When Paul spoke of Christian living he spoke of striving and straining and boxing and running. These are all very active metaphors. David Mathis says, “God’s work does not make our work unnecessary; it makes it possible. ‘I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me’ (1 Cor. 15:10). Grace does not just pardon our failures; it empowers our successes—like successfully enjoying Jesus more than life.”
One of my favorite questions is this: Is Christian living active or passive? Is it trying hard or resting in the finished work of Christ? Is it working like crazy, or letting go and letting God?
I love this question because it is a little bit of both. Christian living is both trying hard and trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to do His work in me. It is both Faith is the Victory and I’m pressing on the upward way…
Some Christians don’t try very hard at all. They read a verse like this one:
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 (NIV2011)
They wonder what Paul is talking about, “weary in doing good.” I think you ought to be tempted to get weary in doing good every now and then. I think you ought to push yourself to exhaustion every now and then. I think you ought to lay your head on your pillow dog-tired every now and then.
You shouldn’t stay there. Don’t be weary in doing good. The verbs in this verse are present tense verbs which suggest linear action. They suggest habit. Don’t make it a habit of getting weary. Don’t camp out at tired.
The Sabbath was given to man as a gift to the weary. It was given to ensure that we never stay tired. But we ought to get tired occasionally. We ought to need the Sabbath. There are really two commandments in the Sabbath command:
Six days you shall labor
One day you shall rest.
Don’t do the second and leave the first command undone.