Spiritual Weariness and Exhaustion are not Age Related! (Python Series, Part 2 of4)
He shall speak great words against the most High, and shall WEAR OUT THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time (Daniel 7:25 KJV - emphasis added).
In the last truth for the journey about "Divination and The Python Spirit," we opened with Acts 16 where it says, "As we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination... Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" (Acts 16:16-18 AMP)
Notice how Paul and the company were on their way - to a "place of prayer." The devil always wants to divert us from praying! Evidently this did not stop Paul, but we know it "annoyed and wore him out!" No matter how long we've been doing this, or how mature we are, sometimes the spiritual manifestations are so loud, tormenting and relentless [when we least need it] that weariness sets in.
Nonetheless Isaiah comforts us by saying, "Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted" (Isaiah 40:30 AMP). Evidently then, spiritual weariness is not an age related phenomena! Exhaustion is not always physical it can be spiritual. Something that comes on us like a thick cloak, that oppresses us, our minds and our bodies. In fact I'd say that many people are spiritually exhausted and don't even know it. They feel bad about themselves, when all they need to do - is take authority and get out from under it. [In Christ we are above - not - beneath, see Ephesians 2:6].
Young men in their prime can feel like old men, when spiritual weariness comes upon them. I knew of a young man in his mid-twenties, who went through a very painful divorce. He was a young pastor and so the surrounding circumstances were very difficult. This young pastor did not want a divorce from his wife and tried for several years to prevent the divorce from happening, to no avail. During which time, (having two very young children) this man found it hard just getting out of bed; his body ached all over like an old man's - just from stress. And only after receiving a timely word from his spiritual father (a word of knowledge that profoundly encouraged him), did he begin to recover. His body felt young again, all the aches and pains went away. I'm telling you folks... this was spiritual.
I can also affirm, that this kind of experience has happened to me, on more than one occasion. It comes on you so subtly, that you don't even notice at first. You assume its just age related. In fact when you're so distracted by the trouble you're in, you take no thought for yourself, until you can barely stand! Even sleep offers little reprieve, because you feel the same when you wake up! Once you finally realise you're under attack, you've already "annoyed and worn out." [As ministers we're so busy "doing ministry" that we forget to minister to ourselves].
Can you relate with this? Have you ever experienced something like this? You'll know it's not merely physical, when after you pray, the exhaustion leaves as quickly as it came. [That's when you know it was totally spiritual]. Many people have told me their experiences, so I know this is not rare. Stress and unresolved trauma can wreak havoc and has been linked to illnesses such as fibromyalgia. [But this is another topic for another time!] Sadly unresolved trauma causes much needless suffering.
However in the book of Galatians 6:9 it warns: "Let us not become weary..." (NIV). In other translations it reads: "Let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint... (AMP). "Let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued...give up, or quit" (MSG).
SO what does it mean to be Weary?
The Greek definition for weariness: "to be utterly spiritless, to be wearied out, exhausted" (Strong's G1573). [Exhaustion comes from the Latin word exhaurire 'drain out']. The english definition for weary: "lacking strength, energy, or freshness because of a need for rest or sleep; annoyed by something... done many times ["many days"]or for a long time; causing you to feel tired" (Merriam-Webster). "Utterly spiritless and exhausted"adequately describes the young man suffering emotional and physical exhaustion. But it was a spiritual attack on his life and ministry.
Comes from the Latin word exhaurire 'drain out.' Therefore exhaustion means: a state of extreme physical or mental tiredness and the action of using something up or the state of being used up. Exhaustion involves over-tiredness, fatigue, weariness, lack of energy, and faintness. It also involves depletion, using up, expenditure; draining, emptying, sapping. The antonym of exhaustion [opposite meaning]: vigour and replenishment.
Let's recognise that worn-out saints pose no threat! All the time we remain full of vigour and strength on the other hand, we pose a very real threat to our enemy. But how do we achieve this? Isaiah tells us how, in chapter 40:31, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall... not be weary... and not faint" (KJV).
It intrigues me that just "waiting on the Lord" has the ability to "renew our strength" which in turn helps us avoid "weariness." This is a common sense matter to me. We must learn the art of "waiting." And according to the original language (Hebrew) waiting means: to look for, hope for, to expect, to look eagerly for, to lie in wait for, to linger for, to be collect/ed and bound together (Strong's H6960).
