As mentioned before, we all have thoughts that need to be taken captive. Thought patterns or beliefs are set up in childhood or due to life experiences. These thought patterns or beliefs shape our lives and relationships. Meaning our thought life influences what we say and do. Some thought patterns and beliefs are not based in reality and have negative effects on us as individuals as well as our relationships.
While there are many thought errors, today I’m focusing on the belief that we should be rewarded for hard work and/or struggles now. Dr. Aaron Beck, psychiatrist, identifies this common thought errors as “Heaven’s Reward Fallacy”. I’ve written about cognitive distortions-the thoughts we need to take captive. I broadly over viewed the thoughts to be changed and the necessary tools we access through Christ. Then I went on to make real life applications to change those thoughts. Check out the article here.
The World’s Belief About Hard Work and Struggle
Our society sends subtle messages such as, “If you work hard enough you can achieve anything”. “Struggle and hard work will always lead to success”.
The Reality of Hard Work and Struggle
The problem with this message is that it is incongruent with reality. Success and achievement does not always follow hard work and struggle. What happens when you work hard and don’t get the results you want? What about the guy working double shifts just to feed his family and still barely make ends meet? How do you feel about loving someone well and receiving nothing in return? What do you do when all your hard work doesn’t result in the promotion or raise? The reality is, we don’t always receive praise or recognition for our hard work.
When we buy into this message, the results affect our relationships and rob us of joy and peace. The result is bitterness, anger, and resentment. Our motivation fizzles out. We give up and we say to ourselves, “What does it matter?” “Why Try?” “Nobody appreciates me”. “This relationship is never going to get better”.
The Constant Striving
As long as we hang on to this false belief, we are enslaved to those around us. Enslaved to their recognition and reward. This means we hand over the keys to our joy and peace to the person withholding the recognition and reward. We begin to work harder, struggling for more reward and recognition from man. Recognition and reward from man is fleeting and short lived at best.
There is nothing wrong with a desire to get the promotion through hard work. The problem lies with our response if the promotion never arrives. Do we stop working hard? Do we feel sorry for ourselves?
There is nothing wrong with loving someone well and desiring they return the love to you. The problem lies with our response if love is never returned. Do we stop loving well? Do we become bitter? Do our hearts become hardened?
- We are always to work at everything wholeheartedly as if we are literally working for God, not people. (Colossians 3:23, Ephesians 6:7)
- If we are rewarded now, the recognition or reward is still fleeting. Don’t hang your hope on man’s recognition of your hard work or struggle. Instead, hang your hope on God’s recognition. (Philippians 3:20-2, Revelation 22:12, Matthew 6:19-21)
- God is sovereign over every outcome. We can make plans, work hard and desire reward now. But it’s God’s plan that prevails. He has the power to lift you up in His timing. (Daniel 2:21, Proverbs 19:21)
Don’t buy into this false belief that hard work and struggle results in reward now. Buying in to this belief leads to disappointment, frustration and growing weary in our life and relationships. Instead keep your heart and mind set on things above, working at everything for God. Hang your hope on Him. You won’t be let down.
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