I was exhausted, confused, frightened and totally clueless.
I had been born again in 1970. I was 16 years old at that time and for the first three years of my Christian life I did everything that I was taught: I went to church, read the Bible every day, prayed every day, fasted every week, witnessed to my friends… basically everything I was instructed to do to enhance my spiritual growth.
After three years I ran out of strength. I was very confused. What was I doing wrong? I was following everything that I was taught. I had been promised that I would have an abundant life1 but what I really had was spiritual exhaustion.
This seems to be the experience of just about everyone who sincerely wants to be a good Christian those who really want to please God, those who strive to live in holiness and make the Father happy. Those that don’t have a sincere desire to live the Christian life to its fullest don’t suffer from this problem of weariness. They have other problems, serious ones.
I could only see two options. One option was to conclude that Christianity was not the truth. This was a legitimate option, but I had one huge problem; the Lord had healed me of several injuries that I had suffered when a train ran into my car. One evening, even before giving my life to Him, God healed me of a bruised kidney and bruised ribs that I had received in the accident with the train. I checked out the healing. I no longer urinated blood and I could breathe deeply without pain. God was real and He had healed me in a Christian church.
The other option was to conclude that I was not living the Christian life in the manner it should be lived. It seemed like my only option left, but I was perplexed. I had carried out everything that I had been taught in church and I had ended up without the strength to continue. What was going on with me?
One day as I read the Bible, I stumbled across a verse that helped me see my problem: “For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”2
God produces the desire (“to will”) and the ability to fulfill (“to do”) that desire. But how?
I received further understanding from a verse I had memorized in Sunday school: “I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”3
This life that I now live I live by faith in the Son of God. Or as another verse says, “faith which works by love.”4
I had been “doing” the Christian life by my own efforts and of course I ended up exhausted. But, if I enter into the rest of God (Hebrews 3 & 4) “he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”5 The answer was to live by the faith “of” (not “in”) the Son of God. Let Him carry me. That way I would have renewed strength, would mount up on wings of an eagle, would run and not get weary and would walk and not faint.
My experience as a Christian has shown me that it gets easier every year to live the Christian life. On the other hand, trying to live the Christian life by your own effort gets harder every year. We get just a bit more weary every year.
Now I still pray every day. I read the Bible every day. I fast every week, etc. The difference is that now He guides me in His paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.6
1-John 10;10 2-Philippians 2:13 3-Galatians 2:20 4-Galatians 5:6 5-Hebrews 4:10 6-Psalms 23:3