Renewing Spiritual Energy

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He’ll (Satan) speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One. He’ll attempt to alter times and laws, and they’ll be given into his control for a time, times, and half a time…. (Daniel 7:25) International Standard Version

And such as violate the covenant he shall pervert {and} seduce with flatteries, but the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong {and} shall stand firm and do exploits [for God] (Daniel 11:32) Amplified.

Hebrews 12:3

Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.

2 Corinthians 4

1THEREFORE, SINCE we do hold and engage in this ministry by the mercy of God [granting us favor, benefits, opportunities, and especially salvation], we do not get discouraged (spiritless and despondent with fear) or become faint with weariness and exhaustion 2We have renounced disgraceful ways (secret thoughts, feelings, desires and underhandedness, the methods and arts that men hide through shame); we refuse to deal craftily (to practice trickery and cunning) or to adulterate or handle dishonestly the Word of God, but we state the truth openly (clearly and candidly). And so we commend ourselves in the sight and presence of God to every man’s conscience.

These passages teach us several things: First, there will come a time when the enemy of our souls shall “wear out the saints” (Christians) for three and one-half years. Second, but Christians who know their God shall be strong and do spiritual exploits. The word “know,” as it is used here is —yada in Hebrew, ginöskö in Greek— It indicates a combination of close, warm, and even passionate intimacy, combined with head knowledge that produces an edge in a person’s life that enables him to trust God and at the same time perceive what He is doing. Third, we should always consider Jesus’ suffering so that we don’t lose heart and become exhausted. Fourth, we need to ensure to we are totally candid in our ways so that we maintain a good conscience with others and God, particularly regarding our ministry to others.

People who KNOW their God will do great (spiritual) exploits. These will have understood the mighty power of God that can be received, embraced and given out to others. But all of us need to beware that spiritual exhaustion is real and sometimes deadly.

Satan is a schemer (Eph. 6:11) with methodologies to attempt to sideline, delay and any way possible prevent God’s people from exercising their authority in the earth. Our true strength lies in our spiritual energy. The primary spiritual gift in this sense is joy. We all know the joy of the Lord is our strength. If we lose it, we lose spiritual energy.

This teaching is for people who have given above and beyond in their service to the Lord – as some would say those who have been spent for the kingdom.  (It’s also to warn others that you, too, will be subject to it if you’re not wise.) This is why spiritual exhaustion occurs in the first place. Some books have addressed this, but I feel like the Lord has given me some revelation lately that might be helpful to those who are struggling to keep the flame burning. I am not talking about just being physically tired or emotionally weary for a short span: I am talking about that long-term, sucked-the-life-out-of-you-feeling that doesn’t revive easily. You don’t get this by reading 10-minute devotionals and attending a few spiritually edifying meetings a couple of times a week.

Most people who “burn out” do so because they’ve depleted spiritual energy and can’t seem to get it back. The emphasis here is on the human spirit (little “s”) that so needs refreshing and renewing. David cried, “Renew a right spirit within me” (Psa. 51). God can renew, but wisdom is required. Our age and generation has a serious problem with spending time alone with God. Face it, CDs, books, etc., are fine, but you don’t soak in Christ well through your physical ears or eyes. Union with God is not cheap, and the Lord has said again and again in scripture that it is those who hang with Him who are disciples. There are lots of Christians with fire insurance, but truly few who walk with Christ and stay “in season.”

Walking with God is expensive and can be an exhausting ordeal. The scriptures at the beginning of this indicate the kinds of predicaments people can find themselves in. The Psalmist in 77:3 admitted that even his thoughts of God were sometimes painful and caused weariness to his spirit. To make this short, I’ve put a list together of things that I think are the causes of this very debilitating dilemma with some suggestions for alleviating healing and renewing energy:

  1. Too much emphasis on knowledge. Christians, even those who have experienced the baptism in the Spirit, can become exhausted because either they have failed to renew their spirits through proper rest or recreation, or they have depended largely on their souls to “get the job done.” An overly religious spirit is a killer! Ecclesiastes exhorts that there’s a time for everything under heaven – even fun! This first one really depends on discernment. Mature Christians don’t want to think they’re just moving in the power of the soul, yet Watchman Nee warned of this in “The Latent Power of the Soul.” He said that Last Day people would return to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil much too frequently, especially the lost, who think knowledge alone is power. As we have become more dependent on knowledge and good marketing (this is mainly soul-related), we can get away from drawing from the Lord. Eventually this kind of movement produces little lasting fruit, as has been attested to by many churches that have adopted this as their primary focus.
  2. The fruit of the spirit or fruit of the soul? On the heels of the same problem above, it seems that many Christians have confused where the fruit really comes from, still working out of their own ability to produce fruit, when Gal. 5:22 says clearly it’s the “fruit of the spirit.” I understand the Greek rendering here can be a little “s.” In other words, it’s fruit born through the human spirit, drawing on the Holy Spirit. If my theology is correct – and there are many good theologians who will back this up — the primary download from the Holy Spirit is to the human spirit, not the soul. A lack of knowledge then causes us to strive in the soul to produce the works of God! This can really cause of a lot of anger, if we continue to strive in some kind of performance oriented way. A better way, I am finding out is receiving blessing from God to the human spirit to manifest the fruit of the spirit, and not necessarily through a beaten down soul! This is not to disregard the work of the cross, but some Christians have taken this to extremes thinking by “crucifying their souls,” all spiritual reality will be the result.
  3. We are too busy for our own good. Many people today are exhausted to the point of giving up because of the incessant Internet, cell phones and voicemail addictions. When that’s not happening, there’s always the omnipresent TV or radio background noise that offers little redeeming value for the Jesus Christ starved spirit! I find it helpful to turn EVERYTHING off for restorative time. Group time is great and, of course, fellowship, too, but nothing replaces one-on-one time with the Lord. Some people have relegated this to Bible reading (good) and short or long times of prayer, which certainly are WORK. But I have find quiet meditation to be extremely helpful in restoring spiritual energy.
  4. Unanswered prayers, prophetic words and dreams that have not been fulfilled. Some prophetic words and dreams, even if they are from the Lord, take a long time to manifest. In the meantime, waiting, pursuing, pushing, standing, etc., can be emotionally and consequently, physically draining. While we’re waiting, God is interested in building our character. Hebrews 10:36 isn’t one of your refrigerator verses, but it is very true, nonetheless:

