The Temptation to be Weary
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction and Review

Open your Bibles, please, to Paul's second Thessalonian letter, chapter 3, beginning with verse 1:

I Thessalonians 3

1Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
2And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
3But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
4And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.
5And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
6Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
7For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
8Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
9Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
10For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
11For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
12Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
13But ye, brethren, be not weary in well-doing.
14And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he might be ashamed.
15Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

You will remember that we have been thinking on this chapter for several weeks, and we have examined the verses which we have read in your hearing today. We would like to call to your attention, and to ask the Spirit of God to minister it to our hearts, the message which is contained in verse 13 of this chapter:

I Thessalonians 3

13But ye, brethren, be not weary in well-doing.

This encouragement became necessary because of a temptation which the Thessalonican believers were facing at that particular time. I believe we will see before we are through with our discussion that their temptation represents a temptation that is very real to many of us.

You will remember that in the first chapter of I Thessalonians, verse 6, we were informed that the Thessalonican believers received the Word of God with much affliction. Paul said:

I Thessalonians 1

6And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

We learned when we were meditating upon this verse that these Thessalonican believers had a very difficult time. They were persecuted unmeasurably, and sometimes they wondered how much they could stand.

You will remember that when we looked at II Thessalonians, chapter 2, verses 2-3, we saw that the truth of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ was very real to them, so real that they expected it to happen in the very next moment, so to speak, with the very next breath they were able to draw. Because they were looking for the imminent return of the Lord, they became inpatient and discouraged because the Lord did not come as soon as they thought He might. You remember that we read in II Thessalonians, chapter 2, verses 1-2:

I Thessalonians 2

1Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

That impatience concerning the coming of the Lord became so very real that the apostle said:

I Thessalonians 3

5And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

In the midst of their afflictions and in the midst of their impatience in relation to the coming of the Lord, they were bothered with something else almost beyond the point of endurance and that was the unequal burdens which they had to share.

We looked last week at the people who were responsible for those unequal burdens–people who were walking disorderly, people who were not willing to bear their share of the common burdens. You will remember that we noticed in verses 11 and 12 of chapter 3:

I Thessalonians 3

11For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

They are not busy about their own business, we learned, but busy about the business of everyone else. Paul had a message for them, and that message was contained in verse 12, when he said:

I Thessalonians 3

12Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

“My advice to such people,” he said, “is that they settle down, that they stop running around creating trouble, and that they get to work and bear their own share of the burdens.” Then he gave to the brethren who were pressed beyond endurance, it would seem, the message in verse 13 that we re-emphasize:

I Thessalonians 3

13But ye, brethren, be not weary in well-doing.

I refer to these words as a temptation, a temptation to give up, a temptation to quit, a temptation to stop before the work was finished. It was a very real temptation. Paul was very much concerned about it as you will see back in I Thessalonians, chapter 3, verse 5:

I Thessalonians 3

5For this cause, [because of my concern for you] when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.

Any individual who thinks that the Devil works in one certain way is ignorant of the devices of the Devil. Any person who thinks the only temptations about which you need to be concerned are temptations related to the flesh and immorality and so-called outstanding sins fails to recognize how the Devil actually works. I am of the opinion from observation through the years that the Devil traps more of God's children through the kind of temptation that we are considering today than through any other kind of temptation. He does not lead them into what we call deep sin. He does not lead them into what we call open sin–not to begin with; that usually follows.

Weary In Well-doing

He gets to them in the manner that is suggested in the words of the text, so I would like for you to notice with me the temptation as it is presented in the words of our text:

I Thessalonians 3

13But ye, brethren, be not weary in well-doing.

Various translations of this one verse suggest all of the problems that are related to it. Williams, for example, says: “You must never grow tired of doing right.” Do you ever grow tired of doing right? Do you? Evidently there is a temptation along that line.

The *ULAmplified*UL version of the New Testament says: “Do not lose heart in doing right, but continue in well-doing without weakening.” Do you ever weaken in relation to doing right? Do you ever lose heart in relation to doing right? Evidently this was a temptation with which these Thessalonican believers were faced, and it is a temptation with which we are all faced, if we stop to consider it today.

