Burnout can happen to any of us. It can happen in a moment, after pushing ourselves beyond our limits and not allowing ourselves time to rest. There are leaders around the world in every vocation who were rising stars, but then burned out. Some disappear for long seasons but return wiser and smarter, while others will never be seen or heard from again.
Within the Christian church world, burnout happens far too often. But we have built a culture that relies on the "man (or woman) of God." The demands we place on them are too much for any one person to handle, but the leader keeps pushing. To meet the needs, they start cutting corners.
The anointing may be evident, but preaching and applying scriptural truth starts slipping in their lives. Their daily time with God is substituted to meet the needs of others, when everything inside them dies. Due to not spending enough time recharging on the Word of God, they can fall into error and do more damage to the kingdom of God.
1 Kings 18 and 19 give us insight on when the anointing lifts. Elijah was a prophet of God who burned out. He proved that Yahweh was the One True God and that Baal was a false god. God had answered Elijah's prayer by sending fire on the sacrifice. An astonished populace repented as they witnessed what God did on Mount Carmel. This was one of the most profound power encounters recorded in the Bible.
The anointing had lifted, and Elijah found himself emptied. His flesh was tired. And then Queen Jezebel threatened him. Instead of stopping to rest in the victory God provided, Elijah ran away in terror when he received the queen's message. Instead of relying on the Word and shrugging off her words, he went into hiding wanting to die.
We need to learn from Elijah's story and set boundaries in place in our ministries after the anointing lifts. It is exciting to minister under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, bringing glory to Jesus. To see lives changed and transformed; healings, deliverance and prophetic words speak destiny to precious people. But even when we are operating under the anointing, our endorphins are activated as well. And if we keep pushing ourselves, not taking time to rest adrenal fatigue can set in.
After we have poured ourselves out, we need to be filled up again. We will be no good to anyone if we are drained. Our personal spiritual batteries need to be recharged
- Rest in Jesus while taking necessary time for your body to recuperate. Jesus is our Sabbath, and we need to rest in Him (Heb. 4:9-11). My favorite way to rest in Jesus is to spend time with Him and my family at the beach with little to no agenda.
- Ask the Spirit of God to fill you up again. Ephesians 5:18 says, "Do not be drunk with wine, for that is reckless living. But be filled with the Spirit." This filling is a command to obey and an incredible blessing.
- Meditate on Scripture. Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things." Maintain your memorization, study and application of Scripture.
- Work on new teaching content so that you bring a fresh word to the next place you will minister at. Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." It will never fail you and will guide you into treasures of truth to share with others.
- Return to your ministry in the power of the Spirit and don't do it alone. Have an apprentice in place who can help you and carry on your ministry. 2 Timothy 2:2 says, "Share the things that you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses with faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
After the anointing lifts and you apply these truths to your life, once you are filled up again, you are to pour out what God has given you. You are to burn bright for the gospel, not burn out. Operating under His anointing is a great responsibility and is not to be taken lightly. And it is for His glory and fame, in Jesus' name.
Jared Laskey is starting Destiny Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and is a contributing writer to Charisma magazine online, Hello Christian, God TV and Message of the Open Bible Magazine. He lives to see Jesus awaken this generation to the power of His Holy Spirit. You can follow him on Twitter @jaredalaskey. For more information and for booking, go to Fireborn Ministries
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