Digesting God’s Word: “If We”

you_got_thisContinued from here.

Up to this point in our study of this one verse, we have explored God’s expectation that we “do good” while preventing ourselves from becoming weary of doing so. We also talked about why: God will give us a future harvest (blessings!) if we do so. Too bad the verse doesn’t stop there. It turns out that this is a conditional promise, as is evidenced by the next two words: “if we.”

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

The Bible is filled with awesome promises the hinge upon a two-letter word: if. In the legal world, this is called a condition precedent. In layman’s terms, this means that something is guaranteed to happen but only if a condition is met first. Meeting that condition is the trigger that sets the guarantee in motion. So, God makes us this great promise – Don’t grow weary in doing good because a future blessing is coming … IF.

The next word in the verse tells us whose responsibility meeting that condition is: OURS! Sometimes we find ourselves waiting on God to fulfill a promise when we haven’t met the condition precedent to trigger the blessing. This is an example of one of those times. Our choices can trigger the blessing or withhold it, so we need to pay careful attention to what God requires of us. In other words, what’s our part in this exchange?

On her television show, Enjoying Everyday Life, Joyce Meyer has repeatedly pointed out that we work together with God. It’s a partnership in which we cannot do His part, and He will not do our part. Whenever our part is specifically identified in scripture after the word if, we can rest assured that the blessing isn’t coming until we do our part. And then, after we do our part, we can know in the marrow of our bones that the blessing IS coming because God said it is. He would have to cease to be God if the blessing doesn’t come “at the proper time.”

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace smiling while standing in the corner of a boxing ring holding up a sign that says, “You got this.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Digesting God’s Word: “Reap a Harvest”

oh_happy_dayContinued from here.

In my last blog entry, we focused on the certainty that whatever God promises must come to pass. Today, we explore what that promised blessing is: we will “reap a harvest.”

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

God promises that we will reap a harvest from doing good, which is one of my favorite promises in the Bible. I previously wrote about the topic of sowing and reaping. It excited me because this principle gives me some measure of control over my life. As a recovering “control freak,” I’m all ears whenever the Bible tells me that I can help bring about Y if I will do X.

Let’s focus specifically on what we are sowing and what we are reaping in this passage. The sowing part is “doing good,” which we already defined as anything God tells us to do in the Bible. Put another way, “doing good” is pretty much anything you do out of love for God or for other people. If you do good, you are sowing seeds that are going to reap a harvest later.

What kind of harvest can we expect to reap? While this one verse does not specify, many other places in the Bible identify harvests you can expect to reap from doing good, such as the fruit of the Spirit. Let’s return to the same passages mentioned in the “doing good” blog entry and identify some of the harvests we can expect to reap:

Sow “Doing Good” Harvest
Do justly, love mercy, & walk humbly with God Redemption from slavery
Be generous and willing to share Lay up treasures for yourself and take hold of the life that is truly life
Obey authority Rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit; hope of eternal life
Be self-controlled & use sound speech Those who oppose you will be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about you.
Do not withhold good when it is within your power to act. Prolong your life; peace; prosperity; win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man; enter into God’s confidence.
Love your enemies. Great reward; child of the Most High
Provide for urgent needs. Live a productive life
Refrain from paying back wrong for wrong. Sanctification through and through; whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless
Seek peace and pursue it. Lack no good thing

I’d say the effort of sowing is worth the harvest we will reap. Do you agree?

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace smiling while running through a field of flowers under the words, “Oh, happy day!” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Digesting God’s Word: “We Will”

good_newsContinued from here.

In my last blog entry, we learned that the blessing for doing good isn’t going to come instantly. Today, we will focus on the promise contained in two little words: “we will.”

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

It can be tempting to breeze right by “we will,” but there’s a lot packed into those two little words. First, let’s address the “we.” Who is “we?” It’s Christians who are “doing good” and are vulnerable to becoming weary as they are waiting for the blessing to come. If you are a Christian who is choosing to make decisions in alignment with how God tells you to live your life, then this verse applies to you.

