The LORD is Our Strength

A recent devotion correctly asserted that when life is hard and difficult then look to Jesus for strength.  The author could have referenced a number of texts that encourage us to trust the Lord in times of trouble.  One such text says, The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped (Psalm 28:7).

The author, his name was not attached to the devotion, said about Paul,

“When Paul felt spiritually weak, he looked to Jesus for strength.  When he felt drained because of past sin and failure, he found peace in the forgiveness of Jesus.  When Paul grew spiritually tired, he rested in the arms of Jesus.  When Paul felt inadequate for his work, he looked for guidance in the words and wisdom of Jesus.

His words and thoughts are accurate.  Applying his study to us he concluded, “Labor and struggle with the energy that comes from Jesus and be amazed at what he will do.”  Again, a good exhortation.

Contemplating his devotion it would meditational to think about things that exhaust us, or “burn us out” and give a little more thought to looking to the Lord for strength in those areas.

When a soul is exhausted because their sin or a guilty conscience has drained the heart, the re-strengthening comes only through Jesus who died for our sins and has redeemed each person to be God’s own.

If a person is exhausted because of physical, hard work, then physical rest in Christ Jesus should rejuvenate.

From experience, most exhaustion and burn-out has very little to do with being physically tired.  In my original contemplation fourteen areas of effort encouraged burn-out.  We will only look at five.

Exhausted by Crushed Expectations

Some exhaustion, burn-out, and weariness is due to crushed dreams and expectations.  We have ideas about how we want our lives to go and about how we would like others to take part in our expectations.  When many of our dreams, goals, expectations, wants and desires are broken or even crushed into the dirt, we might begin to be tempted to give up and be burned out.  When we are faced with our desires and dreams getting dashed to the rocks, go to the Lord …

  • Keep in mind that Satan will be taking part in ruining our expectations. Be strong in the Lord and do not allow that demon to guide or ruin your life.
  • Remember that we can set our ways, but it is the Lord who guides our path. He will always get us where he wants us to be (Proverbs 16:9).
  • As Paul reminds us in Romans 8:28, God uses all events for our good.
  • Sometimes God allows our plans to “come apart” because he has something else, something better in mind for us. Then when one plan is crushed, God opens the door to another area, a course correction.  When God changes our plans, that means he has something else in mind for us.
  • These four preceding points encourage us to trust. God loves us so much that he sent his son, he most certainly loves us so much to guide us and help us (Romans 8:31,32).
  • When our expectations become crushed, get Gospel strength from knowing that you can trust the LORD,. He does bless.

Drained because of Conflict

A second factor in our burn-out can be conflict and anger between us and others around us.  When we feel as if we are constantly wrestling with angry cats, that will wear us out.  Set aside that type of exhaustion or burn-out.

  • Realize that their sinful nature is working overtime in their anger and if you are angry your sinful nature is working hard to. Set aside your anger and by realizing that Jesus died for your sins and his or her sins too.
  • Be willing to forgive as Christ has forgiven you (Colossians 3:13). Forgiveness of others – even those who have never apologized to us – will free our spirit from exhaustion and burn-out.
  • The Lord values men and women of peace. While some people may think that anger gives them strength, our Lord was a man of peace and service.  We also want to be men and women of peace (Ephesians 4:3).
  • When faced with conflict obtain Gospel strength from the truth that we do not need to fear for the Lord is with us in all we do.

Burned Out by Personality Clashes

Burn-out can arise when personality clashes occur with our associates, even in church.  Too many fine Christians have become divided when they have allowed so called personality clashes to come between them.  Rather than getting burned out by clashes in personality – apply the strength and word of God.

  • As with any conflict, forgiveness heals many wounds, and erases many scars. Jesus reminds us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  The Spirit had Paul write (Colossians 3:13) that we are to forgive because Jesus has forgiven each of us a huge debt of sin.
  • Three of the “fruit of the spirit” (see Galatians 5:22,23) apply here – kindness, gentleness, and self-control. All three of those qualities are to be part of our Christian character.  To have a personality clash and allow that clash to co-exist with our Christian faith means to hide or ignore the kindness that the Lord wants us to have towards others, the gentleness that he wants us to have and the self-control we are to apply with everyone, especially fellow believers in Christ
  • Honesty requires us to realize 1) no one is perfect or sinless. “They” are not.  I am not.  2) Christ died for “them” (miserable sinners that “they” are) along with me (miserable sinner that I am.  3)  People have different personalities and “they” do not have to be exactly like me nor see “things” exactly like me.  4) While I have very good ideas, so do others.
  • Very importantly while dealing with personality clashes – have humility. Our Lord was humble and he wants his people to be humble (1 Peter 3:8).  The man or woman who refuses to acknowledge that people have differing ideas that may clash with their own, will add to the problem, not help it.
  • Be strengthened by knowing that in Jesus, we are part of the body of Christ with all those who are redeemed and loved by God.

Stressed out because of Feeling Used

For some burn out occurs because no matter how hard they are working no one appreciates them, no one acknowledges them, and no one thanks them.  Many a Christian has become burned-out because they feel as if others are taking advantage of them.  To top off the burn, those who are helped may not even acknowledge their effort.  Many people do not thank those who work hard in ministry.  Throw some water on this form of burn-out by remembering …

  • For whom are you laboring? We labor for the LORD.  While it is tremendous to be acknowledged and to have someone thank you for your ministry, it is still imperative that we remember for whom we act as Christians.  It is for Jesus that we act.  It is for God that we labor.  (see Colossians 3:23)
  • As God’s people we want to do what is right even if others do not see, even if they do not acknowledge.
  • Have the Gospel strength that you labor for the LORD, not for yourself or for others.

Exhausted by Over-booked Schedules

The last point for our meditation is burn-out from lives that are to cluttered and full.  This is a modern problem of Christians and non-Christians alike.

  • Go to the Lord in prayer and request his help to decide how to limit your schedule in a few ways. Then, act upon what you decide.
  • If your schedule is cluttered from too much ministry at church, remember that others also can serve and you are not the only Christian in the church.
  • If your schedule is full because you are unwilling to delegate, learn to trust and encourage others to get tasks done.
  • Honestly examine your schedule and make sure that in that schedule and through that schedule godly priorities are shown. Your schedule might be packed with many great things, but if the LORD is missing then part of your reason for burn-out is the lack of the Lord.  The Lord is using your feeling as a course correction so that you remember where your priorities are to be.
  • Our gospel strength comes from the blessing of the Lord when we have godly priorities in our schedules.

As the Lord reminds us …

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  (Hebrews 12:1).

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