So here’s the thing (confession time)…I am really exhausted! I am weary. Not physically, though sometimes I believe that is a byproduct, but emotionally, mentally and most of all, spiritually, exhausted.
The bible is clear of the battle that we as believers are engaged in. There’s no doubt that we are actively fighting in the spiritual sense, as the battle wages on between the powers of darkness and the kingdom of God. Thankfully, we are told in Scripture that the battle has been won. That Christ and his kingdom is and will reign victorious. Yet we live in this continued fight until Christ returns. Which, I don’t know about you, but I feel like it gets harder every day. At times the conflict between my spirit and my flesh, one redeemed by the blood of Christ, the other tainted daily by sin, is unbearable. We are at odds with Satan, who would have us live in a perpetual cycle of discontentment, unhappiness, and exhaustion, leading us to ineffective lives for the advancement of the Gospel and the glory of God.
However, the author of Hebrews says this, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
Ever considered that perspective on your struggles? On your exhaustion? While there is validity to our suffering, our weariness, we have to remember that it is evidence that we are counted worthy to suffer as Christ did. What better way to put on Christlikeness, than to battle as he did when he took on the weight of our sin and paid the penalty for it? I think the first step to walking in exhaustion, is to consider Christ. Not only does his sacrifice shed light on our own circumstances, but he is the answer. We come to him, which he tells us is where we find rest (Matthew 11:28). We come to him content with weakness because in it, his power is perfected (2 Corinthians 12:9). And who has suffered to the degree that he has, on our behalf? Talk about perspective.
The author of Hebrews goes on to talk about discipline, which is ultimately that which we are enduring. So we consider Christ and we consider our sanctification. We recognize that in the midst of the hardest trials, God is making us look more like Him. We are being transformed from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:17). And we get to share in his holiness (Hebrews 12:10) and partake in the glory that is to be revealed (1 Peter 5:1). Discipline is fruitful, suffering is fruitful, in the life of a Christian (Hebrews 12:11). It is for our good (Hebrews 12:10). I think the world would tell us the opposite. The world would hand us a menu of sympathies to lead us to self-pity and the justification of bitterness and laziness.
Actively Trust Jesus
After we have considered Christ and considered suffering as discipline and an integral part of our sanctification, we actively trust Jesus. Here is what the author tells us to do, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather healed” (Hebrews 12:12-13). This is the posture of trust, a posture that allows Christ to heal what is weak in us and empower us with all that we need for life and godliness. For him to do the work. He heals, and we walk.
Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” What it doesn’t say is, “Sit and wait. Go ahead and feel the weight of your circumstances, bear it. Let it paralyze you with exhaustion. Stay put. The heaviness is too much. Rest will come to you.” No, we seek rest, we seek it in Jesus (He is “the way, and the truth, and the life”, John 14:6) and we follow hard after and close to him.
What’s cool is that He often uses biblical community in which our brothers and sisters bear our burdens with us (Galatians 6:2, 9) that we might not become weary of doing good. What a clear picture of Christ, who bore God’s wrath for our sins on the cross.
Peter says that Christ “suffered once for sins” and as his beloved, we shouldn’t be surprised when we face trials. And not just any trials, but fiery trials (I think the exhausting kind definitely fit into this category!). But he ends with, “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” (1 Peter 4:19) We trust because the outcome of our souls is decided. We continue to do good, no matter the threat our circumstances, our suffering and our exhaustion may pose, knowing that our Creator is faithful.