Now let’s turn our focus to the word “will.” This is a promise from God, and God does not lie. When God says that something will happen, then nothing in heaven, on earth, or under the earth is going to be able to prevent it from happening. It’s a done deal. You might not see it with your eyes yet, but you can rest assured that whatever God has willed IS on its way.

One of my most powerful “God moments” happened when I was praying for a friend who had tithed her entire first paycheck in obedience to God – with fear and trembling because her family really needed this money. As I was praying for her, it was like the sky opened up. Everything around me became very bright, and I felt God’s words more heavily in my spirit than I had ever experienced God’s “voice” before or since:

I have promised to bless those who tithe. I would have to cease to be God for this not to come to pass.”

Think about it: God cannot lie, so He would have to cease to be God for one of His promises not to come to pass. As we discussed in the last blog entry, the manifestation of that promise will come “at the proper time,” which might take a while (even a long while) from a human perspective. However, it will come, or God will cease to be God, which, of course, could never happen.

We live in a society in which people don’t honor promises, but God is not “people.” What He promises will come to pass. So, you can rest assured that if you are doing good, what God promises in this verse will happen.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of the front page of the newspaper with a photo of Grace giving the thumbs up under the words, “Good news.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Digesting God’s Word: “For at the Proper Time”

im_waitingContinued from here.

In my last blog entry, we digested what Paul meant by “in doing good” Today, we shift our focus to the first part of why we should not become weary in doing good.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

“For” is just another way of saying “because,” so Paul is going to tell us why we should not allow ourselves to become weary in doing good. However, before he addresses why, he tells us when: “at the proper time.”

The fact that Paul felt the need to address when the benefit would come means that the benefit is not going to come instantly. Alas! Think about it – if every time you did something good, you received an immediate blessing, it would be real easy not to grow weary, right?

One of my favorite sayings is no good deed goes unpunished. I say this frequently because most of the time when I choose to do the right thing, instead of getting an instant reward, what comes is either something negative or a lack of appreciation. It’s rare when I make the decision to do the right thing, and something really great happens right after I do it. I think this is because “the proper time” has not yet come.

So what is “the proper time?” It’s God’s timing, which generally seems slow to us. In fact, I used to accuse God of being a procrastinator. Then, I read Rick Warren’s saying, “God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time.” While my preference is for God to show up early, I have the assurance that He is never late.

I don’t know whether your blessing for doing good will come in a week, a month, a year, or after this lifetime, only that it will come “at the proper time.” This requires us to trust God because we aren’t going to see the blessing when we do the good deed. There’s going to be what we perceive as a lag between “doing good” and receiving a blessing, and during that lag, we are vulnerable to becoming weary. This is why Paul is letting us know not to expect an immediate blessing but is also assuring us that it will come.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace with her hand on her hip standing next to an hourglass by the words, “I’m waiting.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Digesting God’s Word: “In Doing Good”

will_doContinued from here.

In my last blog entry, we digested what Paul meant by “become weary” Today, we will focus on what we need to avoid becoming weary of: “in doing good.”

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

Paul doesn’t want us to become weary in doing good, which means there’s an expectation that we should already be doing good. The word doing is an action, so God expects us to be taking action. We shouldn’t just be thinking about doing good, considering doing good, or planning to do good at a future time. We should be actively doing good as a regular state of being in our day-to-day lives. The Bible tells us that anyone who does what is good is from God and that those who do evil have not seen God.

So, if doing is an action, then what is the good that God expects us to be doing that has the potential to weary us if we choose to allow that to happen? It’s whatever God says in the Bible is good to do. Here are some specific examples of “doing good” that the Bible mentions:

This is far from an exhaustive list. While people try to complicate the Bible, it really is simple … it’s just not easy. I “do good” when I am obedient to God, and I “do evil” when I am disobedient to God. While we can point to numerous verses with specific ways to “do good,” I believe that Micah 6:8 most fully captures the bigger picture of what it means to “do good:”

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”

That’s a tall order – for me to act in alignment with whatever God says to do while extending mercy to you when you don’t. I can get tired of holding myself up to a higher standard while cutting you slack whenever you don’t … hence the need for Paul to admonish not to become weary in doing this.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace smiling while holding a clipboard and pencil, saying, “Will do.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Digesting God’s Word: “Become Weary”

i_give_upContinued from here.

