Gal. 6: 9-10
Have you ever dropped out of anything? Made a commitment to do something and then quit part way through the experience. Although certainly there are times when that is an appropriate action, most of the time it leads to many additional issues.
The national average of students who drop out of hs and do not earn their ged is between 14-18%. That lack of education has a tremendous impact on not just the individual but society as a whole. HS dropouts earn 30% less than those with hs degrees and 60% less than those with college degrees. In addition unemploy. Is 15% compared to 9% of hs grads and 4% of college grads.
The incidence of teen pregnancy, substance abuse, crime, and poverty are also much higher. So you can see why our government officials and people of influence are constantly urging teens to stay in school.
Just as drop outs in education has a sobering effect on our society, spiritual dropouts have a similar effect on our spiritual landscape.
Gal. 6: 9-10 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (NIV)
KJ says “not faint” NAS says: don’t lose heart
Do you ever get tired? All of us grow weary from time to time in our day to day living as parents, grand parents, husbands, wives, employees and employers. In the social work world it is known as “burnout.” It happens spiritually when a very dedicated, committed person suddenly wakes up and realizes he is tired. Tired of giving, tired of doing, tired of serving. He finds that the joy of service is gone.. The writers of the NT all realized that from time to time, those faithful workers for the Lord become weary.
. . .
Bible gives us several examples of those who started out well but grew weary and dropped out.
Moses – Aaron and Hur Amalekites lifted his arms
Demas Col. Mentioned as coworker with Paul but in II Tim. There is a haunting verse: demas because he has loved the world has deserted me.
Church at Ephesus lost first love
Most of us know people who have started out on the path of faith but have dropped out. Its painful.
Don’t want to see that happen to you – or to anyone in the kingdom of God . Never run a marathon but I understand from those who do there is a certain point in the race where they hit the wall – feel like quitting. Have you ever hit the wall spiritually?
Becoming weary doesn’t happen in a moment, it is a progression over time. therefore if we can help people understand the spiritual cycle; perhaps we can stop the cycle before its too late. So how does it start?
Are you ever disappointed? Sure we all are. Many different things. Vary in severity but basic disappointments come because we don’t get our first choice in something:
Mild Bask/Rob out of pralines and cream
Medium – invited someone to church no show
Severe – lose your job
disappointments come when we don’t get what we want – most are minor disturbances of life that we have on a regular basis.
In times of disappointment we lose our excitement.
Spiritually they can happen in a congregational setting, (hoping we would have a guest speaker) in a small group ( I really wish joe or mary was in this group) or individually ( I was hoping to read through the Bible)
These aren’t huge events just the ups and downs of life. Can be the start of a spiritual drop out.
How do we break the cycle of dropout at this point – you can’t – disappointments are a way of life
No one ever gets everything they want – in fact that is good – keeps us from becoming self centered. Keeps us dependent on God.
As long as we have hopes and dreams and ideas, there will be times when we don’t get our first choice. Can either take that in stride allow them to help us grow or we can allow them to pile up on us which leads to the second stage of dropout. Which is discouragement.
This is a cumulative series of disappointments in one concentrated area that leads to a loss of joy. Rarely just one event but a series of events over time.
What causes us to be discouraged?
A. our inconsistencies. It would be nice if we could make the basket every time we shot – we can’t. it would be nice if we could always be in a positive upbeat mood but we can’t. (even good people get grumpy at times.)
make a spiritual commitment, fail to follow through - we feel guilty – we feel terrible – we get discouraged
do you think Paul ever felt that way? Romans 7
because we are human, it is difficult to maintain consistency. Masters – best golfers in the world – yet they hit it crooked – miss putts – shank shots they are human
B. fear In I Kings 19 we find the story of Elijah running away from Jezebel. So afraid of her he says: “I’ve had enough Lord, just take my life.” Just overwhelmed the prophets of Baal and in the next chapter he is discouraged.
Fear of the unknown of something bad happening
Fear of the future if you want to be afraid read the newspaper – watch the news - listen to the doom and gloom prophets
Fear comes when we can’t see all the answers to our problems immediately
We get discouraged when:
C. others don’t meet our expectations
we all have expectations of others – may be unwritten or unsaid but it is there - we expect to be treated with respect - driving down the road we expect the oncoming traffic to stay in their lane we expect people to be fair
David got discouraged: Psalm 73:3 “For I was envious of the foolish when I saw the prosperity of the wicked”
disciples had great expectations from Jesus – establish a kingdom – we get the good jobs get rid of the Romans
crucified – dreams down the drain Jesus met the disciples on the road to Emmaneus heads were down discouraged
even Jesus got discouraged – sent out his disciples – trained them to do mighty works - came back - how did you do. Not so good what you couldn’t even cast out a demon? Its not a sin to be discouraged – happens to all of us – it’s a sin to stay there.
Here is the most critical part of breaking the cycle of dropping out? When you recognize you are discouraged you need help need to stop the cycle before disillusionment.
A friend or a counselor to talk to
The word of God for encouragement
Go to your knees in prayer
This is the most critical stage of spiritual drop outs. Once you begin to form the pity party, it’s a short trip to disillusionment.
In the church and spiritual setting, this is where the fellowship of the church is most vital. Connectedness. To identify and help those who are discouraged. If cycle isn’t stopped it leads to:
Lose heart grow weary give up in disillusionment we lose our focus on what is really important. you may be in the danger zone of dropping out spiritually if you have some of these symptoms:
1. find fault with everything
2. things of the world are becoming more attractive than the things of God.
3. feel no one cares about you
4. see your church attendance as only what you can get not as a contributor to the body
5. Bible reading is non existent or dry
6. prayer life is filled with “gimmes” rather than praise
7. suspect an ulterior motive in those around you.
If you have two or more of those symptoms, you need some spiritual nourishment.
Disillusionment happens when we lose trust. In someone Trust God anymore trust leadership church boss Spouse coach
How do you get back on track spiritually if you are struggling?
1. remember where you came from heartache of chasing after rainbows, futility of a life without purpose empty feeling you had
2. who delivered you His name was Jesus and he totally forgave you, made you new, the cost of that salvation was his life and his word says in Hebrews 6 that after we know him but then turn on back on him, we are crucifying again the Son of God.
3. the promises of God he who started a work in you wants to complete that work - he is not going to leave you during times of discouragement
4. the effect on others every one of us has other individuals who are looking at how we live our lives – children – parents – co workers - others in a small group – or a congregation friends
I opened this sermon by talking about the decision to drop out of high school has an effect not only on you but society as well.
When you get disillusioned in your spiritual walk, it not only affects you but the body of Christ as well. You are now sowing seeds of doubt rather than faith in their lives. You are now deemphasizing the importance of your Christian walk. It affects other people just like being an encourager affects other people.
5. the hope before you.
“for the hope that was set before him, Jesus endured the cross”
We have a hope beyond the grave – hope of eternal life – hope that one day all of our problems will be solved. According to Ephesians 1 “one day the times will reach their fulfillment and God will bring all things in heaven and earth together under one head. Even Christ.”
We all have some kind of burden that we carry around from day to day. Many may have financial obligations that are weighing them down, while others may have family sickness that is weighing them down. Still there are others that are contending with dysfunctional relationships. The list of burdens could go on and on. The sad fact is that we all have something that puts us under enormous pressure and stress from time to time.
CLOSE help stop spiritual drop out. Think of one individual you know – call them – write them a note – email them. Encourager