Seed Thoughts – From FireSeeds Winter 2001
Posted on Feb 5, 2014 in From Our Founder
In our last issue of FireSeeds, I compared our Christian life to a field and track race for a gold medal. Because the Christian life is more like amarathon than a 100-yard dash, the wise spiritual athlete is one who knows how to look ahead, to anticipate the places where fatigue the loss of spiritual passion is likely to set in, and to pace himself accordingly so that he will not become disqualified. If we don’t use wisdom in running the race, we will end up “running on empty.”
A variety of conditions can sap our spiritual vitality. By nature I am driven by an internal vision and conviction of what can or ought to be. Because of this, I have a tendency to light both ends of the candle in pursuit of that vision. It is easy for me to ignore the early warning signs of fatigue, to assume that I can go on indefinitely without adequate rest and regular attention to my own needs. But such unbridled and excess expenditure of inner resources makes a person susceptible to the kind of spiritual hangover that Elijah experienced after the great spiritual triumph at Mount Carmel. In the aftermath of a major campaign, our view of reality sometimes becomes distorted. Instead of capitalizing on the spiritual momentum of a mountain top experience and using it to sustain us in the valley of decisions and conflicts, we may find ourselves singing the blues under the broom tree.
Another reason we experience a loss of spiritual passion is by failing to refill our own spiritual tanks on a regular basis. Like a car that is not properly maintained, sooner or later our lives will begin to sputter, leaving us stranded unexpectedly on the freeway of life, while those who are following us are snarled by the traffic jam we have created. In this state of spiritual dehydration, we are also susceptible to bad choices and erratic performance. This, too, is a formula for disaster.
Then there is the weariness of utter defeat: the bitter taste of failure, the pain of betrayal, of promises made and then broken, and the experiences of disappointments and dashing of all hope. These negative circumstances of life can shred our spiritual motivation to pieces. We feel like giving up, and we conclude that our goals and our vision are unrealistic and unobtainable. Like the despondent Peter, who declared after Jesus was crucified that he was going back fishing, we are tempted to return to what we used to do best. In this frame of mind, we are easily intimidated, allowing our view of people, institutions, and circumstances to loom larger than life. We forget that He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world, that it is not by power or by might but by His Spirit, that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
For those who are truly Christ followers, living without spiritual passion is intolerable. If we find ourselves in this condition, we can withdraw immediately into the sanctuary of His presence. Set aside regular times to spend in quietness before God. Allow Him to minister to you, even as the Risen Christ prepared breakfast for Peter by the seashore and God sent ravens to minister to Elijah in the desert near Beersheba after his flight from Jezebel.
Withdrawal is merely escapism unless we come into His presence and wait upon Him. But if we do, we shall discover once again that He gives strength to the weary. And to him who lacks might, He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like the eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary (Isaiah 40:29—31).
The passion for Christ and the gospel will be restored.
Dr. Yang Chen