What does it mean to grow weary? “Be not weary in well-doing.” The word from which this word “weary” comes is a very expressive word. It comes from a Greek word which literally means “a beating.”

I am always amazed as I study the Word of God how Scriptural our colloquialisms are, regardless of how ungrammatical they may be. How many times have you said for various reasons, “I'm beat; I'm beat; I can't go another step.”? How many times have you said such or heard it said? What did you mean by that? You meant by that that you were so weary, that you were so tired, and in some instances that you were so discouraged, that you just absolutely did not have another ounce of strength with which you could continue.

Well, that is exactly the meaning of this word “weary” here and the apostle said, “Don't get to the point of giving up, to the point of stopping, to the point of saying, 'What's the use?'.”

What does this compound word “well-doing” mean? It comes from two Greek words. One of them means “to do.” The other means “good.” It simply means “to do good.” Now, there are two words for “good” in the Greek New Testament. The other is a word which speaks of something that is intrinsically good. There are no limitations as to what it may be; but that which is intrinsically good, which creates a good effect, is the thing in which you and I should be constantly interested and concerning which we should never grow weary, should never lose heart, should never weaken.

Reasons for Growing Weary

If there is an exhortation such as this, the possibility of our weakening, of our giving up, is there. So I thought it might be wise for us today just to notice the manner in which weariness related to doing good is presented in the Word of God, and in so doing, arrive at some of the reasons we grow weary. Perhaps we will be able to be on our guard in relation to them.

One of the reasons we have already touched upon and referred to several times, because it is right here in our text. It is possible for us to grow weary in doing good because of the conduct of others. So often we are called upon to bear the burden that someone else ought to be bearing. And how many times have we said in relation to that particular thing, “I'm tired of it. I have to do it all. No one else is concerned. No one else cares. It looks as if someone would be glad to do a little of this. Why does it always have to fall to me to do?”

You will be surprised in how many assemblies of the saints just such a situation exists; some people never see anything to do, and other people, even though they see it, don't want to get involved in it. They shirk their responsibility in relation to it, and it all falls on the shoulders of those who are a bit stronger in the faith and a bit stronger in their zeal.

The Devil slips up alongside such people sometimes and says to them, “Do you ever stop to think about how much you do around that place? Have you ever stopped to think that someone else could do part of what you are doing? How come you have to do it all? Why can't someone else bear some of those burdens?”

And some of those days when you get extra weary, and some of those days when you get extra tired, you are inclined to say, “That is right. And I believe I'll just quit. I don't believe that I'll carry on.”

Carrying Burdens of the Weak

I would like to remind you of what the Spirit of God has placed in the Word, in chapter 20 of the Acts, verse 35, so that you may keep it in mind should you be among the number who grow weary because not all bear all the burdens that they ought to bear. In Acts, chapter 20, verse 35:

Acts 20

35I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Will you notice the word “labouring” in verse 35? It is the same Greek word as our Greek word “weary.” As a matter of fact, you might read this verse: “I have showed you all things, how that in supporting the weak, ye ought to weary yourselves, ye ought to labor to the point of weakness, to the point of weariness; and remember as you do the works of our Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

So often those words quoted from the Lord Jesus but found nowhere in the recorded sayings of Christ (actually those were some of the words that He said that were not recorded except as they were remembered here and presented) those words so often are reserved purely as a reference to financial giving. They can be included in that, but if you read this very carefully in the light of the context and related passages of Scripture, the giving isn't of your money. That is the easiest thing in the world to give if you have it, and if you don't have it, there isn't any problem.

Giving in this passage of Scripture is the giving of yourself, your energy, your strength, everything about you. And he said, “Labor to the point of weariness because of the weak, because of those who for any number of reasons don't carry their own burden. You weary yourself in relation to them, remembering that it is more blessed to give than to receive; it is more blessed to do for someone else than it is for them to do for you.”

Now, I don't know what your burden may be today. You may be associated with or related to someone that is unusually weak, and perhaps, because you are human, you have almost reached the place where you are ready to give it all up; you've almost reached the place where you say, “What's the use? It is not helping one bit. I'm tired of it. It is time for him to stand on his own hind legs. I'm not going to do anything more about it.”

Well, the Devil says, “Amen,” when you say that. And God is grieved when you say it, because He doesn't want you to be weary in well-doing.

Weakness Related to the Flesh

Turn in your Bibles, please, to the book of Romans, chapter 7, as another thought comes to mind in relation to the reasons this temptation becomes so very, very real to us. In chapter 7 of the book of Romans, we have Paul's testimony concerning the battle that he has fought in relation to a victorious life. But nestled in that portion of the Word of God is a statement that I think fits into the subject that we are discussing at the moment. Will you notice chapter 7 of Romans, verse 21, where the apostle said:

Romans 7

21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

Do you notice those two words, “do good.” They are the translation of our Greek words which are translated “well-doing” in our original text. What is this Paul is saying? He is saying, “It is just too hard. Every time I try to do what is right, every time I try to do what is good, there is something that stands in opposition.”

Now, as far as the immediate context is concerned, Paul was talking about the weakness of the flesh, and we might as well recognize that today. That is one reason it is so hard for us to do good, that is one reason we get discouraged in relation to some particular thing–because the flesh is so weak, and it is so easy to yield to the appetite, and it is so easy to yield to the temptation. But let's broaden that and recognize that in relation to any good thing in which you are engaged and which God lays upon your heart, in relation to any such good thing, there will be opposition that will make it very, very difficult for you to do it. The opposition will be so strong so often that you will find yourself saying, “What's the use? Every time I try, it fails. What's the use?”.

Here are persons with whom you are dealing. You are concerned about them, and your dealings with them are related to well-doing and doing good, and you get so tired because they are so rebellious. And they stiffen themselves so against everything that is right and everything that you want them to do that is right. It seems they almost uncannily do the opposite thing. And the Devil says to you, “What's the use? You can't fight that. There is too much opposition. Why don't you just give up? Why don't you just quit?” And you find yourself doing it. You find yourself saying, “Well, what's the use? I've tried. God knows that I've tried. Everything is against it. I'm not going to try any more.” And the Devil says, “Amen.” And Heaven is sad because you have yielded to the temptation.

Physical Weariness

Will you turn with me, please, to II Corinthians, chapter 4, as I suggest another reason we are tempted to give up. Now, this is not an unusual reason at all, and it is a very real one. I think that we need to recognize it, because sometimes we misinterpret it, and if we are aware of the fact that it is here, perhaps we will be on our guard against it. You will notice that the apostle says:

I Corinthians 4

15For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Will you notice there in verse 16, he says: “For this cause we faint not.” Look at that word “faint.” It is the same as our word “weary.” What is he saying here? “One of the reasons I could get weary is that the outward man gets weary. The outward man perishes day by day; but the reason that I don't get weary is that the inward man is renewed day by day.”

The Lord Jesus Christ, you will remember, was going through Samaria one day. The record of his journey is recorded in chapter 4 of the Gospel of John. You will remember that His disciples went on into the city of Samaria, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself sat down on the curb of Jacob's well. In this chapter, verse 6, He gives the reason for it:

John 4

6Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

Did you notice that word “wearied”? It is the same word as “faint.” What are we finding here? That the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, got tired in body; physically He got worn out.

The Devil knows when we are the most weary. The Devil knows when we have expended every ounce of our physical strength and are completely sapped, and it is then that he slips up alongside you in a case like that and says, “Why don't you quit? Why don't you give up?” So keep in mind that one of the reasons for getting weary in our well-doing is nothing more than physical weariness; if we recognize that, we may not be so quick to yield to the Devil.

Turn in your Bibles, please, to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 5. This chapter tells the story of some unsuccessful fishermen. These fishermen were not fishing altogether for pleasure; this was their livelihood. You will notice in this chapter that these men had fished all the night long, and the Savior came to them and asked them whether or not they had caught anything. And Simon, in verse 5, answering, said to the Lord Jesus:

Luke 5

5…we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

Do you see that word “toiled” and the phrase, “toiled all the night”? That is what we are talking about today. It is laboring to the point of weariness. Peter and the others were ready to go home, and were ready to give up their fishing because it all seemed so futile. They had toiled all the night long and it had availed absolutely nothing.

Let's forget the fishing for a moment and let this passage of Scripture speak to our hearts in relation to the particular burden that you may be carrying at the moment, to the particular enterprise in which you may be engaged. Does it seem to you that you have toiled all the night long and have caught nothing? It seems that way sometimes, doesn't it–that you have worked and worked and worked and there has been no success, and it does not look as if there is going to be any success.

Weariness Related to Ministering the Word

I think that is the reason the Spirit of God in I Timothy, chapter 5, used this same figure of speech in relation to preaching the Word of God, teaching Sunday School classes, ministering the Word. In verse 17, He said:

I Timothy 5

17Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour *f1[there is our word]*f2 especially they who labour [to the point of weariness] in the word and doctrine.

The elders of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, so placed by the Holy Spirit and recognized by Him, have the spiritual oversight of the flock of God, but some of them are especially called to the ministry of the Word of God. And God said that all elders are worthy of honor, but those who minister in the Word of God to the point of weariness are worthy of double honor.

I believe that many, many times those of us who may be called upon to minister the Word of God sometimes have to toil all the night long and see very little result of our effort. We feel as though certainly it is a futile thing. Whatever the thing in which you may be engaged today, if you feel that you have toiled all the night long and it hasn't helped anything and the Devil slips up alongside you and says, “What's the use? It is all so futile. Why don't you quit?”, don't yield to him. Don't be weary in your well-doing!

Weariness Related to Prayer

Turn, please, to chapter 18 of the Gospel of Luke. This chapter is the record of a parable related to prayer. The Lord Jesus Christ introduces that parable with an exhortation in which we are vitally interested at this moment:

Luke 18

1And he [the Lord Jesus Christ] spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

“That men ought always to pray and not to faint.” There is our word. And then He gives the parable at which we will not take the time to look today, but it is the parable of the importuning widow with the unjust judge. Oh, how she asked him to do something and he wouldn't do it. She asked him to work in her behalf, and he was always interested in something else.

And so the Lord Jesus Christ said that when that comes, don't give up; hold on, because the victory will come by and by. When that experience in your life comes, don't grow weary in well-doing.

I think that one of the reasons we grow weary in well-doing can be related to our prayer life. Now, if you should tell me that every prayer that you ever prayed was answered exactly when you expected it to be answered and exactly in the manner in which you expected it to be answered, I would question your veracity, because I think all of us have experienced praying and seemingly the heavens were brass. I think all of us have experienced praying and praying and praying and praying and nothing happening until we reach the place where we can say, “What is the use? God is not going to answer my prayer so I am going to quit praying.” When that happens, the Devil says, “Amen,” because you have grown weary in well-doing.

Weariness Breaks Fellowship

I want to suggest to you just a few reasons you shouldn't yield. I have suggested to you some of the reasons we are tempted to give up, some of the reasons we get so weary. Now I want to suggest to you a few reasons you mustn't, a few reasons you dare not grow weary in well-doing to the point of giving up.

The first one is found in chapter 4 of the epistle of James, verse 17, and if you have not noticed this in this connection, you certainly should notice it today, because it is something that is worthy of our consideration. So often we excuse this matter of giving up as a thing of weakness, and we say concerning an individual who has given up, “Well, poor fellow. It was just a little bit difficult for him, so he gave up.” But James, chapter 4, verse 17, says:

James 4

17Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Notice the words, “do good.” It is the very thing that we are talking about today; those are our words that are translated “well-doing” in the original text. All too often this verse of Scripture has been put on a shelf as referring to sins of omission, and we think of all the good things that we could do that we might not do; but actually it is a reference to what we are talking about today–that if you are engaged in something that is characterized as well-doing, if you are engaged in something that God has laid upon your heart and you grow weary and you quit, it is sin. The very moment that you sin in this fashion or any other, you have broken fellowship with God.

Weariness Discourages Others

Do you see what I am saying to you today? It isn't that you have to go out and kill someone before your fellowship is broken. The Devil is not going to tempt most of you to do that, but the Devil is going to tempt you to grow weary in well-doing to the point of stopping. Notice I Peter, chapter 2, verse 15:

I Peter 2

15For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

What is this verse of Scripture saying? On the basis of the conversation which we are carrying on at the moment, it is saying that if you grow weary in well-doing to the point of quitting, you hurt your testimony. Whether or not you know it, when you are engaged in well-doing, even though people may try to discourage you and even though they may act as if they don't know what you are doing, they have their eyes on you. They do know what you are doing. And the very moment that you stop that well-doing, you have hurt your opportunity for testimony as far as they are concerned. More people have been caused to stumble because we have grown weary in well-doing than perhaps in any other way.

The Assurance of Victory

The last thing that I want to suggest to you as a reason you dare not give up, as a reason you dare not grow weary, as a reason you dare not stop, is that we are not engaged, thank God, in a losing battle. Oh, it may seem so to us, and the Devil would love to have us think so, but we would remind you that on the basis of the Word of God, we are not engaged in a losing battle.

Time will not permit us to turn to these passages of Scripture, but you might remember I Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 58, where the apostle reminds us that our labor in the Lord is not in vain. Oh, we may think it is, but it isn't.

Again in Galatians, chapter 6, verse 9, he reminds us that we should not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap–if we faint not. That is what the Devil wants; he wants us to faint before reaping time comes; he wants us to faint before the harvest comes, so we won't be there to gather the harvest!

Then you might remember well what the Spirit of God has recorded in the book of Hebrews, chapter 6, verse 10–that God is not unrighteous to forget your labor of love. Other people might forget it. Oh, yes, you have burned yourself out for some people, and it looks as if they don't even remember it; it looks as if they don't even care. You have done all you know how to do for some people, and they would just as soon wipe their feet on you as not. They have forgotten, but God hasn't forgotten that labor of love and He won't forget it. By and by the reaping time will come.

Promise of Renewal

Someone says, “That's my problem. The reaping time looks as if it is a long way off, and I am so tired. I am so weary, and I don't know whether I can hold out until the reaping time or not. What am I going to do? I'm not so worried about the reaping time if I get there, but I'm worried about the time in between. What am I going to do?” Well, I would suggest that you remember these precious words in chapter 11 of the Gospel of Matthew, which, of course, are very, very familiar to all of you:

Matthew 11

28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I just want you to notice the first part of that statement, “Come unto me, all ye that labour…” Look at that word “labour.” It is our same word; it is the word “weary,” from our original text, “Be not weary in well-doing.” The word “labour” here is a translation of the same word. What is He saying? He is saying, “Come to me, all ye that are weary.”

Now of course there is a sense in which you come to Him for salvation, and I hope that every one of you has done that–come to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, trusted Him. May I remind you that if you haven't come, you should? You will find a ready welcome, because the Scripture says, “Whosoever will may come.”

Let's leave that for a moment, and let me say to those of you who are weary, to those of you who are weary in well-doing, to those of you who are tired, to those who feel that you can't carry on another time, to those of you who are saying to yourselves, “Well, I'm through,” before you quit, come to the Lord, won't you? And in the quietness of your own heart, ask the Lord for that renewal of strength and for that resurgence of energy which He will give you. It will be amazing what will happen.

Remember the promise of the Word: “They that wait upon the Lord”–that is, come to Him–“shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). And once you get your second wind, spiritually speaking, you don't need to be afraid of giving up. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” You know why the order is reversed there, don't you? It takes so much less effort to fly than it does to run, and so much less effort to run than it does to walk. Think about that.

God has promised that if you come to Him, you will find that strength to do a humdrum thing like walking–dragged out and long and wearisome. “Be not weary in well-doing,” and may I add, “for in due season you shall reap if you faint not.”


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