- ABOUT US
- Calendar and News
- READING PLAN
- The Chosen
Spiritual First Aid
Ever wanted to just quit? There’s not a person alive that hasn’t felt like that. It’s where the circumstances and situations of life overwhelm us and all we want to do is to back away, check out, and vanish. It’s where we want to quit on everyone, even the Lord.
Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
And this cannot be more true, not only in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense as well, because spiritual fatigue tempts us to quit, not only on others, but also upon the one we need most, and that is God.
To understand the causes, symptoms, and remedies of spiritual fatigue, we first need to understand what is fatigue. Only then can we find solutions to this dangerous form of mental, physical, and spiritual exhaustion.
While it’s easy to point to our need for rest and relaxation in order to restore our strength, how does this look spiritually? Spiritually speaking we need to fan back into flame our faith that is about to go out.
The Apostle Paul said, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.” (2 Timothy 1:6a NIV)
So instead of doing what comes most naturally, that is nothing, Paul says we need to get going if we want to combat this deadly malady. This goes along with what Paul also said to the Galatian church.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9 NKJV)
What is fatigue?
Being fatigued is a state of being weary and extremely tired, even to the point of complete exhaustion. It is where we are tired most if not all of the time. It has gotten so bad that we now have a medical term describing long-term fatigue and exhaustion. It’s called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Someone said that we are all apart of this special fraternity, the fraternity of the fatigued, because all of us have experienced being tired and weary to the point of being worn out and run down. It is a feeling of being lethargic and unmotivated, lacking the energy to accomplish those goals we have set for ourselves. It is also the feeling of being so exhausted that we excuse ourselves from all thought choosing instead to sit in front of the TV set or computer screen so we don’t have to think.
What Causes Fatigue?
Fatigue can affect our bodies in a multitude of ways.
• Psychologically: Where we become fatigued in our minds, that is, in our thought life where we become too tired to think.
• Physiologically: Where fatigue attacks the normal and healthy functioning of the human body to the point of exhaustion and the feeling of being worn out.
• Spiritually: Where fatigue attacks our soul and spirit weakening our emotions where we want to give up on life.
The National Institute on Aging lists things like illness, or emotional problems like anxiety, depression, grief, stress, and even boredom as factors that cause fatigue. They also list several “lifestyle habits” like staying up too late, having too much caffeine, drinking too much alcohol, and eating junk food as causes for fatigue.
Fatigue can also be caused by striving to do those things that are out of our control, or beyond our capabilities. We cannot change other people, yet we are constantly trying to please others so they like us, or in order to like ourselves we play a comparison game, which we never win.
What are Fatigue’s Remedies?
When it comes to curing fatigue, there’s nothing like getting a good night’s sleep. Yet even though we may know this, proper rest and relaxation always seem elusive and tends to take a backseat to work and life in general. Millions of people don’t get enough rest, which is why fatigue is such a malady in today’s world. Therefore, we need to take time to relax and ensure we get adequate rest.
The benefits to exercise are many. Even minor exercise can have major benefits. Exercise will make us look and feel better, not to mention having a healthier outlook on life. It can also help us get to sleep.
Exercise, however, doesn’t happen only in a gym. It can come through recreational activities, like taking walks, sports, or any hobby where physical activity is required. Here’s one that isn’t all that popular, and that is doing chores.
Eating right can do wonders in fighting fatigue. What we eat can affect the amount of energy we have to expend throughout the day. Eating improperly, however, that is junk food, or foods that have been highly processed, can sap our strength. Eating healthy will stop what’s eating at us. So having a healthy diet goes a long way in fighting fatigue.
We also need to regulate our stress levels. If we don’t get a handle on those things that stress us out, then they will lead to our becoming psychologically, physiologically, and spiritually fatigued.
Therefore, it’s not just our bodies and minds that need rest, but also our souls and spirits.
While there are valid medical reasons attached to causes of physical, mental, and emotional fatigue, which often times need to be treated medically, we cannot dismiss the spiritual side of the equation. Even the medical community is recognizing the relationship between the physical and spiritual.
Technological advances in medicine help in the curing of disease and illness, but they do little to alleviate many of the underlining causes, such as stress and fatigue.
The human body is made up of three interrelated but distinct parts: body, soul (emotions), and spirit. Each plays an important part in a person’s health. Just as fatigue has a physical and emotional aspect attached, we dare not overlook fatigue’s spiritual component.
It’s when we are physically and mentally tired, that is when we become more susceptible to temptations, disbelief, despair, discouragement, and depression. It’s at these times that we are more likely not to preserve and fight the good fight of faith, or worse, abandon our faith altogether. This is a very dangerous place to be in.
Paul was not above such feelings of fatigue resulting in the temptation to give up.
“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.” (2 Corinthians 1:8 NKJV)
Jesus understands this reality. He knows of the temptation to give up where we find ourselves tired and worn out. This is why He is our perfect High Priest to intercede for us with our heavenly Father during these times.
Of Jesus the writer of Hebrews says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 NKJV)
He knows what it is like to be fatigued and tempted, and therefore He sympathizes with our weaknesses, and being without sin tells us that He knows what will get us through to the other side.
Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NKJV)
Jesus understands the weight we carry and how hard it is just to live. He therefore tells us that it is through having a relationship with Him that our most basic need will be met, which is rest.
