Tired but Not Tiring Out
“Jehovah, the Creator of the extremities of the earth, . . . is giving to the tired one power; and to the one without dynamic energy he makes full might abound.”—ISAIAH 40:28, 29.
1, 2. (a) What appealing invitation is extended to all who want to practice pure worship? (b) What may pose a serious danger to our spirituality?
AS Jesus’ disciples, we are well acquainted with his appealing invitation: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. . . . For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Christians are also offered “seasons of refreshing . . . from the person of Jehovah.” (Acts 3:19) Surely you have experienced firsthand the refreshing effects of learning Bible truths, having a bright hope for the future, and applying Jehovah’s principles in your life.
2 Yet, some of Jehovah’s worshipers undergo bouts of emotional tiredness. In some cases these times of discouragement are brief. At other times the weary feeling may persist for long periods. With the passing of time, some may feel that their Christian responsibilities have become a burden rather than a refreshing load as Jesus promised. Such negative feelings may pose a serious danger to a Christian’s relationship with Jehovah.
3. Why did Jesus offer the counsel found at John 14:1?
3 Not long before his arrest and execution, Jesus told his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God, exercise faith also in me.” (John 14:1) Jesus said these words as the apostles were about to face tragic events. This would be followed by a rash of persecution. Jesus knew that his apostles could stumble out of utter discouragement. (John 16:1) If left unchecked, feelings of sadness could prove spiritually debilitating and cause them to lose their trust in Jehovah. This is also true of Christians today. Prolonged discouragement can cause much anguish, and our hearts may become weighed down. (Jeremiah 8:18) The person we are inside may weaken. Under this pressure, we may become emotionally and spiritually paralyzed, even lose our desire to worship Jehovah.
4. What can help us to keep our figurative hearts from tiring out?
4 Appropriate indeed is the Bible’s advice: “More than all else that is to be guarded, safeguard your heart, for out of it are the sources of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) The Bible offers practical advice that helps us protect our figurative heart from discouragement and spiritual tiredness. First, however, we need to identify the cause of our weariness.
Christianity Is Not Oppressive
5. What apparent contradiction exists regarding Christian discipleship?
5 Granted, being a Christian requires vigorous exertion. (Luke 13:24) Jesus even stated: “Whoever is not carrying his torture stake and coming after me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27) On the surface these words may appear to contradict Jesus’ statement about his load being light and refreshing, but in reality there is no contradiction.
6, 7. Why can it be said that our form of worship is not wearisome?
6 Vigorous exertion and hard work, although physically tiring, can be satisfying and refreshing when it is done for a good cause. (Ecclesiastes 3:13, 22) And what better cause could there be than that of sharing wonderful Bible truths with our neighbors? Also, our struggle to live by God’s high moral standards pales into insignificance when compared with the benefits we enjoy as a result. (Proverbs 2:10-20) Even when persecuted, we deem it an honor to suffer for the sake of God’s Kingdom.—1 Peter 4:14.
7 Jesus’ load is indeed refreshing, especially when compared with the spiritual darkness of those who remain under the yoke of false religion. God has tender love for us and does not place unreasonable demands on us. Jehovah’s “commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3) True Christianity, as outlined in the Scriptures, is not oppressive. Clearly, our form of worship does not cause weariness and discouragement.
“Put Off Every Weight”
8. What is often the cause of spiritual tiredness?
8 Any spiritual tiredness we experience is often the result of the added weight placed on us by this corrupt system of things. Because “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one,” we are surrounded by negative forces that can wear us down and erode our Christian balance. (1 John 5:19) Nonessentials can complicate and disturb our Christian routine. These extra burdens may weigh us down and even crush our spirit. Appropriately, the Bible admonishes us to “put off every weight.”—Hebrews 12:1-3.
