I have a vivid memory from my childhood, and it’s not a pretty one. While I don’t remember what prompted the outburst, I had a temper-tantrum in my mother’s presence and told her, “I’m tired of being good! It’s too hard!”
I was obviously exasperated about something, and my parents’ guidance on good behavior had hit a brick wall. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was tired. Being good took too much effort.
If you’re wondering whether I turned into a rebel, I have to burst your bubble. I overcame my trial and continued on as a good girl for the most part of my years, though don’t talk to my siblings.
The point is, life takes effort. In our physical life, we have to work to eat well and stay in shape. There’s a constant push back against everything that leads to death.
Mentally, we have to make an effort to learn, expand our minds and not capitulate to the voices that tell us to give up.
In the moral life, Oswald Chambers says “no man is virtuous because he cannot help it; virtue is acquired.”* We learn our morals, they don’t come naturally. Just look around you in this world.
Finally, in the spiritual life, our faith without works is dead. Christ has made the effort, done the hard part of redemption, that we could never do on our own; but in placing our trust in him, there is a daily living out of that faith which takes effort on our part. “In this world, you will have tribulation,” Jesus said. The Christian life is not easy or effortless, but we can still be of good cheer, because he’s overcome the world for us!
When I think about the effort we must exert in life, physically, mentally, morally and spiritually, there is a temptation to grow weary in “doing good,” just like I did when I was a child. However, now that I have put away childish ways, I can move forward in confidence because of the promises and reality of Christ. For he said,
“Lo, I am with you always.”* and “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things…”*
His presence gives us confidence to press on, knowing that he that is in me is greater than he that is in the world,* and “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”*
Is weariness overwhelming you? Are you looking for strength in yourself or in Christ? This life does take effort, but we don’t have to do it on our own. Take his yoke which makes all things light and don’t grow weary in doing good.
Grace and Peace
*Chambers, Oswald, My Utmost for His Highest, December 4 devotion.
*1 John 4:4.