Just when you are about to finish one of the letters from the Apostle Paul, he hits you between the eyes with a one-liner that tells you how well he understands your Christian life. Have you ever experienced this?
Take 2 Thessalonians 3:13: “Do not grow weary in doing good.” Both Paul and the Thessalonians were facing hard times and experiencing “affliction” (1 Thess. 1:6; 2:14; 3:1–7; 2 Thess. 1:3–7). He knew how easily suffering can wear believers down, almost to the point of losing heart (2 Cor. 4:1–16).
Perhaps you know that feeling? Disappointments, opposition to your faith at home or work, illness, personal loss—they can all wear you down. So, what is it that prevents us from growing weary in well-doing?
I have been thinking about this recently in various contexts. One of them—as you would understand—is with respect to the ministry and the staff of Ligonier Ministries.
For more than thirty years now, I’ve watched Ligonier grow, overcome many challenges, and become the amazing ministry it now is—reaching literally to the ends of the earth. This is a great testimony to R.C. Sproul’s decades-long commitment to the work. But now, we all—staff, Teaching Fellows such as myself, supporters such as you—feel that we have lost our leader, our father figure, our brother, our friend. It would be easy to be unsure about the answer to the question “what now?” and to begin to lose heart and grow weary in doing good.
Moreover, you yourself may be facing your own situations right now that make it difficult even to think about Ligonier. What medicine is there for potential loss of heart? What can energize us? What helps us?
If you have had any exposure to R.C.’s ministry, and to the resources of Ligonier, I suspect you already know the answer: it is the vision of God, the knowledge of the Holy One, understanding His character and His ways.
How does knowing God and that His ways are perfect make such a difference? Here are five biblical answers that are worth inscribing in our hearts:
- Sometimes God leads us through affliction in order to refocus our gaze on Him (Ps. 119:67, 71).
- At other times the Lord is pruning us so that we may bear more fruit than ever (John 15:2b).
- Or, He may order trials in our lives to touch others through us (2 Cor. 4:10–12).
- And, in the mystery of His providence, He sometimes simply wants to show His grace and glory in us in our trials (as in the case of Job).
- Then, in every situation, He is working, as the great Presbyterian pastor Samuel Rutherford used to say, “to polish our graces” and to make us more like the Lord Jesus (Rom. 8:29).
We do not always see immediately what the Lord’s purpose is. But we know: “This God—his way is perfect” (Ps. 18:30). I suspect you already know these things. They are all truths that Ligonier has emphasized again and again. We have much to be grateful for! But probably the majority of Christians (not to mention non-Christians) do not yet grasp these truths, or have never been taught them. This is not the time to become weary in doing good.