For me, these definitions could preach by themselves! And I could preach - an hour on each one - but space won't allow! The ones that stand out the most are: "lying in wait" and"lingering for." I like also the idea of being "bound together" with the Lord through the process of "lingering." [Reminds me of the Hebrew word selah meaning: pause and calmly think of that!] Being "collected" talks of composure. Paul displayed awesome composure, when for "many days" and did not act rashly.
All in all, waiting on the Lord, does not give us the picture of rash behaviour. But that of calm, collected, composed and thoughtful. Many years of ministry have taught me the lessons of acting rashly! People, who, on the other hand, wait patiently for God's instruction, are never the types who live from knee-jerk-reaction to another! In fact people who are mature in the things of the Spirit, who have learnt to be led [under years of pressure] by the Holy Spirit - are some of the most composed people you'll ever meet.
And no one has ever displayed as much cool-factor as Jesus! "They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. Then he went down to Capernaum ...he taught the people" (Luke 4:29-31 NIV). Unmoved and undeterred Jesus went on his way - with a business as usual attitude - to teach the people. The Wycliffe Bible even says, "Soothly Jesus passing went through the middle of them." I admire His sheer demeanour...!
Realizing how Normal You Are!
So going back to Paul being tormented for "many days," just think about it - what we're willing to tolerate for just a few days, would totally bug us after "many days." And it's for this reason the devil is persistent. He knows it's just a matter of time! [No matter how spiritually mature we are!] And hearing how "annoyed and worn out" Paul was, makes us realise just how normal we are. If he struggled to stay composed, how surely will we be tested?
However there's something I don't want us to miss here. I believe, that there are times when certain things should be ignored (even Jesus ignored the devil at times!) Paul had a mission and would not allow himself to be distracted. Sometimes (not all the time) it can be more strategic ignoring the devil, than giving him too much of our attention.
Too much attention given to the wrong things, at the wrong time, just makes them worse. We must rely on the Holy Spirit. Without His leading, we've no business provoking and chasing devils. The fact that God chose to bless us in the presence of our enemies means they get to see how blessed we are! The idea is that we're fixated on God, no one else!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over (Psalm 23:5 KJV). You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing (MSG).
Fixated on God
Jesus never asked for us (disciples) to be rescued but protected - there's a difference: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. (John 17:15 KJV). Some people are so fixated on the wrong things, they actually end up talking to devils more than they talk to God! I know this!
Paul ignored Python - he didn't breath too much oxygen in it's direction - until the Holy Spirit instructed him to act. Lets take note. On the other hand, perhaps the Holy Spirit waited until the audience was so vast, for greater impact! The divine strategist: "When the enemy comes in like a flood the spirit of the Lord raises the standard against him." Perhaps the Holy Spirit was orchestrating this whole event? To get as much attention on Christ's power to deliver - as possible.
So striking the balance between knowing when to act and when to ignore - is important. Yet always keep the main thing the main thing: "You will guard him and keep him in perfectand constant peace whose mind... is STAYED ON YOU" (Isaiah 26:3 AMP).
Finally, we never witness Paul repenting for being "annoyed and worn out" or for over-reacting to the situation! But we do know that the spirit of divination [python] was out to destroy Paul and discredit his whole apostolic company. We can learn a lot from this. To guard ourselves from weariness at all costs because any diabolical spirit will have measured success against us - when we are worn out. If the devil can't stop the apostolic ministry he'll certainly try to delay it, by drawing negative attention to it and trying to discredit it.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father God, I want to remain fixated on You. I want to get my strength from You every day. I want to learn how to wait on You like Jesus did - Who was utterly calm, cool and collected! I want to remain full of vital energy so that I'm not so easily distracted. I want to be led of Your Holy Spirit, especially when the circumstances pressure me on all sides. I want a mind that's stayed on You and I want to avoid weariness. Father help me today - in Jesus Mighty Name. Amen
CONFESSION OF THE DAY
I am hidden with Christ in God and I live in the same cool composure as He did. I am led of the Holy Spirit, especially when times get tough. I am not easily distracted and wearied. I live my life, waiting upon the Lord. Jesus is my perfect example. He is my Apostle and High Priest. In Him I lack nothing.