time and effort (Galatians 4:11). Swimming against the tide was one thing! Doing it while dragging an anchor was quite another!

Was Paul discouraged? Yes! Did the Gentile converts’ decisions upset him? Absolutely! Did Jewish Christians’ teachings and actions distress him! Mightily! Did he quit swimming against the tide? No! He could not be who he was in Jesus Christ if he quit.

If you belong to God through Christ, do not let weariness stop you from swimming against the tide! Weariness is a “when,” not an “if.” You will get tired if you allow Christ to lead you toward God! Anyone daring to move toward God swims against the culture’s values and society’s norms. Christian lifestyle begins as a wondrous challenge, continues as a grueling marathon, and ends as a matter of endurance. So why “hang in there”? God’s promise will not fail! The reward far exceeds the demands! The harvest is unquestionable! Only fainting can rob us of God’s blessing!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 25 July 2004

 Link to next article

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell