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Topics: Women, Women in Ministry

When Your Work Seems Fruitless

May 29, 2014


By Christina Fox

Hearing my boys arguing in their room, I walked in to see what happened.

“I can hear you guys all the way in the kitchen. Are you using the skills you learned from our conflict resolution lessons?”

“No,” my oldest responded. “I forget what they are.”

My heart sighed and I reviewed with them, again, how they are to respond to each other in a way that glorifies God. Some days it seems like they have made progress in their conflicts and other days, not so much. I hear myself repeating the same instructions over and over. And I wonder… will they ever get it?

Don’t Grow Weary

I often get discouraged when I have to repeat the same lessons over and over. Just when I think there has been progress, the lesson has to be taught all over again. This is true, not only for my children, but also for myself. I grow frustrated that I still battle with impatience, worry, and doubt. When I look back on my day and see the times that I did not speak or act out of love, I feel weary and discouraged. And I wonder…will I ever get it?

But I’m not alone in these feelings. Paul encouraged the Galatians, “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). Paul wrote this because remaining faithful in our calling can be wearisome. Battling our sin day in and day out can leave us worn. And when we don’t see fruit from our efforts, it is tempting to give up in despair.

Yet Paul says not to grow weary. Easier said than done, right?

Because Jesus Endured For Us

When I hear an instruction like “don’t grow weary” I think, how do I do that? But the truth is, not growing weary isn’t about just resolving to stick things out and stop feeling discouraged.  In fact, the question shouldn’t be “how do we stop growing weary?” but “why we can keep from growing weary?”

There’s a reason we can endure in our work and in our faith to the end: because Jesus endured for us. “Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted,” (Heb. 12:2-3).

The writer to the Hebrews points us to why and how we can endure. Because Jesus endured the cross for our sakes, we have been set free from slavery to sin and freed to live for him. Hebrews tells us that the cure to growing weary is to consider Jesus. We are to remember what he did for us at the cross. We are to consider the lengths he went to in securing our redemption from sin. We are to consider the depths of his love that he would endure such suffering—because of the joy that lay ahead. What was that joy? Our restoration with God.

Hebrews also says that he is the perfecter of our faith. Jesus is not only the source of our faith, he is also the one who will guarantee its completion. He is at work in us, even now, changing us and transforming us into his likeness. Even when we don’t feel like he is at work, he is. The apostle Paul tells us that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Our hope is in Christ and what he has done. When our work seems fruitless and it seems like nothing has changed, we must remember and consider Christ. Because of what he has accomplished for us, and because he has guaranteed to finish what he started in us, we can and will endure.

If your work seems fruitless and you are feeling weary today, look to Jesus. This promise is yours, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Is. 40:31).


Christina Fox (@toshowthemjesus) has her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and is licensed in mental health counseling. She is a writer, blogger, and regular contributor to ministry publications and websites such as Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition. She spends her days homeschooling her two boys and in her free time enjoys reading, writing, and antiquing. Christina and her husband of seventeen years reside in sunny South Florida. You can find her sharing her faith journey at and on Facebook

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