We have all experienced physical burnout—those times when we are tired from our many activities or difficulties that assail us. Even more painful is spiritual burnout—the weariness believers can feel from the pressure of trying to obey God, attend church faithfully, and spend time in daily prayer and Scripture reading. Just contemplating everything we think we must do for success in the Christian life can be overwhelming! The trouble is that we become spiritually burned out if we rely on our own strength.
When we experience spiritual fatigue, it’s often because of a wrong view of our faith. We find ourselves keeping a mental checklist of dos and don’ts, striving to please God with religious activities. That’s not freedom. The Christian life isn’t some formula whereby we modify our behavior to gain the Lord’s approval. God reached down and reconciled us to Himself the moment we asked Him into our hearts, so we already have His approval. True spiritual maturity involves a growing awareness that nothing we can do—no change in conduct or attempt to live up to regulations—will make us acceptable. Rather, we give up our inability and weakness, and instead live by faith. Then God’s omnipotence can carry us through life.
Think of God’s power as a river coursing through hilly terrain. We can hike, puffing and sweating, along the footpath, or we can simply ease into the water. We won’t have to expend energy because the power of the current will carry us all the way to our destination.