Google produces a list of Galatians passages when you ask, “Which 10 encouraging bible verses do I need to read each day?” The sixth passage on that list is Galatians 6:9. Today’s Daily Bread email message very briefly explains that Paul, in that verse, provided encouragement in the hope of Christian believers.
After exhorting the believers in Galatia and warning them of the things they should avoid (Galatians 5:1—6:8), Paul may have known they would be feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities of the Christian life. So, he encourages them with the words of Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
The letter to the Galatians was written by Paul as an encouragement to remain faithful. As it was with so many of his letters, Paul addressed specific topics that were of doctrinal importance.
There was a huge break in the church between those who believed that the Gentiles should follow the laws of the Torah and those who believed that they didn’t. Paul wrote to remind the Galatians that the Law was an imperfect and temporary measure meant to point the Israelites to Christ.
Paul has just asked the Galatian Christians to be convinced that trusting their flesh in this life will only lead to corruption. Reliance on our own power only leads to decay and death. That is true whether we trust human effort to save us by following the rituals and sacraments of the law, or by following our own selfish, sinful desires. Salvation comes only by “planting” the Spirit. Through faith in Christ for the forgiveness of our sin, God gives us His own Spirit. Only that Spirit will deliver eternal life in the end (Galatians 6:6–8).
The words of Galatians 6:9 must have felt like a breath of fresh air in a letter that may have seemed to be full of chastisement. After a crash course in Christian doctrine, Paul reminds them that they had so much to gain if only they would remain faithful until the end.
God makes a promise to all believers that if they stay strong and continue to do good, believers will reap a harvest at the proper time (Galatians 6:9).
If we do not feel weak and stop doing good things, then we will receive a good harvest at the proper time.
Knowing that everyone is valued by God, we will feel a desire to do good for others. We should respond by being kind to people, even if people are not kind to us.
Doing good involves yielding to the Spirit and exhibiting the fruit He produces—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When these things are dominant in our lives, doing good is the inevitable result.
Doing good is hard work, especially if someone begins to doubt whether it matters. Paul is urging the Galatians to keep living in a way that is consistent with what they believe. They are free people in Christ, and God’s Spirit is with them.
We need Paul’s exhortation to not grow weary in doing good because “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38). Given our own natural weakness and the opposition of evil spirits and evil men, the best intentions for doing good can be easily derailed.
Christians often feel there is so much work to be done that we cannot possibly do it all. There are so many needs, and so many calls on our time, energy, and finances, and there is often so much ingratitude among those we try to benefit that we can easily become exhausted and disheartened. Doing what’s right is not easy in a fallen world, especially when it seems no one notices and there is little recompense for all our troubles.
And when a person gets weary two things happen. Either they begin to exhibit apathy and disdain for those they serve, or they quit. Both results could be detrimental to the body of believers.
When we are out of a weary spirit, we turn people away from God. We fail to communicate the joy of being part of the family of God and as such, we don’t entice people to want to become part of the body of Christ.
Growing weary in doing good is an ever-present danger in the Christian life. But there are things we can do to minimize weariness.
- Jesus scheduled times of rest, and so should we (Mark 6:31).
- Overcommitting ourselves is a primary cause of weariness among Christians. We want so much to contribute and to respond to God’s love by pouring ourselves into ministry for His sake that we risk burnout.
- Discernment is essential. God will provide for each need He wants to fulfill. He is, after all, in charge of it all. Not a sparrow falls without His seeing it (Matthew 10:29). He will ordain the means to accomplish His ends.
- Sometimes all He really wants from the overcommitted is for them to quiet their hearts and be still before Him (Psalm 46:10; Luke 10:41).
Paul knew how wearying the spiritual battle can be. He ends his warnings about sin, the works of the flesh, and the deceitfulness of the world by encouraging the Galatians, and all believers, to remember the joyful harvest we will reap if we persevere in doing good. “As we have the opportunity,” Paul says in the next verse, “let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).
It is easy but dangerous to lose heart. In the ancient world, this phrase translated as “lose heart” was used for the kind of fear and weariness a woman experiences during labor before delivery. It describes a time when the work is hard and painful, but also unfinished and unrewarded. That is exactly when we must hang on and not grow weary while doing good.
The Holy Spirit
As we wisely manage our resources before God under the principle of sowing and reaping, we need patience. Because the harvest does not come immediately after the seeds are sown.
Just like the sower of seed must wait for the harvest, the Christian must wait patiently for the rewards that will inevitably come from the Giver of all good things (James 1:17).
Paul points us past our labors to the prize at the end: those who persevere in doing good are promised to reap rewards. When we become disheartened, the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit brings relief and gratitude to our hearts and glory to God.
The Spirit prepares us for the fulfillment of our hope of glory. The gift of the Holy Spirit is a seal and the first installment of what we will receive in greater fullness as the children of God (Ephesians 1:13, 14) It is also a pledge that we will receive it if we keep our faith in Jesus and continue to sow to please the Spirit rather than our sinful nature. 1, 2, 3
Paul also makes the point that the principal works just as well for evil. We reap whatever we sow. If we sow into the flesh, gratifying sinful desires and working evil in the world, it will come back to us, in this life and the next.
3 Tips to Not Get Weary
1. Remember what’s at stake.
Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
As we set our minds on heavenly things, we remember why we strive to do good while on Earth. There’s a heaven to gain and a hell to shun and so we keep pressing towards our goal.
2. Remember why you’re doing it.
You do good because Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice on your behalf: He died for you.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
All of us have sinned for which the penalty is death (Romans 6:23) but Jesus paid the price on our behalf. Remember the sacrifice Jesus made for you and keep doing good.
3. Remember that Jesus gives you rest.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
Jesus invites us to come to Him and He will give us the rest our souls so desperately crave. Bring your burdens to the Lord and He’ll not only give you rest, but He’ll also help you to remain faithful until the end.
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Consider the Daily Bread email message sent on 8/18/2023 which says,
Galatians 6:9 – Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. (NASB)
God makes a promise to all believers that if they stay strong and continue to do good, believers will reap a harvest at the proper time.
We must not give up, because our Lord is faithful. “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
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- Stanley M. Horton, general editor, Systematic Theology (Springfield, MO: Legion Press, 1994), pg. 278.
- Charles Webb Carter, The Person and Ministry of the Holy Spirit: A Wesleyan Perspective (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1974), pg. 300-302.
- Dale Moody, The Hope of Glory (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1964) pg. 46.