In this sermon we look at four remedies God provides to keep us from growing weary in the faith. We also look at some of the good works of the Choctaw Church of Christ in Oklahoma City as examples of faith in action.
28 min

If you're reading this Mini Book, chances are something is wearing you out. I don't know all of the reasons for this fatigue but I can guess. Let's see:

  • Mothers of children under three are always tired.
  • People working shifts are tired even after they've slept.
  • Those who are over sixty years old are tired because...well because they're over sixty - or seventy!
  • People in bad marriages, bad jobs, or bad health are tired.
  • Those who care for others, whether it's their job or because of a family situation, are tired.
  • Even young healthy people get tired when waiting for something or someone that doesn't come through.
  • Of course, long-winded sermons - they have a way of wearing out even the most dedicated saint.

These are examples of things that cause everyone to be tired, whether they believe in God or not.

Weariness Unique to Christians

There is, however, another set of conditions that cause tiredness, or as the Bible calls it - "weariness" - that only Christians are subject to and have to deal with. For example:

The weariness caused by trying to live a righteous life in an unrighteous world

Peter mentions Lot, Abraham's nephew, who suffered in this way. He says of Lot...

Oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),
- II Peter 2:7-8

Watching the news and observing the wars and violence, the deterioration of our own nation's morality, and the glorification of the carnal and worldly, over the spiritual and godly, is tiring for the spiritual person. The constant pressure of being in the world but not swept up by the world is wearying to the Christian's soul. Another cause for weariness...

The conflict between the Spirit and the flesh that sometimes rages within us

Paul the Apostle describes this inner battle,

For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
- Galatians 5:17

Christians suffer all the same aches, pains, and disappointments as non-believers but in the midst of our suffering we must also deal with Satan's attacks against our faith, temptations to compromise our morals, and the difficult task of trying to do what is right and what is Christ-like in the middle of a crisis. This constant tug of war within us can be very wearying for a believer. And then, one other cause for fatigue unique to Christians...

Church life

Have you ever thought about what you would do with the time and money you invest in worship, fellowship, and service in the Lord's church? A member who attends all services devotes roughly 8 hours to travel, attendance, and visiting each week! That's a day's work, not to mention the extra time if you teach or serve in some other way. What would you do with an extra day of time, not to mention ten percent or more of your income? I'm not saying that members begrudge the attendance, service, and giving - most do it willingly and joyfully.

But Christians give this time while holding down full-time jobs and raising families, and keep up with school activities as well as work overtime. This demand of time and money to participate in church life, even if done willingly and joyfully, still takes a toll on one's energy and resources.

I've given these examples to highlight the fact that aside from all the things that people have to deal with that cause them to be "tired", Christians have the additional demands of righteous living, spiritual conflict, and the requirements of church life that can cause further wearying of their souls. God, however, has not left Christians without help and refreshment when we feel we have trouble going forward because of a weary soul.

Definition of Weary

Weary is different from tired. Tired is the natural result of work or effort. It's a depletion of our store of energy because we've invested it into something. Tired is a signal to rest, recharge, eat, sleep, and heal. Tired is felt physically and it is treated physically.

Weary is a condition of the heart. In certain passages the English word "weary" comes from various Greek words that mean to loosen, or to release.

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

To grow weary is to lose our resolve; to let something slip away; to not hold on to something as tightly as we once did.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary...
- Hebrews 12:3

Here the writer says that despite the violent and constant attacks against Him, Jesus did not loosen, or let go, of His resolve to carry out His mission, and we as Christians should not loosen our grip and grow weary as well. What is understood but not written is that our hold or grip is our faith in Christ, hope of heaven, and love of God and others. Don't grow weary; don't let these things slip away. Remember that God helps those who are in danger of growing weary.

God Helps the Weary

The passages that admonish Christians to not grow weary also provide God's remedies for the problem of weariness.

Remedy #1 - Consider Christ

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
- Hebrews 12:3

In this passage, the word "consider" means to consider thoughtfully. Think carefully about what Christ has done and how He has done it. We are in danger of letting go or relaxing our hold when we consider other things like:

  • Our own strength or ability
  • The world and its cares
  • The past and its failures
  • The future and the challengers there

God calls on those who are weary to consider Jesus, focus on Him, yoke themselves to Him, and call on Him for strength to hold tightly to faith, hope, and love.

Remedy #2 - Cast your cares on Christ

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
- I Peter 5:6-7

It is interesting to note that the original root word translated into the English word anxiety or care, is the word "distraction". It is the same word used in the parable of the Sower and the Seed in Matthew 13:22 where Jesus says,

And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry (cares, anxieties, distractions) of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

We lose our grip, we lessen our hold, and we grow weary when we are distracted from Christ by the things in this world or try to carry the things in this world by ourselves. God encourages us to cast the worries we have upon Christ so that He will bear this burden for us.

So many times the beginning of the end of worry, fear, distraction, anxiety, and weariness of the soul comes when we simply ask God to take the burden from us and transfer it to Christ. This action doesn't automatically resolve the issues we face in the physical sense (although it certainly begins the process by acknowledging the One who has the wisdom and power to resolve all of our issues). It does, however, transfer the spiritual burden and the angst that this causes us to God where the spiritual burden belongs.

I may be a man with many issues, but by casting the burden for these on God, I am able to deal with my issues without losing my hold on what is important. I can face my issues without becoming weary.

Finally, one other remedy for dealing with weariness...

Remedy #3 - Continue doing good for Christ

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

The best way to fight weariness and the discouragement that goes with it is to continue to do good for others in the name of Jesus. We tighten our grip on faith, we secure our hope of heaven, we witness our love for God when we seek and find ways to serve and bless others - especially in the church.

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
- Galatians 6:10

We replace weariness with joy when we are busy doing good with our brethren or towards our brethren. God is pleased and blesses us accordingly when we are doing good and especially doing good for one another. Here are some examples of this type of service taking place in the congregation where I serve as minister:

  • We've added a new missionary that we supported while he went to Bible College and now fully support him in Kenya.
  • We've begun a World Bible School ministry.
  • We've hired a new Youth and Family Minister to the staff.
  • We've organized a Free Children's Health Fair.
  • We support the BibleTalk.tv Internet Ministry to the point where this website has hundreds of videos and books that teach the Bible to the thousands of people who visit the site and download material every month.
  • We've provided care packages for troops overseas and are working to provide school supplies for poor children in our community.

These are just a few of the organized "good" things that the church does, not to mention the thousand acts of kindness where members visit the sick; provide a word of encouragement; deliver food to shut-ins; offer to babysit to give tired parents a break; send cards and flowers to those who grieve - the list goes on and on.

I believe these good works are the prime reason why this congregation continues to grow and be fruitful. I also believe that for any church that is weary and not prospering in the way or at the rate it desires, the first step to stopping that downward spiral is the effort to begin doing good to others. This is the cheapest and surest way to renew the growth of the church and generate a spirit of love and enthusiasm among the brethren.

Summary

Many churches want to grow in size, importance, and influence. These things are important but should not be seen as primary goals. These things are benefits that come from churches that strive to be faithful, united, holy, and loving, not becoming weary in serving Christ and our brethren. To this end the Lord speaks directly to us today through Isaiah, the prophet, when He said:

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
- Isaiah 40:28-31

We have much to be thankful for and much to do, so let us not grow weary in our service to the Lord and to one another.