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Maintaining Your Joy

Christian Living

Maintaining Your Joy

Bob Yandian

Legalism

Galatians 5

vs. 14 “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians, chapter 6 is the application of Galatians 5:14. Love thinks of others while the law only focuses on you. A person who is bound by legalism is always concentrating on himself or herself to make sure their life is lining up with the law. They condescend toward others because they become the standard by which they judge others.

Galatians 6 begins to instruct believers about walking in love toward other believers, helping believers who are in need and restoring those who are out of fellowship with God in a spirit of meekness, which is a production of the fruit of the Spirit.

Growing Weary

Galatians 6

vs. 9 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

The Greek literally says, “Let us not become weary in well doing.” Weariness is a process. Up until this time the Galatians have been self-centered and condescending toward others. They are now beginning to learn how to walk in love and are doing good works and this is when Paul warns them not to become weary in well doing.

2 Thessalonians 3

vs. 11 “For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.”

vs. 12 “Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.”

vs. 13 “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.”

The Thessalonians, much like the Galatians, had a problem. First Thessalonians addresses the problem and Second Thessalonians explains how to solve the problem. The Thessalonians became confused about the rapture. They were deceived into believing that Paul’s teaching was inaccurate and that Paul changed his own mind about the coming of the Lord. Many believed that the rapture had already taken place, that Nero was the Antichrist, and that the martyring of Christians was the tribulation. Others believed that the rapture would be taking place within a few days and that it was unnecessary to work since the rapture would be occurring within a very short time.

When I attended Bible school, there were a number of people who would not attend because they were concerned about the rapture occurring before they finished school. God is always in the preparation business. Brother Duncombe, our instructor, used to admonish us that it would be better to be found preparing for the ministry when the Lord returned than to be in the ministry with nothing to say because of lack of preparation.

Even though there were some who were not working in Thessalonica, many had begun working for the Lord, realizing that the Lord’s return may not be in the immediate future. These are the saints to whom Paul says, “Be not weary in well doing.”

Becoming Bored and Losing Joy

The saints at both Thessalonica and Galatia had begun to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word. The brethren were beginning to work with each other, help one another, lift each other up in prayer and Paul admonishes them, “Don’t become weary in well doing.” The word “weary” actually means “bored.”   Paul was instructing believers, “Don’t become bored, don’t become complacent in doing good things.”

The emphasis in both II Thessalonians 3:13 and Galatians 6:9 is, “Don’t lose your joy while you are working for the Lord.” What is joy? It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. After working for the Lord for a few months or years, there is the potential for believers to lose their joy. How? When a believer neglects the Word of God while continuing to work for the Lord, he or she will lose the manifestation of joy in daily life. When we get out of the Word, we are prone to become bored with what we are doing. This can lead us back into the trap of legalism—trying to please God by our works and in our own strength. The eventual result is spiritual burnout.

Where There is Discontentment, There is No Joy

The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. When we are operating in joy, the Holy Spirit becomes our strength and we can mount up with wings as eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint. Often when people hop from church to church, they have actually lost their joy and are looking for a church to bring them joy. People may hop from department to department within a local church volunteering. They may begin in the choir. When that doesn’t bring joy, they go to ushering. Ushering doesn’t bring joy so they try working in the nursery. Changing diapers doesn’t do it, so they volunteer in the youth department. Soon, they have run the entire gamut of the church and still haven’t found joy, so they think that they will find joy at another local church. They become church hoppers and after a few years they stop attending church altogether and backslide all because they replaced doing good works in the church for the Word of God.  It is the Word of God that brings joy into our lives.

Some Christians also mistakenly believe that if they had a different job they would have joy. They may hop from job to job looking for joy.  Or they may think that another person will bring them joy. Single people think, “If I could just get married, I’d be happy.” Married people think, “If I were just single again, I’d be happy.” We judge our happiness according to circumstances. Another person is not going to bring joy. Our relationship with the Lord brings true joy, and that relationship can only be maintained by staying in His Word.

God’s Plan is Bigger Than Our Plan

Galatians 6

vs. 9 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Christians often become discouraged with God because they set a deadline for God to answer their requests and when it appears that God did not come through in their time frame, they throw the whole thing away.

After Lazarus had died, Mary and Martha separately ran to Jesus saying the same thing, “If only you would have been here, my brother would not have died!” Jesus didn’t follow the plan that Mary and Martha had in mind for their brother, but He had a better plan. Their plan was that Lazarus would be healed; Jesus’ plan was to raise him from the dead.

Many people were saved because of Lazarus being raised from the dead.

Often we become discouraged when God does not meet our plan, not realizing that His plan is bigger and better than our plan. God operates by seasons. Man knows how to plant seed in the ground but he cannot exactly predict when that seed will produce. If we continue to rejoice in the Lord and refuse to give up, the time will come when we will say, “Thank God I didn’t quit. Thank God I stuck with it because God came through!” God must come through because He is bound by His Word.  He doesn’t come through because of us; He comes through because of Himself. Hebrews 6:13 says, “…because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself.”

Doing Good Works for Other Believers

Galatians 6

vs. 10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Often we think that our first responsibility and work is toward the world, but this is not true.  Our first work is toward our brothers and sisters. There are times when it is easier to work with sinners than it is to work with Christians. The real test of the love walk comes in dealing with our brothers and sisters.  Galatians 5:14 says, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shall love your neighbor as yourself.”   Verse 10 of Galatians 6 is identifying who that neighbor is; that neighbor refers to other believers.

