ARE YOU STRUGGLING?
Updated: Jan 28, 2020
Many years ago, I left everything, taking two years off from the ministry. I kept blaming my spiritual condition on being “tired”. I was tired of everything and everyone. I had fought horrific battles in my own strength instead of in God’s strength. I took little time in my busy schedule for pleasure, enjoyment and rest!
It was not God’s intention for me to work nonstop. His desire for me was to live an abundant life. He wanted me to take time to laugh, to enjoy people, to invest myself in relationships, and most of all, to delight myself in the pleasure of His company. At that time, I did very little of any of it. It wasn’t until decades later that I came to the conclusion as to what really happened to me—I had become dried up, and as a result I struggled in the simplest matters.
Dried up can be defined as being “in a depleted condition”.
Struggling can be defined as “moving with difficulty”.
The spiritual condition of being “dried up” and “struggling” go hand in hand. Dried up occurs when one is slack in actively pursuing God to be daily “refilled” with the Holy Spirit. When one becomes dried up, activity in the things of God become a struggle. It’s like moving a car uphill without gas. I remember it was during that season of my life, I struggled to minister, pray, read my Bible, and to be active in Kingdom service.
Some have referred to this spiritual condition as burn out, believing that it is a result of extreme external pressures. A WARNING SHOULD BE ISSUED HERE: Do not solely blame the spiritual condition of burn out (or dried up) on just the pressure of external factors, but instead recognize that there is an internal spiritual failure involved as well.
Sadly, believers frequently find it difficult to accept responsibility for their own spiritual failure,
but instead, often times, blame God for either placing too much work on them, or not stopping the trials and heartache that have assaulted them. Moreover, they excuse themselves by saying they don't have enough time in the day to seek His face, or that they are too depressed to pray. The latter reason for them not praying is really because they are mad at God and disappointed in Him for allowing the horrific trials. At the end, their final word on the matter is "I want to quit". And this is when believers who are dried up and experiencing burn out become deceived.
Moses, too, had a difficult season where he was trying in his own strength to mold the Hebrew slaves into a powerful nation. The task looked impossible. At his breaking point, he cried out to the Lord (something we should all do when burn out comes knocking at our door). Moses exclaimed, "Have I conceived all this people? Have I fathered them, that You should say unto me, Carry them in your bosom, as a nursing father bears the sucking child, unto the land which You swear unto their fathers?" (Num. 11:12). He sounded like a man who was exhausted, don't you think? Even his father-in-law counseled him to appoint other men to help judge the cases of the people, seeing that he would not endure if he continued at the same pace.
It was soon after this, though, that Moses prayed, “teach me to number (organize) my day” (Psa. 90:12). God is longing for those who are weary to ask Him to help them organize their day. If only they would seek the Lord's face and ask Him for help, the Holy Spirit would give them joy unspeakable as they go about their daily activities.
When one is dried up, one’s thought life becomes affected with an overwhelming longing for fun and for greener pastures on the other side. But soon the lesson learned by them will be the same one Solomon learned: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man (Ecc. 12:13).
I counsel you that all work and no play is a dangerous place to be, for it opens the way for sin to present itself as pleasure. The Bible says that sin is pleasurable for a season (Heb. 11:25). But it is only for a season! The end of it is misery, woe and death. This is why there must be a balance in a Christian’s life.
The first priority of the day is to be replenished with the Holy Spirit. It's time to stop making excuses and do what you should have done in the first place—BE REFILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. The question is, though, ...
How can one be replenished?
Paul gave the answer. He encouraged others, including Timothy “to keep on being filled”. Paul, himself, kept on being filled with the Holy Spirit. He faced horrific external trials, yet, not once did he cry burn out. What was his secret? He kept being filled with the Holy Spirit.
The following are the external things that Paul suffered:
23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prison more frequent, in (danger of) death often.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25 Three times was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck,
a night and a day I have spent adrift in the deep (sea);
26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own
countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in
perils in the sea, in perils among false believers;
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings (unable to sleep) often, in hunger and thirst,
in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28 Beside those things that are without (external), that which comes upon me daily, the
care of all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
30 If I must glory, I will glory of the things which concern my infirmities.
31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed forevermore, knows that
I lie not (2Co. 11:23-31).
Instead of crying, “burn out”, Paul exhorted others, saying, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (Php. 4:4). He didn’t just throw those words out, and then expect the church to suddenly put on a happy face. No! He showed believers HOW TO rejoice, and it goes hand in hand with being refilled with the Holy Spirit and the joy of the Lord. Paul was able to overcome the eternal pressures that were thrust upon him by not lacking in his internal spiritual walk with the Lord.
Paul said to Timothy, “Wherefore I put you in remembrance that YOU stir up the gift of God,
which is in you by the putting on of my hands (2Ti. 1:6). Who is responsible for the stirring up? You are! When you accept this truth, you will be on your way to removing yourself from the condition of being dried up and experiencing burn out; you will cease struggling to perform. Moreover, Paul instructed Timothy to be filled with the Holy Spirit, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wickedness (corruption, stupidity), but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit and
constantly guided by Him” (Eph. 5:18). In the original Greek, it reads, “keep being filled” with
the Holy Spirit.
It is of vital importance that you be daily replenished with the Holy Spirit. God desires for you to depend on Him each and every day. He meets our daily needs. Jesus said we were to pray, saying, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Let’s face it if anyone had a right to cry out “burn out”, it would have been Paul. The external factors that surrounded him were weighty.
What was Paul’s secret? How did he handle with grace all the burdens of life? He gave the secret to his overcoming life. He was daily replenished with the Spirit. He even gave the “how to” of being replenished in the Book of Ephesians. Paul wrote the Ephesian church, after exhorting them to keep being filled with the Holy Spirit, the actions that were necessary to keep being filled.
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God (Eph. 5:19-21).
The above actions are necessary in order to keep being filled with the Holy Spirit as outlined by Paul. Interestingly, two of the four actions relate to engaging with other believers, which puts us in remembrance of Paul’s admonition, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching (Heb. 10:25).
Recap of Paul’s instructions:
1. Speak to one another in...
(a) Psalms (sacred songs, in particular from the Book of Psalms)
(b) Hymns (songs or poems of praise to God)
(c) Spiritual songs (songs that are spontaneous and inspired by the Holy Spirit).
(Note that psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are to be spoken to one another, showing the need for fellowship with other believers!)
2. Sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord.
As a matter of the will, we are to rejoice. Paul said, “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also" (1Cor. 14:15). He sang in tongues and sang in his spoken language.
AMPLIFIED VERSION FOOTNOTE OF 1Cor. 14:19: The Greeks had a tradition of holding drinking parties (called, in the singular, a symposium) where the object was to sing the praises of the pagan gods while becoming drunk. Perhaps with this tradition in mind, Paul instructs believers to “be filled” instead with the Holy Spirit and to sing meaningful praises to God.
3. Give thanks always for all things unto God the Father in the Name of Jesus.
The words “all things” refer to those things God has done, not those things Satan has done. Give credit where credit is due. We are not to thank God for Satan’s works. Jesus said i this way, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mat. 22:21).
4. Submit yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Both maturity and strength is developed in believers when they prefer others before themselves. Note the words “fear of God”. Submit in the fear of God, knowing God sees everything and rewards accordingly.
Do as Paul spoke to Timothy, “stir up the gift” in you (2Ti. 1:6). Stir up the gift by praying in the Holy Spirit, which will cause you to keep being filled with the Holy Spirit. “But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your He sang in tongues and sang in his ).