Friday, March 16, 2018

P1 - How Jesus Christ Provides For Christians That Feel Spiritually Drained

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Romans 15:1-3 "Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”


The Christian life is a call to die to self, put others ahead of ourselves and to fix our eyes on Jesus. Each of the aforementioned elements do not follow from the carnal drives that remain in the Christian. Christ-followers find propensities within themselves to put themselves ahead of others. One author has termed the "self-life" as the "me-in-me" life. The self-life is the number-one competitor to ongoing Christian growth. The goal of Christian-growth is to have "Him-in-me" characterizing Christian-living, rather than the all-to-often "me-in-me" mentality. Thankfully every Christian has access to Christ by the indwelling Person and work of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 2:12-13; 3:16; 6:19-20; Galatians 2:20; 5:16; Ephesians 5:18).

What can lead to feeling spiritually emotionally or physically drained

If dealing with oneself is not enough, we find in the opening verses of Romans 15 certain spiritual maladies that affect all Christians. Seasons come into the Christian's walk that are characterized by "weaknesses" and "having no strength" (see Romans 15:1). Such spiritual-liabilities may arise not so much as a direct result of overt sin as through the process of emptying the spiritual gas-tank. Everyone experiences what it is like to get "drained". Following the point beyond what were terming "spiritually drained" is a matter of whether or not the Christian does something about it through the Divinely appointed means of grace through Christ.  

To illustrate, I can recall as a boy how my father would let me borrow the family car. He always told me to make sure that whenever I was done - to fill the tank. My father always ran the car above the three-quarter mark. But do you know, as a teenage boy, I would run that car until it got near to "E". More than one time I would hear him say: "E" means "empty", not "enough". I won't comment further on my driving habits today, however, I too often find myself treating my Christian life much like I did the family car. If I would follow the Heavenly Father by the example set by the Son and empowered by His Spirit on a consistent basis, though I may still experience "drainage", yet, the gas-gauge might be able to never read "E". Each occasion of life is an opportunity for me to either "trust in the Lord" rather than to "lean on my own understanding" (see Proverbs 3:5-6).  

1 Thessalonians 5:14 elaborates for us on the "spiritual maladies already mentioned in in Romans 15:1 -  

“We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

Jude adds insight to the garden-variety ailments that afflict God's people, and what their fellow-believers need to do, in Jude 1:22 “....have mercy on some who are doubting.”

In the verses above I identify four maladies, the first resulting from interacting with the needs of others, whilst the remainder follow from the Christian either unintentionally or at times carelessly letting down their guard: drained --> discouraged, delayed obedience, distress.

How Christ is the resource for the Christian that feels drained 

Whenever the Apostle writes about the typical Christian experience, his inclusion of the Lord Jesus Christ is such a relief. Why? Christ came to partake of true humanity for three main reasons:

a). to atone for sin (Romans 5:6-8; 1 John 2:1-2).

b). to defeat Satan by becoming the New Adam (Romans 5:12-21; 1 John 3:8).

c).  to provide what was needed for His people to gain victory over the world, flesh and Devil in their humanity (Hebrews 2:14).

A quick study of Jesus' life reveals how he would get drained in the course of His everyday life. Spiritual, emotional and physical drainage is part-and-parcel of living in this world. Yet, unlike those of us who follow Him in faith, the Lord Jesus Christ never once lost awareness of who He was nor ever acted carelessly. Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:13-14 that "whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst".

As we shall see, although Jesus did experience what it was liked to get drained, He never once had his spiritual gas tank read "E". That is, the Lord Jesus did get saddened but never discouraged (there is a difference, mind-you). He often faced opposition when doing the will of the Father but never delayed in obedience. His heart grew heavier with the pending approach of Calvary, yet, He never got distressed due to feeling like God was no longer in control. To describe Jesus' experience in another way: Jesus never let His well run dry. Three headings will guide us through considerations of how Jesus Christ, by His incarnation, provides everything the Christian needs to not go empty whenever they are feeling drained. To those headings we will look in the next post. 

More next time....