by Ron Moore
The Christian life is an exciting journey! Life with Christ transforms our hearts from the inside out and fills us with significance. But even though God provides us with spiritual blessings, life experiences can drag us down. We know that God can be trusted, that His timing is perfect and that somehow He weaves all things together for our benefit.
But—in the battle, in real time—we become spiritually fatigued, worn down by resisting temptation, exhausted from dealing with difficult people, weary from the emotion of disappointment, tired of waiting. We become worn out by obedience.
The title Worn Out by Obedience may seem contradictory. If obeying Christ is the only way to run the Christian race, and if God ultimately blesses obedience, then you might be wondering, “How can one be worn down by the very thing that God rewards?” Although obedience is always the right path to take, that doesn’t mean it is the easiest path to take. Easy doesn’t always mean right. Right doesn’t always mean easy. A life of obedience involves discipline, training, and maneuvering obstacles. Even Jesus faced these challenges during His ministry on earth.
The writer of Hebrews wrote that “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (Heb. 5:7–8). This may not be a popular message, but there is no way around it. Obedience, even for Jesus, was hard. Certainly it will be hard for us.
Spiritual fatigue is not a character flaw or a condition reserved for the immature or weak Christian. There are stretches of the journey—sometimes long, sometimes short—where we feel like we are just going through the motions, disconnected, distanced, stalled. We have not walked away from Jesus; we’re just not moving forward with Him. Greg Hawkins and Sally Parkinson conducted extensive research (more than a quarter of a million people in one thousand churches) to determine the spiritual process in the lives of believers. They discovered that believers are found in one of three stages—“Growing in Christ,” “Close to Christ,” or “Christ-Centered.” Their research also revealed that regardless of which stage believers were in, 92 percent of those surveyed had been stalled at some point in their spiritual journey. Most every believer experiences times of soul weariness. This is an issue we need to be aware of and prepared for. The stalled state leaves a believer vulnerable.
This book is written for followers of Jesus who have grown weary, exhausted from the continued effort to do what’s right. I want to address the times when the battle becomes exhausting, when our love for God grows cold, when our passion for Christ has dwindled to smoldering embers.
We will learn that weary stretches are unavoidable . . . but we don’t have to remain there.
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