9. How can material pursuits weigh us down?
9 For instance, the world’s preoccupation with prominence, money, entertainment, travel for pleasure, and other material pursuits can influence our thinking. (1 John 2:15-17) Some first-century Christians who pursued riches severely complicated their lives. The apostle Paul explains: “Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.”—1 Timothy 6:9, 10.
10. What can we learn about riches from Jesus’ illustration of the sower?
10 When we feel tired and discouraged in our service to God, could it be because the pursuit of material things is smothering our spirituality? This possibility is very real, as indicated by Jesus’ illustration of the sower. Jesus compared “the anxieties of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches and the desires for the rest of the things” to thorns that “make inroads and choke” the seed of God’s word in our hearts. (Mark 4:18, 19) Hence, the Bible counsels us: “Let your manner of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things. For he has said: ‘I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.’”—Hebrews 13:5.
11. How might we eliminate things that can weigh us down?
11 Sometimes what complicates our lives is, not the pursuit of more things, but what we do with the things we already have. Some may experience emotional fatigue as a result of challenging health problems, the loss of loved ones, or other distressing problems. They have seen a need to make adjustments from time to time. One married couple decided to eliminate some of their hobbies and nonessential personal projects. They actually went through their things and literally packed all the materials related to such projects and put them out of sight. Periodically, we can all benefit from taking inventory of our habits and possessions, putting off every unnecessary weight so that we may not get tired and give out in our souls.
Reasonableness and Modesty Essential
12. What should we recognize about our own mistakes?
12 Our own errors, even in small matters, can gradually complicate our lives. How true the words of David: “My own errors have passed over my head; like a heavy load they are too heavy for me.” (Psalm 38:4) Often, a few practical adjustments will relieve us of heavy burdens.
13. How can reasonableness help us to have a balanced view of our ministry?
13 The Bible encourages us to develop “practical wisdom and thinking ability.” (Proverbs 3:21, 22) “The wisdom from above is . . . reasonable,” says the Bible. (James 3:17) Some have felt under pressure to keep pace with what others do in the Christian ministry. However, the Bible advises us: “Let each one prove what his own work is, and then he will have cause for exultation in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person. For each one will carry his own load.” (Galatians 6:4, 5) True, the good example of fellow Christians can encourage us to serve Jehovah wholeheartedly, but practical wisdom and reasonableness will help us to set realistic goals according to our own circumstances.
14, 15. How can we manifest practical wisdom in caring for our physical and emotional needs?
14 Our reasonableness even in areas that may seem to be of minor importance can help prevent feelings of tiredness. For instance, do we develop balanced habits that are conducive to good physical health? Consider the example of a married couple who serve at one of the branch offices of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They have seen the value of practical wisdom in preventing fatigue. The wife says: “No matter how much work we have, we try to go to bed about the same time every night. We also exercise regularly. This has really helped us. We have learned what our limitations are, and we do things accordingly. We try not to compare ourselves with those who seem to have an endless amount of energy.” Do we regularly eat wholesome meals and get enough rest? Reasonable attention to our health in general can minimize feelings of emotional and spiritual exhaustion.
15 Some of us have needs that are unique. For instance, one Christian sister has served in the full-time ministry in several challenging assignments. She has had serious health problems, including cancer. What helps her to cope with stressful situations? She says: “It is important for me to have time when I can be alone and totally quiet. The more I feel the stress and fatigue building up, the more urgently I need moments of calm solitude when I can read and rest.” Practical wisdom and thinking ability help us recognize and satisfy our individual needs and thus avoid spiritual tiredness.
Jehovah God Energizes Us
16, 17. (a) Why is caring for our spiritual health highly important? (b) What should we incorporate into our daily routine?
16 Caring for our spiritual health is, of course, highly important. When we have an intimate relationship with Jehovah God, we may get physically tired, but never will we tire of worshiping him. Jehovah is the one “giving to the tired one power; and to the one without dynamic energy he makes full might abound.” (Isaiah 40:28, 29) The apostle Paul, who personally experienced the truthfulness of these words, wrote: “We do not give up, but even if the man we are outside is wasting away, certainly the man we are inside is being renewed from day to day.”—2 Corinthians 4:16.
