Do you ever feel burned out in caring for others? It’s true that Jesus said it’s more blessed to give than to receive, but if all you ever do is give without refreshing your spirit, you’ll quickly dry up and burn out.
So how does a believer stay refreshed and fed? Just like your body needs food and drink every day, your spirit needs the Word and the Holy Spirit every day. All your strength to help others depends on you nourishing your own spirit first.
The Word, Our food.
Jesus is called the Living Word, and also the Bread of Life. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus says “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” His Word literally feeds us, but it’s up to us to read it and meditate on it. Some people get confused when reading the Bible. If you’ve committed your life to Christ, God will illuminate his Word to you. If you’re still getting confused by it, try praying before you read. Remember, you’re not reading the Word with the same mindset as you would read the news or a novel. It’s not an exercise for your brain, but a way for your spirit to commune with Jesus Himself. Even if your brain is distracted or confused, your spirit will receive nourishment the moment a scripture jumps off the page at you. When you realize a particular verse is hitting you right between the eyes, it’s called a “rhema” or God-breathed Word. It’s a living Word, Jesus, coming alive in your situation right now. This is the bread Jesus was talking about. Eat this bread by meditating on that special verse. Think how you will apply it in your life. Say it over and over. A habit of eating this Bread of Life will cause growth and endurance so you’ll never burn out.
Are you a new believer? Not only is the Word of God our bread, but it can take the form of milk to nourish your newborn spirit. 1 Peter 2:2 tells us to stir up our desire for this pure milk as newborn babies so we can grow.
The Spirit, Our drink
To stay strong, we eat every day. We also drink. The fountain of living water is the Holy Spirit. In John 7, Jesus says, “Whoever believes in me, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.” He was speaking of the Holy Spirit that would be poured out on His disciples after the resurrection.” Those rivers are a continual flow that provide enough life-giving water for yourself AND others. In Luke 6:45, “A good man brings forth good things out of the good treasure in his heart . . . for from an overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” It’s out of that overflowing cup that we minister to others the good treasures He gives us. Once we choose to stay filled, the supply seems to spill over almost involuntarily.
It helps to think of ourselves like a pipeline. When we are directly connected to the source, we widen our flow from God. And, as we widen our flow from God, we are better able to provide a continuous outpouring to others—without running dry!
Ephesians 5:18 instructs us not to be drunk with wine, but to be filled with the Spirit. “Be filled” can also be translated, “be continually and habitually filled.” The spiritual filling is not something that happens once, but on a continual basis like breathing. The scripture goes on to describe this process. It involves “singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord, giving thanks and submitting to one another in the fear of the Lord.” Someone who enters into this joyous lifestyle will have no need for wine. Wine is a cheap substitute for the joy and fullness that come from the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, Helper, Strengthener, Teacher, Helper, Advocate, and our Standby. There’s nothing we can’t do when we are filled with and controlled by Him. And though Jesus says the Holy Spirit lives IN us, we must choose to acknowledge and access Him to see the maximum benefit. The simplest way to do this is to praying in other tongues instead of worrying and doubting. Jude 20 says that praying in the Holy Spirit builds us up in our most holy faith.
Support from Other Believers
The more time we spend around fellow believers, the more their strength and stories inspire us. We also receive chances to encourage others and grow in our gifts. Together we are the Body of Christ. Partake of the communion of the saints by having common union with the people of God, his local church.
So stay refreshed in the Word and Spirit, and stay in close fellowship with other believers. Join with Psalm 23 and say, “He anointeth my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Live the abundant life God intended; then let His blessings splash those around you.