WHEN YOU’RE SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED…
Have you ever felt like you have no energy left? You feel physically drained and spiritually empty. Well, you’re not alone. Many Christians experience or feel this way from time to time. Of course, some more than others and some for longer periods than others. But it is not uncommon.
But thankfully the good news is that you and I don’t have to live a life empty. We can be spiritually refueled, reignited, and re-energized. We can be filled with the life and power that God offers. You don’t have to run on empty.
The apostle Paul exposes us to this idea of being filled. In Ephesians 3:19 he says this: “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you’ll never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
I love that verse. I love that I can be filled with God even though it says I won’t fully understand it. That can be confusing at first because it says how can something fill you up that you don’t fully understand? It doesn’t make sense, right? How can it fill me up and I don’t understand?
A lot of things fill us up that we don’t understand. I don’t fully understand how a TV works, but I can sit in my favorite place, grab the little plastic man-toy, push the button and all of a sudden people appear that entertain me that fill me up with inspiration, laughter, or suspense. Athletes and geckos and cavemen selling insurance and even Jack Bauer. And I love it! But I don’t fully, fully get it.
My prayer is that this may become one of your life verses. Why? Because there is so much depth in these few words. “We can be filled with the fullness of life and power.” Life and power that doesn’t come from an infomercial. Doesn’t come from a self-help product. Where does it come from? Life and power come from God. And here’s the kicker, it’s available to me. Me! Ronald Terry Corzine. Me! Prone to sin me. Selfish me! Balding me! It is available to me!
It’s available to you too. The fullness that you want, is totally available to you too. But it’s not what you think it is. I promise you, it’s not what you think it is.
You know where all this doing rather than being pressure comes from that you feel. “I’ve got to do more to be refueled.” Do you know where it comes from? People like me! Sorry! Well-intended, good-hearted pastors and teachers, and writers. Because really what we’re doing is we’re just teaching what we were taught. I want to apologize for being this kind of preacher. I assure you this kind of teaching and preaching is now a part of my past.
The reason I know that refueling or being filled with life and power is not what you think it is, is because I have had hundreds, if not thousands, of conversations throughout my ministry with people who when they describe their spiritual life, they’ll explain their emptiness. Then I will ask a question. “What do you think needs to happen?” Fair question.
I want you to hear it. I’m not asking them, what do you think you need to DO? What do you think needs to happen? But people one hundred percent of the time respond with things they need to do.
For example, I’m not where I want to be with God. I’m empty right now. I know what I need to do. I need to read the Bible more. If I get up an hour earlier in the morning and I could read the Bible and I could pray and write down all my prayer requests in a prayer journal and I could reflect on them and meditate on them. I could write Bible memory verses on three-by-five cards. I could stick them on my mirror or my refrigerator so that I see them every morning. Then if I did all of that stuff, I would be refueled.
Friends, can I let you know that this is a recipe for failure? Rachel Ray or Paula Deen couldn’t have cooked up a better one than that.
Where does this idea come from that we get reenergized or refueled by all that we do? Where does this duty, do, do, do stuff come from?
Not from Jesus. There is no checklist in the Bible unless you put one there yourself.
I want to challenge you to stop thinking you are a failure. Failure leads to guilt. And guilt leads to withdrawal. And withdrawal leads to disconnect and emptiness. It’s the opposite of being refueled. So please stop thinking you are a failure because of all the things you didn’t or don't DO that someone said was a must for you to be well pleasing to the Lord.
Let me try to move this into a picture so you can see graphically what I’m thinking. This invitational side over here versus a performance side over there.
Let me wrap this article up with Matthew 11:29-30 from the Message Bible (a beautiful paraphrase).
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
What a great invitation. (Come, Have a seat, relax, rest, enjoy). When it comes to enjoying a meal, I have this picture that is comforting and inviting. One where I want to be. Some nice lighting, and some comfortable places to sit. I could see connecting there with friends and having a meal and talking and laughing. If it gets deep, crying, opening up, connecting. That seems comfortable and inviting to me.
What Jesus is saying, Come to me… Be with me… Follow me… My burden is light… that is an invitation to connect. Refueling happens when you and I connect with God.
So the good news is you and I don’t have to live life on empty. We can be spiritually refueled, reignited, and re-energized. We can be filled with the life and power that God offers. You don’t have to run on empty.