17 Notice the expression “from day to day.” This implies availing ourselves of Jehovah’s provisions on a daily basis. A missionary who faithfully served for 43 years had to face periods of physical tiredness and discouragement. But she did not tire out. She says: “I have made it a practice to rise early so that before starting any work, I can spend time in prayer to Jehovah and read his Word. This daily routine has helped me to endure until now.” We can indeed count on Jehovah’s sustaining power if we regularly, yes “from day to day,” pray to him and meditate on his lofty qualities and his promises.
18. What comfort does the Bible provide for faithful ones who are advanced in age or who are ill?
18 This is especially helpful to those who feel discouraged because of advancing age and ill health. Such ones may become downhearted, not because they compare themselves with others, but because they compare themselves with what they once were. How comforting it is to know that Jehovah honors the elderly! The Bible says: “Gray-headedness is a crown of beauty when it is found in the way of righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:31) Jehovah knows our limitations and highly values our wholehearted worship despite our frailties. And the good works that we have already done are indelibly recorded in God’s memory. The Scriptures assure us: “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name, in that you have ministered to the holy ones and continue ministering.” (Hebrews 6:10) How glad we all are to have among us those who have proved loyal to Jehovah for many decades!
Do Not Give Up
19. How do we benefit from keeping busy doing what is good?
19 Many believe that vigorous physical activity on a regular basis can alleviate tiredness. Similarly, regular spiritual activities can help relieve any feelings of emotional or spiritual exhaustion. The Bible says: “Let us not give up in doing what is fine, for in due season we shall reap if we do not tire out. Really, then, as long as we have time favorable for it, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.” (Galatians 6:9, 10) Notice the expressions “doing what is fine” and “work what is good.” These imply action on our part. Doing good things for others can indeed help prevent us from tiring out in our service to Jehovah.
20. To fight discouragement, whose company should we avoid?
20 In contrast, association and activities with people who disregard God’s laws can become a tiring burden. The Bible warns us: “The heaviness of a stone and a load of sand—but the vexation by someone foolish is heavier than both of them.” (Proverbs 27:3) To fight off feelings of discouragement and tiredness, we do well to avoid the company of those who dwell on negative thoughts and are prone to find fault and criticize others.
21. How can we be of encouragement to others at Christian meetings?
21 Christian meetings are a provision from Jehovah that can infuse us with spiritual energy. There we have an excellent opportunity to encourage one another with refreshing instruction and association. (Hebrews 10:25) All in the congregation should strive to be upbuilding when commenting at the meetings or when sharing in the program from the platform. Those who take the lead as teachers are especially responsible to be encouraging to others. (Isaiah 32:1, 2) Even when there is a need to exhort or reprove, the tone of the counsel should be refreshing. (Galatians 6:1, 2) Our love for others will indeed help us to serve Jehovah without tiring out.—Psalm 133:1; John 13:35.
22. Despite our imperfect human nature, why can we be of good courage?
22 Worshiping Jehovah in this time of the end involves work. And Christians are not immune to the effects of mental fatigue, emotional pain, and stressful circumstances. Our imperfect human nature is fragile, like clayware. Yet, the Bible says: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the power beyond what is normal may be God’s and not that out of ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) Yes, we will get tired, but may we never tire out or give up. Rather, let us be “of good courage and say: ‘Jehovah is my helper.’”—Hebrews 13:6.
A Brief Review
• What are some burdensome weights we may be able to put off?
• How can we share in working “what is good” toward our fellow Christians?
• How does Jehovah sustain us when we feel tired or discouraged?
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Jesus knew that prolonged discouragement could trouble the apostles
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Some have eliminated certain hobbies and nonessential personal projects
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Despite our limitations, Jehovah highly values our wholehearted worship