Regaining Power, Not Tiring Out
“He is giving to the tired one power; and to the one without dynamic energy he makes full might abound.”—ISAIAH 40:29.
1, 2. How would you illustrate what Christians have in common with marathon runners?
ON AN October morning in 1984, a human sea of some 16,000 contestants surged into the streets for the beginning of the New York City Marathon. The finish line was some 26.2 miles (42.2 km) away. That unseasonably warm autumn day carried with it stifling heat and high humidity that sapped the runners’ energy and tested their endurance. The race became an exhausting struggle for even the best of the athletes. Many runners tired out and dropped from the race; nearly 2,000 did not finish. Those who did had overcome very difficult conditions.
2 Christians, too, are in a race. The prize? Everlasting life. And similar to the marathon runner, they must struggle right to the finish. Endurance is needed. Power must be maintained and fatigue avoided. Our race for life is not like a short sprint but, rather, like a long-distance run. Paul said to his fellow Christians in Corinth: “Do you not know that the runners in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may attain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24) The way Christians run is with vigorous exertion.—Luke 13:24.
3. How only can Christians keep a vigorous pace until they finish the race?
3 But you may wonder: ‘Who can keep up that pace to finish the race?’ None of us can in our own strength. To gain the prize, we must tap the very Source of dynamic energy, Jehovah God.—Job 36:22; Psalm 108:13.
Jehovah—The Source of Dynamic Energy
4. According to the prophet Isaiah, why can we have confidence in Jehovah’s ability to sustain his servants?
4 Jehovah unquestionably can sustain his servants. By the mouth of his prophet Isaiah, the Almighty spoke of the limitlessness of His abilities and the incomparableness of His powerful works. “Raise your eyes high up and see,” He said. “Who has created these things? It is the One who is bringing forth the army of them even by number, all of whom he calls even by name. Due to the abundance of dynamic energy, he also being vigorous in power, not one of them is missing. . . . Have you not come to know or have you not heard? Jehovah, the Creator of the extremities of the earth, is a God to time indefinite. He does not tire out or grow weary. There is no searching out of his understanding.”—Isaiah 40:26-28.
5, 6. Give examples of the evidence of Jehovah’s dynamic energy.
5 From the finite to the infinite, the display of Jehovah’s creative power is awesome! For example, consider the building blocks from which all matter, including us, is constructed—atoms. They are so tiny that a drop of water contains 100 billion billion atoms (American system of numeration). Amazingly, though, contained within the nucleus of atoms is enough energy to unleash, in one case, an explosion powerful enough to blast a crater in the ground 32 stories deep and a quarter of a mile wide.
6 Toward the other end of the size scale, consider the sun. This gigantic nuclear furnace, weighing billions of tons, heats our solar system. It is fueled by the energy derived from tiny atoms. Although all life on earth—plants, animals, and humans—depends on the energy given off by that gigantic celestial power plant, only a minute amount of the sun’s energy actually reaches earth. Yet, that is sufficient to support life. In his book Astronomy, astronomer Fred Hoyle writes: “The very tiny fraction of the Sun’s energy that falls on the Earth—estimated at about five parts in a hundred million million—is about 100,000 times greater than all the energy used in the world’s industries.”
7. How should we feel about Jehovah after contemplating the power manifest in his creation?
7 Nevertheless, the sun is only one of the billions of stars comprising our Milky Way galaxy—and it is a medium-sized star at that. Additionally, astronomers estimate that there are about 100,000,000,000 galaxies in the known universe. This is staggering to contemplate, is it not? No wonder that the man Job, after reflecting on how Jehovah ‘stretched out the heavens by himself,’ said that God was “doing great things unsearchable, and wonderful things without number.”—Job 9:8-10.
Jehovah Can Invigorate You
8. (a) Who only can draw fully upon Jehovah’s power, and why? (b) How is the promise at Isaiah 40:29-31 faith strengthening?
8 True worshipers of Jehovah may freely and fully draw upon this Fountain of dynamic energy that created and sustains the universe. Jehovah’s servants can be ‘made mighty with power through his holy spirit,’ with no fear of a power shortage. (Ephesians 3:16; Psalm 84:4, 5) Really, our winning the race for life depends upon implicit trust that God’s mighty hand can sweep us past the finish line. He can invigorate us. As the prophet Isaiah says of Jehovah: “He is giving to the tired one power; and to the one without dynamic energy he makes full might abound. Boys will both tire out and grow weary, and young men themselves will without fail stumble, but those who are hoping in Jehovah will regain power. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not tire out.” (Isaiah 40:29-31) Why, just reading those words can fire our spirit!
