Are you exhausted??? Have you ever come to a place where you were absolutely exhausted because of your service for God and for others? I have been there many times. How does it happen? How can we handle it? Where do we go with our exhaustion?
Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:9-10, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Paul makes it very clear that salvation does not come to me because of my efforts; salvation comes to me as a gift from God through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul tells us in Romans 10:9-10, "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." It is through repentance and belief that I am saved, not by any work or works of my own. Ever since I was thirteen years old, when I first repented of my sin and believed in Jesus with my heart, I have wanted to serve God. I remember reading the Word and praying with a fire in my heart. I wanted to know what God's Word meant for me. I remember reading His commands and asking the Holy Spirit to help me keep God's commands. I remember wanting to plug in to the local church and serve anyone in our community in any way I could. I was created in Christ Jesus to do works. However, over the years I have had to fight false doctrines and false beliefs that it was my works that saved me, that it was my works that made God love me more. I've had to fight false doctrines and false beliefs that it was my sin that made God love me less. The truth is simple: I am a sinner, and my sin separates me from God and His great love for me. I need a Savior. God loves me, so He sent Jesus to live and to die for me, for my sins. God's love for me is always true and always consistent. God's love for me is unconditional. God's grace is unending. There is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and there is nothing I can do to make God love me less. There have been times in my life when I did believe that my works, my service, were saving me or that my works, my serving, were earning me more of God's love and more of God's grace. It is an easy snare to fall into. Satan would love for us to believe this and live in exhaustion. However, I don't serve God FOR His presence in my life; I serve God BECAUSE of His presence in my life. I have found that those times when I have exhausted myself - physically, spiritually, relationally, and emotionally - it is because I have been more focused on trying to earn God's presence in my life rather than just accept God's presence in my life. In Mark 3, Jesus called the disciples up to the mountain "to be with Him" first, and then He equipped them to go out and serve in the kingdom. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus tells us what to do with our exhaustion, with our burdens - our exhaustion and burdens from trying to keep the commands and trying to do the works. Jesus says, "Come to me." Jesus says, "I will give you rest." I simply need to be with Jesus. I need to take His yoke upon my life. I need to believe in His work FOR my life and IN my life.
Are you exhausted??? Take a moment and stop doing work "for" Jesus and just "be with" Jesus. It will make all the difference in your life. Today, I am reminded that God chose me and appointed me to bear fruit, fruit that will glorify Him and last for eternity. God created me for good works. When I am exhausted, He will give me rest. He will refresh me. I believe this. I believe God. I believe God's Word.