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Burning The Wick Without The Oil

Burning The Wick Without The Oil
Why We Burn Out as Christians

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

I think one of the greatest temptations from the enemy within our lives as Christian believers is to say, "No more!"  It is those times where we burn out and have nothing left to give-we are tired and in need of rest and we want to go find some place to hide.  Ever feel this way?  I am sure you have and will again at some point.  Truth be told, we all do.  But why does this happen, and what can we do when it happens, or better yet, how can we prevent it?  Well, I thought we would address these questions.

Q:    Why do we burn out in our Christian walk?

I think there are many different specific reasons for burning out in our Christian walk, but I believe all these reasons come down to a couple of common denominators.  Let's look at the first one.

1.    We burn out in our Christian walk when we take our eyes off of God.

This is one of the main reasons we get tired in our walk and we become tempted to check out from serving or helping others in ministry, or any other area of life for that matter.  

The problem occurs when we put our eyes on either the work to be done, or the people we are serving.  There are times when we look at all the work to be done and we can become discouraged and believe that we cannot begin to make a dent in what is needed.  Instead of digging in and doing something, our discouragement causes us to take our eyes off of God and His unlimited power and resources. Another reason we can become discouraged is we put our eyes on others.  Let's face it, people can cause us to stumble when they do hurtful things to us or are unappreciative.  The problem is we have taken our eyes off of God and forgotten whom it is we are doing this for.  We must always do everything as if unto God and not man (See Col. 3:17, 23).

We should always remember, God doesn't need our help; He is quite capable of doing everything Himself.  He chooses to allow us to be a part of ministry and to be blessed in helping others. And it just might be that God may not want us doing everything we have chosen to do.  He may have other plans for us but we have not asked Him.  Instead, we load up another rock on our wagon and soon find ourself moaning about how heavy our wagon load is. Another reason for burning out in our Christian walk is:

2.    We burn out because we attempt to do things in our own abilities, power, and resources.

This one seems so simple, but it is one of the key reasons why so many Christians pull up their spiritual tent stakes at a church and walk out the back door. Again, we see so many things needing to be done and we decide to roll up the shirtsleeves - we dig in and begin to work, work, work, until Bam! - We are burned out!  Simply put we have run out of fuel.  

We can get so involved in ministry; we stop taking the time to be fed ourselves.  We need to have our own quiet time in prayer and in the reading of God's Word.   It is imperative we spend time with God, praising Him, seeking His will, and being refueled with His empowerment to do the things needing to be done.

Q:    What is the fuel of the Christian life?

It is God - more specifically, The Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the Oil which fuels the flame within us - the flame providing God's light. Throughout Scripture we see The Holy Spirit is synonymous with oil.  We see the Holy Spirit's sanctifying power when Moses anointed Aaron (Ex. 30:23-35).  The act of anointing with oil indicated the bestowal of authorization through the Holy Spirit.

In much the same way the oil fuels the flame of the lantern, the Holy Spirit fuels us. A cotton wick within a lantern appears to be the source of the light when it is burning, but it is the oil within the wick actually burning.  If the wick were not to be submerged in the oil then the oil would not be drawn up, and the wick would soon be the source of fuel and flame.  Using this illustration we can say, we are the wicks and the Holy Spirit is the oil.

Q:    So what do we do when we find ourself burned out, or better yet, how can we prevent it?

The answer to both of these questions is we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit each and every day. We (The Wick) must also be immersed in, and filled with oil (Holy Spirit) to continue to burn bright and not burn out.  We see this in Ephesians 5:18.

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 (NKJV)

We need to seek God each morning and ask for His fresh filling of the Spirit and then seek God for wisdom on which projects we are to be involved in and which we are to pass on.  If we are faithful to follow this practice we can be assured it will always be God's Holy Spirit empowering us to serve.  Hey Christian, its not wrong to desire to help, but we need to remember this, apart from God we can do nothing (John 15:5), and anything that is good is always from Him anyway (Rom. 7:18; James 1:17).

STUDY QUESTION: According to Ephesians 5:18, what are we commanded to do?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you asking God to renew you by filling you up with His Spirit daily?

APPLICATION: Seek the Lord each morning and ask for a fresh filling of His Spirit.  Now ask Him what it is He would have you do this day.  Ask for Wisdom and discernment and a peace in making correct choices.  

Father, thank You for Your Holy Spirit within me.  Fill me today with a fresh filling of Your Spirit and empower me to do all that You have called me to do.  Father, I ask for Your wisdom and discernment to make the proper choices today.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000