9. How can Jehovah help you with your ‘mountainous’ problems?
9 When faced with seemingly massive problems that threaten to block your zeal for true worship, you may feel small and insignificant. Do not despair. Turn to your omnipotent heavenly Father. He strengthens ‘all those hoping in him.’ Cannot the Creator of the atom infuse his people with dynamic energy powerful enough to move those ‘mountains’? He surely can!—Mark 11:23.
10. (a) What things can tire out Christian runners? (b) What does Satan want to do to you?
10 On the other hand, some Christians may be so fatigued from the day-to-day battle against the pressures from a world that flaunts its disregard for Christian principles that they feel like slowing down or even stopping in the race for life. Sickness, financial reverses, family problems, loneliness, or other difficulties can also cause discouragement. And discouragement can quickly sap a Christian’s strength, as easily as a sultry day can rapidly drain energy from a marathon runner. The great Adversary, Satan the Devil, uses such things to try to break your integrity as a servant of Jehovah. (1 Peter 5:8) Do not let the Devil do it! Look to the Creator of those myriads of heavenly galaxies to replenish your spiritual energy supply. Jehovah can support you.—Psalm 37:17; 54:4.
11. What can we learn from the way David faced obstacles?
11 When faced with obstacles, David always found Jehovah to be a source of new vigor. Revitalized by holy spirit, David was thus able to ‘climb over’ any opposition. He said: “By you I can run against a marauder band; and by my God I can climb a wall.” David also declared: “By God we shall gain vital energy, and he himself will tread down our adversaries.” (Psalm 18:29; 60:12) Jehovah can do the same for you.
Fight Spiritual Fatigue
12. (a) Why must spiritual tiredness be quickly relieved? (b) What are the symptoms of spiritual fatigue? (c) What provisions has Jehovah made to revive those who are spiritually tired?
12 We must be quick to notice signs of spiritual tiredness and then be just as quick to cope with them. Why? Because it is only those few who ‘exert themselves vigorously to get in through the narrow door,’ or those runners who pass over the finish line, who gain the prize of eternal life. (Luke 13:24; Philippians 3:12, 13) Examine the accompanying box entitled “Some Ways to Fight Spiritual Fatigue.” Do you recognize some of the symptoms in yourself or in a family member? If so, take immediate steps to make adjustments. Revitalize your spirituality by drawing strength from the listed provisions of Jehovah.
13, 14. (a) What examples can help renew our spiritual power? (b) How can the advice from one longtime servant of Jehovah help us stay in the race?
13 You can resist the tendency to tire out by imitating the examples of victorious servants of God of Bible record. There were many, men and women, young and old, who endured to the end. Read of them in scriptures such as Hebrews 11:4-40. Likewise, in modern times we have many dear brothers and sisters who continue to serve Jehovah tirelessly.
14 George, who lives in the southern part of the United States, is an example of a Christian runner who has not tired out. After more than 50 years in the race for eternal life, he is still going strong. What advice does he give us?
“I would say emphatically, stick to the organization. Remember that Jesus Christ, as Jehovah’s Appointed One, is running the organization. So don’t be discouraged if someone very close to you becomes unfaithful. If there is something you don’t fully understand or that you find hard to accept, trust that after a while it will be cleared up. Jehovah’s organization has brought us this far. Trust it to guide us into the New System.”—John 6:66-68.
15. If fine examples are to refresh our spirit, what must we do?
15 There may be some of these precious ones in your congregation, or you can meet them at circuit assemblies. Talk to them. Learn from them. In addition, examples of other faithful ones are found in the Yearbook, The Watchtower, and other Watch Tower publications. Read these accounts. See how you can draw strength from those experiences.
Elders—Be ‘Strengthening Aids’
16. (a) How can elders assist fellow Christians to regain power? (b) What caution do elders need to exercise when giving encouragement and counsel?
16 Congregation elders especially should be alert to assist members who show signs of faltering. Isaiah 35:3 offers fine counsel in saying: “Strengthen the weak hands, you people, and make the knees that are wobbling firm.” But how can you elders do your part in that? For one thing, be observant. Discover the real cause for an apparent slowdown. Offer practical, Scriptural suggestions that are tailor-made for that person. But be careful. You want to encourage, not discourage, your brother.* Therefore, do not impose your conscience on someone else, or pressure the individual into following your solution, or brand him as an immature Christian if he is reluctant to adopt your personal view. Elders must base their counsel and encouragement on the Bible. They would not want to slow down their fellow runners by piling on them unnecessary congregational rules.—Contrast Matthew 11:28, 29 with Matthew 23:2-4.