In my last blog entry, we digested what Paul meant by “Let us not…” Today, we will focus on the object of that warning: “become weary.”

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

Paul warns us that we can be tempted to become weary, and we should resist allowing this to happen to us. That means that “becoming weary” is a choice, not an inevitability. We can choose to become weary, or we can choose not to become wary – it’s entirely up to us. Just because we feel weary does not mean we must become weary.

We become something gradually rather than all at once. The verse doesn’t tell us not to be weary; it says not to become weary, which is a process that happens over a period of time, making it not one choice but actually a series of choices that gradually moves us into a place of weariness.

When people ask themselves, “What have I become?,” they look in the mirror and recognize that they are no longer who they used to be. The change has been so gradual that they were unaware it was happening. “Becoming” happens in increments. Today I’m just a little wearier than I was yesterday, and I allow myself to become just a tad wearier tomorrow. It’s a slow process of tiny compromises – one little compromise after another – that doesn’t seem to be much of a compromise until we look up one day and notice that we have become something that we never thought we would be.

Synonyms for weary include exhausted, fatigued, and drained. These are all states of being that don’t happen all at once. We don’t go from energized to weary all at once. We become a little less energetic … and then a little more … and then a little more until we pass a certain point. After that, instead of being “less energetic,” we become “more exhausted” or “more fatigued” or “more drained.” We gradually dig ourselves into a deeper and deeper pit of weariness, but we do it one small shovelful at a time so we don’t notice that it’s happening until we wake up one day and find ourselves in a deep hole of weariness.

So, to avoid becoming weary, we must be mindful that this can happen to us. We must pay attention to the signs that we are losing energy and moving toward exhaustion. We must notice the subtle changes and put a stop to this gradual progression before we reach the point of weariness.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace lying on the floor, holding up a sign that says, “I give up.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Digesting God’s Word: “Let Us Not”

no_2

Continued from here.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

Today, we are going to focus on the first three words of this Bible verse: “Let us not.” Doesn’t seem like much to focus on, does it? Believe it or not, there’s much to digest in those three simple words.

Paul begins this verse with “Let us not,” which means that we have a choice. If we didn’t have a choice, then there wouldn’t be the need to include these words. He could simply state the facts without giving us any instruction about what to do with those facts.

When Paul says, “Let us not,” he is telling us that doing whatever comes next is an option, but he recommends against choosing that option. We are free to choose … or not to choose … whatever comes next in the verse, but his advice is to choose not to do it.

Paul needs to advise us not to do whatever comes next because we will be inclined to do it. After all, we don’t need to advice not to do something that isn’t tempting. For example, Paul wouldn’t need to advise me not to put my hand in a blender or chop my fingers off with a knife. It wouldn’t occur to me to do those things because I can readily see the danger in doing them.

If Paul sees the need to advise me against doing something, then it must be something that would appeal to me in some manner. Instead of being repulsed by the idea (as I would be at the idea of cutting off my own fingers), the idea must have some sort of lure or hold some sort of temptation that I should look out for. In legal terms, it must be an attractive nuisance: something that has the possibility of drawing me in, but instead of receiving the pleasure or satisfaction that calls to me, it will bring me harm.

So, as I move on to the next words in the verse, I need to pay attention to what Paul is warning me against. I need to pay attention to the object of “Let us not,” recognizing that while I am likely to feel drawn to it, there’s danger in following that inclination. I need to put my guard up and prepare myself so that I don’t follow this temptation into harm’s way.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace holding up a sign that says, “No.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]