“For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and [a]carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised” (Amplified).

Notice this says “steadfast patience and endurance are needed to perform and fully accomplish the will of God” so that what was promised may be realized. The will of God mentioned here s likely Christlikeness (Rom. 8:29) so we can be mature enough to receive the promise!

      5.     Obsessions of any kind. It doesn’t matter what it is – the diet crazies, too much religious duty – too many meetings, plans, groups, running to hear this speaker of that speaker, obsessions with work, beautifying the body, hunting, fishing and golf, sports of any kind, the news or obsession with the opposite sex. Name your own. Obsessions will suck the spiritual life out of you! So, discern whether what your involvement is — Holy Spirit led – and He’s into our enjoyment of life – or is it compulsive drivenness, with fear in the driver’s seat?

     6.   Negative unexpected treatment from friends or family, giving ourselves to takers, who give nothing or little in return; deep disappointments because of situations we KNEW would work out but didn’t; financial and emotional predators who prey on us for their own selfish benefit; extremely long and involved negative relationships that seemingly have no end.

On the positive side:

  • Learn the importance of living out of your spirit and not your soul. I know this sounds complicated, but it’s not. Do yourself a favor and buy “Blessing Your Spirit” by Sylvia Gunter and Arthur Burk. This is a treasure for worn out souls. Many Christians don’t know they have a personal spirit that it is different from their soul and distinguished from the Holy Spirit. We’re spirit beings, and so is the devil. He doesn’t care how much Bible knowledge you have if you can’t combat him with the God blessed spirit within you. Need I add that the baptism in the Holy Spirit will further empower your personal spirit in incalculable ways!
  • Take time to make time. Your God is waiting and desiring for you to spend time with Him. He wants you to tell Him your burdens and take them off your shoulders (Matt. 11:29-31). This takes time and consistency. Need I say don’t wait until the crisis hits to try to pull something down from heaven? If you abide in Him by prayerfully waiting on Him and meditating on His truth, when the crisis hits, you’ll have God’s riches resources at your disposal.
  • Do something about life suckers and energy vampires! Let’s be honest, there are some people who can suck the life out of us. They have more woes, self-pity and god-awful stories that can drive the most Job-like personalities among us to want to commit hari-kari! These people can talk under water! They’re terribly self-focused. Believe me, these folks are unwittingly used by demons to pull whatever life you have left in you out of you! There is a place for Christian patience, but there is a place to gently draw the line with these people. If you see their name on your caller ID, and you feel your hormones going south, maybe you should just let good old voicemail take the call. By the same token, there are myriads of timewasters that we could better use for the kingdom of God.  You know what these are in your own life!
  • Go on vacation, and actually enjoy it! Vacations can drain us – too many planes, too many plans, and too many things to do. You can’t wait to go back to work so you can rest. You’ll find out on vacation if you’re obsessive, driven by false guilt or if you’re a control freak (your family already knows the truth). Some planners, God bless them, can ruin a vacation because every minute must be accounted for!
  • Laugh a lot! An evangelist friend of mine says, “The Holy Ghost can get your when you’re laughing!” Why? Because we let down our phony walls and let go of our overly serious natures. Have you ever been to a church where a good “Amen!” or handclapping to a song could get you ex-communicated? And, dear God, what if someone raised his hands to glorify God? For my birthday, my younger son just returned to me a picture I once had of “The Laughing Christ.” I say returned to me. I had a picture like it many years ago, and lost it, and my son found one like it on the Internet. I had this picture posted on my wall where I taught college many years ago. Students and others who visited me would usually comment that they had never thought of Christ laughing (must have been due to sad pictures drawn by Renaissance artists). I would always tell them that God gave us emotions, and laugher had to be right at the top.  I usually end my day watching something funny; it’s good medicine.
  • Get adequate sleep, and take a nap whenever possible. Renewal requires wisdom. You need the proper rest, exercise and not eating too many Snickers. Ok, you know the drill about good food, etc. My “lazy boy” is probably my favorite place on earth. It’s a refuge from a crazy world, with myriads of problems and stressful living. It’s also the place I chat with Jesus most often. You, too, need a “fortress of solitude” (this is where Superman went to get away from it all). So all of you Superpeople need to find some place in your day to kick back and let the world go by.
  • Trying all the keys. There are many things to do, as I have mentioned above: inner healing, deliverance, spiritual and natural rest, letting things go, establishing borders, simplifying lifestyle, minimizing or cutting off “energy vampires,” establishing and maintaining alone times, etc. AND MAYBE DO ALL OF THESE AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH THEM!

 

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