Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 3, 2014

"Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith."  Galatians 6:7-10

I remember as a kid how much fun it was to sled down the hill in the Winter snow! There aren't a lot of hills in Indiana but we happened to live atop the highest hill in our little town. All the kids from the neighborhood would come and slide down our hill. When there were a lot of kids sledding the snow would get packed down and become a sheet of solid ice. Wow! How we would fly down that hill! With a running start we could slide down the hill and for another block or two before we would come to a stop.

But then we would have to walk all the way back UP the slippery hill carrying our sleds. Not so easy and not so fun!

To enjoy the easy part and the fun part we had to endure the hard uphill part.

Now that I am older and no longer enjoy sledding, or snow or carrying a sled up a slippery hill in the snow, I have come to understand that life is similar to my boyhood sledding experience. There some easy downhill times and there are some hard uphill climbs. And, when you are a Christian who is trying to live a life that pleases God and impacts others, that is mostly an uphill climb.

As we discovered in our study of Romans 12, we are called to overcome evil with good. Evil is easy and natural like sliding down the hill. Goodness goes against our nature, so it can feel like climbing up a slippery hill.

In the case of the sledding, that maybe happened a few times a year so trekking up the hill was bearable. But the call to goodness is a daily challenge to overcome the sinful nature and obey God. You climb the hill one day and then get up the next morning and do it all over again. It can get tiring, especially as you watch all those who are sliding down the hill and seemingly having fun.

You understand the admonition to "be not weary in well doing". You are aware that doing good all day every day can take its toll. Obviously, if doing good was as easy as doing bad, we would live in a good world instead of an evil one. But we don't.

Have you grown weary from doing the right thing? Have you been tempted to just slide down the hill with everyone else? Perhaps you have been climbing the hill every day and wearing yourself out to always do the right thing and you don't see much of a payoff for all the investment. Maybe that is where you are today.

You have always heard that it pays to do the right thing. You read in your Bible that things that are pleasing to God - and you want to please Him. You know that sinful living, while easier to do, doesn't end well. But resisting evil and doing right is JUST HARD! SOME DAYS IT IS EXHAUSTING. How do you you keep from growing weary while you do the right things?

Paul wrote this portion of Scripture to encourage these believers because he knew they were growing weary. He, of all people, knew what it was to become weary in serving God. So, he encouraged them with the same encouragement he had found for himself.

I will be sharing that with you over the next few posts. I believe you will find it helpful. But, in the meantime, draw upon His strength. Live in the power of His Spirit. Saturate you brain with the promises of God and let them soak into your spirit. Walk by faith not by feelings. And finally, rejoice in Him that He has given you the desire to please Him, because that alone is a gift! God has taken away your bondage to sin and set you free to live for God.

And, as you prepare to climb the hill again today - remember to thank Him for the hill He climbed for you!