17. How can elders counter Satan’s tactics that are designed to slow down fellow Christians?
17 Elders can set fine examples as followers of Christ by being quick to commend members of the congregation. Make them feel sincerely wanted and needed! Satan’s system is always more than ready to make the Christian feel inadequate. At this point in their race for life, our brothers need, not critics, but friends to cheer them on to victory. For example, when a middle-aged sister had to stop pioneering, her heart burned with a desire to get back into full-time service. But she could not because of financial circumstances. Although he meant well, an elder asked her in a rather critical way: “When are you going to pioneer again?” Her terse reply surprised him: “When my husband can pay the rent.” What the elder failed to realize, but later learned, was that her pioneering was financed mainly by the earnings of her husband. But when his employer took on more and more work that was questionable for a Christian, her husband’s conscience moved him to seek other employment. At his age, jobs were not easily found. So he had to settle for a much lower-paying job; hence, it was necessary for his wife to work full time.
18. In what way can elders be a “strengthening aid”?
18 From the foregoing experience, are we to understand that elders should hesitate to counsel fellow Christians? No. Rather, when counsel or encouragement is needed, elders should discern their brothers’ actual circumstances and not just look at the surface appearances. (James 2:15, 16) In this way, elders can be a “strengthening aid” in their congregation.—Colossians 4:11.
19. What can you do to help pioneers not to tire out?
19 A growing number of Kingdom publishers have picked up their pace and are now regular pioneers. The roar of the crowd can encourage marathon runners to regain power. So what are you doing to cheer on to victory the pioneers in your congregation? Doug and Joanne have made the full-time service their career in life. It can be discouraging when others ask them, “When are you going to have children?” or, “When will you finally settle down?” However, what happens when fellow Witnesses give them moral support by saying, “Keep up the fine work. We are glad to have you as pioneers in our congregation”? Why, they not only avoid spiritual fatigue but are helped to soar like eagles in their pioneer service!—Compare Isaiah 40:31.
How Pioneers Can Regain Power
20, 21. How have some in full-time service regained power?
20 Listen to this married couple, Frederick and Marian. They know how to regain power. Both are missionaries serving in a Central American country, and both are in their 70’s. He started his missionary service in 1946, she in 1950. What keeps them going in Jehovah’s service? Frederick answers: “In addition to love for Jehovah and the desire to help other people, it is keeping the goal of everlasting life in mind.” His wife replies that ‘God’s promises have kept us going.’ How do they keep from tiring out? “Whatever your assignment is,” he advises, “busy yourself in it.” She recommends “constancy in theocratic work” and adds: “As you get older, you cannot do all you want to do. That could irritate me, but I talk to Jehovah about it in prayer.” Frederick concludes with this fine piece of advice: “We pray every night and ask Jehovah to help us.”—1 Peter 4:7.
21 Lavonia is 67 years old and has been a regular pioneer for the last 20 years. Within the last year, she spent 15 days in the hospital and is currently taking medication for her heart. The death of several family members, including her husband and her father, has been an emotional drain on her. Still she keeps exerting herself. How has she regained power? “Being able to share more fully in the preaching work has actually been a help,” she says, “because when I’m able to talk to others about Jehovah, it takes my mind away from my problems and gives me peace of mind and a joy that makes life worth living.” She does not plan to quit pioneering either but says: “Seeing others learn about Jehovah and his grand purposes gives me such great joy that I wouldn’t even think about stopping pioneer service.”—Acts 20:35.
22. To win the race for everlasting life, what must we continue to do?
22 Whether we are able to exert ourselves as pioneers at this point in life or not, all of us can remain close to the Source of dynamic energy, Jehovah, and his organization. Let us continue to regain power by loyally serving our God. Then, like Habakkuk, we can say: “Jehovah the Sovereign Lord is my vital energy; and he will make my feet like those of the hinds.” (Habakkuk 3:19) Thus we will not tire out or grow weary. Remember that the race is almost finished. We are near the goal!
Interestingly, the word for encouragement at Philippians 2:1 and Hebrews 6:18 comes from a Greek verb meaning “to exercise a gentle influence by words” or “to speak to someone, in a positive, benevolent way.”
□ Who only can freely draw upon Jehovah’s dynamic energy?
□ What are some signs of spiritual fatigue?
□ What provisions of Jehovah can help us to regain power?
□ How can elders and others in the congregation help pioneers stay in the “race”?
[Box on page 19]
Some Ways to Fight Spiritual Fatigue
Symptoms of Fatigue
□ Lack of self-control in eating, drinking, and pursuit of pleasure
□ Loss of enthusiasm for the truth, complacent spirit
□ Harboring serious and lingering doubts
□ Neglecting association at congregation meetings
□ Lack of zeal and joy in field ministry
□ Becoming overly critical of elders and the organization
Aids to Endurance
□ Personal study—Psalm 1:1, 2
□ Meditation on Scriptural matters—Psalm 77:12
□ Regular participation in field service—Acts 20:18-21
[Pictures on page 17]
Jehovah, the Creator of the universe, helps his Witnesses regain power