When working with and around other Christians it can be easy to become discouraged, but if we will keep sowing and doing the work of God, harvest day will come. There will be times when Christians will let you down, will be ungrateful for help you have given, will turn their backs and walk away.  But God is the One Who sees and rewards. If we continue to walk in patience toward Him and not become discouraged or weary in well doing, the Bible says we will reap in due season.

Paul’s Letter to the Galatians

Galatians 6

vs. 11 “See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!”

The word “letter” in this verse is singular and is a reference to the letter that Paul wrote.  In the Greek language, just as in English, “letter” can refer either to an individual letter of the alphabet or to a letter that has been written. Some argue that Paul could not have been referring to the book of Galatians being a “large letter” because Galatians is a short letter.  They argue that “large a letter” refers to the size of the actual individual letters. One of the best explanations of this verse is found in the Finis Dake’s Bible.  He explains that the book of Hebrews follows the book of Galatians and at one time could have been one large letter.  Both books deal with the same subject: legalism versus grace. The difference is the book of Galatians addresses the Gentiles and the book of Hebrews addresses the Jews. If the book of Galatians was an introduction to the book of Hebrews, it would be one of the longest letters Paul ever wrote.

Preaching the Law and Keeping the Law

Galatians 6

vs. 12 “As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.”

vs. 13 “For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.”

Even though Paul is referring to the act of circumcision in these verses, they could apply in our day to churches that teach that water baptism, or speaking in other tongues, or joining a denomination are necessary to the new birth.

People often try to add something to the simplicity of the new birth. Any person who is legalistic and tries to get others to follow their laws usually does not keep those laws themselves. Often, when a minister or individual harps on a particular sin, they are usually struggling with that very same sin in their own life.  They get their glory from putting someone else into bondage because they can turn their focus from their sin to someone else’s sin.

References to those who preach the law but cannot keep the law are also found in other verses.

John 7

vs. 19 “Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?”

Acts 15

vs. 10 “Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”

Spirituality is Not Measured by Outward Acts

Galatians 6

vs. 14 “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

Whenever outward acts are deemed necessary to spirituality, (i.e.-refraining from certain foods, circumcision, water baptism), you begin to glory in your works and no longer glory in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.  If someone handed you a gift it would be silly for you to leave with the gift saying, “You should have seen me!  My extended arms grabbed the gift with my own two hands and pulled it toward myself. You should have seen the strength I exerted to reach out to take that gift!” Someone may ask, “Well, what was in the box?” You respond, “Well, it was a check for a million dollars, but you should have seen my arms as I grabbed that gift!”

When we glory in our works we take all the emphasis away from the One Who did all the work on our behalf.

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

vs. 15 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.”

We are to love the people of the world, but we are to hate the system of the world. We should hate pornography should desire to see pornographers saved and set free. We should hate adultery but should desire to see adulterers saved. We should hate homosexuality because it is an abomination unto God, but we should love the homosexual and desire to see them saved and delivered.

The Rule of the Inward Man

Verse 15 is telling us that what we do in our flesh does not count with God; it is what we do in the inward man that is important to Him. Outwardly, in the flesh, water baptism is nothing. It is simply a person going underwater and coming back up again; going down into the water dry and coming back up wet. There is nothing spiritual about going under the water. The significance is in what water baptism represents.

Some people teach that in communion the bread and grape juice actually become the flesh and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is absolutely not true. Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”  The power is in the remembering.

When people lay hands on someone for healing, it is not those natural hands that are holy, it is the power of God that flows through those hands that is holy.

Galatians 6

vs. 16 “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”

“This rule” is the new creation. In other words, we walk by the rule of the inward man, not the rule of the outward man. We do not walk by the rule of the senses nor by the rules and regulations others have. It is the standard of the new birth, the dictates of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that lead and guide us.

“As many” refers to both Jews and Gentiles. Paul is, in essence, saying, “I don’t care if you are a Gentile in the flesh or a Jew in the flesh; it doesn’t matter. The new birth is the only thing that is important.  There is no difference between a born-again Jew or a born-again Gentile.” In Christ, there is no Jew and no Gentile. In Christ, there is no male or female. In Christ, there is no rich or poor.

“The Israel of God” is referring to born-again Jews. There was a temptation for the Galatians to follow the law but there was an even greater temptation for the born-again Jews to revert to the law. Paul is warning them not to go back to the living their lives according to the law.

The Marks of Religion

Galatians 6

vs. 17 “From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”

The marks to which Paul is referring are the marks of religion.  God did not put the stripes on Jesus when He went to the cross, religion did. Peter, addressing devout Jews out of every nation, blamed the Jewish religion for nailing Jesus to the cross (Acts 2).

The greatest persecutor of the church is religion. It is not the drug addict.  It is not the prostitute.  It is not pornography.  It is not homosexuality.  The worst persecutor of the church has always been and will always be religion.

Beginning and Ending with Grace

Galatians 6

vs 18 “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

Paul began this epistle with “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.” He now ends it with grace. Paul said that he was what he was by the grace of God and now he has a congregation who is once again, flowing and operating in the grace of God

Bob Yandian

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