Roads That Lead to Christian Burnout, Part 3

Wrong Road #3—Malnourishment

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

by Debi Pryde

The third road to burnout is one without restaurants, without warmly furnished kitchens and dining rooms, and without refreshing drinking fountains available to its travelers. The traveler finds only fast-food restaurants, leftovers, and prepackaged food available on this route. Such food can keep one alive but never impart health or cause a weary traveler pryde_trees.jpgto thrive with energy. A steady diet of it quickly eroded one’s health and lead to all kinds of weakness and limitation. Christian workers commit a grave error if they believe they can stay spiritually alive and enthusiastic by feasting on books, sermons, seminars, and radio broadcasts while neglecting personal Bible study. Reading Our Daily Bread has never been a substitute for coming to the Bread of Life for daily spiritual nourishment.

Jesus defeated Satan’s temptations only by countering them with truth from the Word. He tells us repeatedly that we cannot survive on physical food alone but “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Job learned this lesson and declared that he “esteemed the … [Word of God] more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). Jeremiah tells us, “Thy [God’s] words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jer. 15:16). Find a true servant of God who successfully withstood trials and hardship, and you will find a servant of God who gave the highest priority to personal study of the Word. Though these saints sometimes experienced discouragement, they always came to the Word for renewal and strength—and always found it. The Psalms are literally filled with testimonies of God’s faithfulness in giving needed strength and comfort when the psalmist sought the Lord and depended on the promises in His Word.

A Christian worker has nothing to give those in need unless he first goes to the Father and asks for bread so he can give it to others. The reason many Christian workers come to the place where they feel spiritually depleted and exhausted with giving is because they try to give from what they have rather than from what they receive from God day by day. In Luke 11, Christ told a story about a man whose friend came at midnight to stay with him. Having nothing to feed his visitor, the man went to another friend and asked him for loaves of bread. The friend gave what he had. Jesus concluded the story by comparing physical bread to our need for spiritual bread in order to have bread for others. He asked, “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:3-11-13)

Burnout is an expression we associate with a sense of weariness, a lack of available strength or energy. It is interesting that Jesus reminds us that it is His Spirit who energizes us and provides the inertia we need to do His work. He enables us, sustains us, and motivates us to do His will. Many wonder what means He uses to do this. We are told in John 6:63 that God’s Word is that energizing force, and our human efforts are of no value. “It is the spirit that quickeneth [energizes]; the flesh [human efforts alone] profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” When Christian workers are weakened through neglect of the Word, their faith wavers, and they become prime targets for an all-out attack by Satan. Our faith shields us from the enemy, and our source of faith is the Word of God. “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Eph. 6:16). “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17)

When the storms of life come—and they will come—the Christian who withstands them is the Christian whose life’s foundation is the Lord Jesus Christ. In everyday applicable language, this concept refers to one who builds his life on the rock of Christ by hearing and doing those things that are written in God’s Word. We see this truth in the familiar story of the wise and foolish man, one who built his house, his life, on the sand and one who built on the rock. Jesus tells us, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Matt. 7:24-25).

debi.jpgDebi Pryde has taught ladies’ Bible classes and spoken at retreats and seminars for the past 30 years. A certified biblical counselor, she is particularly burdened for women and for the problems they face in today’s world. She has published a variety of Bible studies and books, including Secrets of a Happy Heart, Happily Married, and Precept Upon Precept. She and her husband, Tom, are active members at Lighthouse Baptist Church (La Verne, CA). You can read more about Debi, about her ministry, and about her rose garden by visiting her website.
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