Spiritual Fatigue: It’s Causes and Cures
Failure to Replenish
From a physical perspective we need adequate rest, exercise, and nutrition. But just as important, we need to renew ourselves spiritually. For this to happen we need to return to the true source of life, and that is God, which only happens when we spend time with Him on a daily basis.
In Psalm chapter one we are shown an example of exactly what this looks like and what we can expect.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV)
We experience spiritual droughts because we’re not connected to God, and that is when we find ourselves fatigued and in a dry and desolate place.
We must continue to replenish our spiritual resources by spending time every day in the Bible and prayer.
If we fail to replenish our spiritual resources, then we’ll find ourselves unproductive, yielding little if any spiritual fruit.
In John 15:5, Jesus makes this same point.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NKJV)
Only in a close relationship with Jesus can the weary be refreshed, and those who are fainthearted can be satisfied.
God never tires and never gets fatigued, and therefore He gives us His strength in place of our weakness.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.” (Isaiah 40:28-29 NKJV)
To avail ourselves of this power and be renewed, we need to abide in Him, and when we do this is the result.
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
The opportunity to be renewed, to replenish our spiritual strength is found in our ability to wait upon the Lord. Now waiting on the Lord isn’t what most people think. It’s not where we sit back and do nothing; rather it is quite the opposite. Waiting in our verse is an active verb, and so we wait by serving God.
Think of it this way, the people who serve us in a restaurant are called waiters. They don’t wait for us to serve them, they serve us; they “wait” upon us.
And so the first cause of spiritual fatigue is a failure to replenish the spiritual resources given to us by God, and we replenish these resources when we abide in Jesus and wait upon Him by serving Him and others. Then God will flow these spiritual resources into our lives.
2. Misplaced Priorities
During the rebuilding process of the second temple in Jerusalem, the people became tired and fatigued, because they had the wrong set of priorities. Therefore, whatever they put their hand to had negative consequences.
“Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, ‘Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?’ Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.’” (Haggai 1:3-6 NKJV)
In their effort to gain more, they became worn out and fatigued. They planted their crops but had little to show for it, and what they earned was gone as soon as it was received. They couldn’t even eat or drink enough to be satisfied.
In a word, their priorities were misplaced.
Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Fatigue comes from having the wrong set of priorities. In the Israelites case they we seeking wealth and possessions more than they were seeking God. This wears out those who get caught on this treadmill of always wanting more. They continue to move, but go nowhere. This is not only frustrating, but it’s fatiguing as well.
Solomon said, “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.” (Proverbs 23:4-5 NASB)
But we can misplace our priorities when we put anything or anyone in front of God. This brings a sense of weariness and fatigue to our soul and spirit, which also has physical consequences.
Therefore, to end this constant feeling of fatigue we need to get our priorities straightened out and seek God first and foremost, and then Jesus promises that whatever else we need will be added to our lives.
Living In Deception
It takes a lot of strength to maintain a deception. Living a deceptive lifestyle is difficult if not impossible.
To hide sin takes a lot of work and careful planning, because whatever the lie, it needs to be remembered the exact same way every time the story is told. And we’re not talking about a couple months or years; we’re talking for a lifetime.
Fear also plays into the picture, because we are constantly looking over our shoulder so our lie isn’t discovered.
Therefore, sinning saps our strength and is tiring.
Jeremiah said, “Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.” (Jeremiah 9:5 NIV)
Consider King David’s plight when he decided to live as if nothing happened between himself and Bathsheba, along with the murder of her husband. He decided to live his life based on a lie, but then consider how it all changed when he came clean and told the truth, that is, he confessed.
“Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:2-5 NKJV)
David found out that in the end, truth and honesty is the best policy, for it brings for health and healing to our physical body, emotional stability, and spiritual vitality.
Striving for Acceptance
Striving to please others can be fatiguing. To counter we need to set our sights on pleasing God and not man.
Paul said, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10 NKJV)
We also strive for acceptance when we compare ourselves to others. But Paul makes it clear that this leads to error, along with an increase in discontentment and depression, which leads to fatigue.
“Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!” (2 Corinthians 10:12 NLT)
In the end, we’re striving to do what only God can do. Only God can give us peace that allows rest to our bodies, minds, souls, and spirits.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27 NKJV)
Paul said, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 NKJV)
Striving, trusting in ourselves, depending upon our own wisdom and knowledge can soon weary even the most dedicated and disciplined disciple. And so Jesus invites us to come alongside Him and allow Him to help carry the load.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)
A yoke is a farm implement that is attached to two animals in order to pull a plow through a field to prepare the soil for planting. The burden was equally shared between them, but this isn’t the case when we share our burdens with Jesus. He said that when we share our burdens with Him and allow Him to come alongside we won’t become fatigued, because His burden is light, that is, He’s carrying all the weight.
The final analysis is that striving is a waste of both time and energy.
We become spiritually fatigued when we try to live this life based upon our own wisdom and strength. But when we trust in God and His power, then we won’t become so fatigued as to be in distress and despair.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NKJV)
No matter how fatigued we may be, or how exhausted we are, we’re never beyond God’s power to save and deliver. Jesus is our spring of living water that brings both refreshment and life to our weary souls.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study