Weariness is the enemy of all noble things. G.K. Chesterton
Let us not become weary in doing good. Galatians 6:9
Surveying the cultural landscape a Christian is easily discouraged. All around, where there once stood truth, now there are lies. How did we reach a place where sodomy is right, where nine men decide that killing children is not murder, where you can decide whether you want be a boy or a girl despite what your plumbing is, where we have two politicians running for president who not just bad politicians, but wicked people who in previous generations would have been laughed off stage or thrown in prison, and in the church numerous denominations have already jumped off the cliff and others are sliding that way? How did we get here?
There are numerous factors in this decline. The failure of Christians to preach the Lordship of Christ, the lack of church discipline, and the fact that many believers send their children to government schools are some of the factors contributing to the current state of the American church. However, as I read the above quote by Chesterton a new reason for the decay struck me. Many have become weary.
I have nine children. I understand weariness. It is hard to press forward day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. Too many Christians have become tired. I have friends who havegiven up. Oh, they still call themselves Christians, but the truth is they stopped fighting the good fight long ago. Pastors became tired of preaching Christ and Him crucified, so they began to preach Jesus the great therapist who will cure all your ills. Some became weary of the scorn of the scientific establishment, so they accepted evolution and higher critical theories of the Scriptures. We became weary of raising children for the Kingdom, so we sent them somewhere elsewhere or didn’t have them at all. We became weary of shepherding the flock, so now we buy them and keep them like so many customers. We became weary of looking like bigots and prudes so our sexual morality has eroded. There were not great theological shifts for many, no great changes in doctrine. Instead the world wore us down.
Weariness is one of the great enemies of the faith. It is one thing to walk with Christ for a year or five or ten. It is quite another to endure for fifty years or 18,250 days. It is one thing for a pastor or congregation to be faithful for ten years. It is quite another to be faithful forty years later. The beginning of the battle is all enthusiasm, but those who endure will be saved. Scripture frequently calls us to persevere. Jesus tells us to put our hand to the plow and not look back (Luke 9:62). Paul tells converts to “continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43). He tells the church at Philippi to “stand fast in the Lord” (Philippians 4:1). Hebrews is filled with encouragements to persevere (Hebrews 2:1, 3:14, 4:14, 6:11-18, 10:23 and 12:1-13). If God reminds us so often to endure is it not because we are prone to stop short?
All Christian virtues wither and die without perseverance. The time is coming when the Christian faith will no longer be tolerated. We have seen that in a few circumstances already with cake makers being sued and the NBA removing the all-star game from North Carolina. We can expect this to increase. The world is growing more hostile to the Bible. They are not going to live and let live. In the coming days, we must not grow weary, but continue in the faith, no matter what the personal toll is to us, not matter how much our reputation is destroyed, or what financial loss we suffer. And just as important we must train our children to do the same.
What is the key to perseverance? The hope of heaven, rewards, and life eternal. God’s Word says that if we endure he will reward us with things beyond imagination (I Cor. 2:9). If this sounds cliche to you, then you do not understand the gospel as well as you should. The Scriptures are filled with the promise of future rewards. Jesus tells us a cup of cold water given in His name will not be forgotten (Matthew 10:42). He also tells us when we are persecuted to rejoice for great is our reward in heaven (Luke 6:23). Paul tells us the glory that awaits is so much greater than our suffering in this life (Romans 8:18). Paul tells servants to be faithful because the Lord will reward them (Colossians 3:24). He also says that he has been faithful and there is a crown of righteousness laid up for him in heaven (II Timothy 4:8). Paul knew there was reward waiting for him. James tell us that we will get the crown of life if we endure. Christ himself endured the cross for the joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2). Finally, Revelation 2-3 are filled with promises for those who overcome (2:7, 11, 17, 26-28, 3:5, 12,21). Brothers and sisters, do not grow weary. Press forward. Hold on to the good and sure promises of God. Believe God and His Word. Let us follow Moses who chose affliction over sin and Christ over riches (Hebrews 11:25-26). If we do we will hear those wonderful words in the end “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).