Physical health and emotional health are both vital. However, spiritual health is probably the most important and it can have a positive affect on our every area of our life. The Gospel writers tell us that Jesus was "full" of the Spirit (Luke 4:1)!
How do we increase our spiritual energy? Let’s look at a few of the most important practices
a. Meditate on God’s Word.
The words that God speaks are like food to our spirit. While Jesus was fasting for a period of 40 days, the devil tempted him to turn stones into bread to satisfy his natural hunger. His answer? “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God (Matt.4:4).” God speaking to you is like life and energy to your spirit. Establish a practice of feeding on God’s Word daily, asking God to speak to you by His Spirit. You can even get the Bible on audio now and listen as someone else reads it to you, if that is helpful. The main thing is to ask God to speak to you by his Spirit.
b. Pray in the Spirit.
Jesus, the Son of God, came to serve and give his life for others. Yet one of his habits was to regularly pull aside from the crowds of people and from the busyness of ministry to spend time alone with his Father. Jesus knew what it was to work hard but he also knew what it was to stop working and get aside with his Father (Lk.5:15-16). If anyone could have avoided prayer and just kept going without ever getting to empty, it was Jesus. Surely he could have just kept going, talking to himself now and then – after all, he was God! But, NO – he stopped, he left the hustle and bustle of all the people around him, and he found a place where he could be alone and talk with his Father. If Jesus needed this, how much more do you and I!
Often when we’re starting to burnout, it can be linked back to a drift in our time alone with God. Like Martha, we’ve become so busy working for God or doing life that we have neglected our time just sitting and being with Jesus like Mary did (see Luke 10:38-42).
Prayer is not a formula or a ritual but rather it is a conversation with a relational God. Talk to him about your life and His will. The very acting of speaking with God through prayer has energising power to it, especially when our prayer is prompted by the Holy Spirit who lives within us (Rom.8:26-28).
On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on all those in the upper room prayer meeting – 120 of them. They were all filled with the Spirit as they were praying and they were given the ability to speak in other ‘tongues’ (a word which literally means ‘languages’). This was not just a once off experience but the early church continued to experience this ability to ‘speak in tongues’ or more specifically to speak in a ‘spiritual language.’Jesus gave this gift and the apostle Paul encouraged its proper use. In fact, he told the church at Corinth that he spoke in tongues more than anyone. Why would he do that? Did he not have anything else to do? Maybe Paul knew something that we don’t. Actually, he lets us into a secret … speaking in tongues has the power to strengthen or build up the individual believer (1Cor.14:1-5). Pray in and by the Spirit. Use your spiritual language. Ask God to strengthen you with his power in your Spirit. Charge your spiritual batteries. Plug in to an endless supply of energy and strength: God.
NOTE: you don't have to speak in tongues to be a Christian, no one has to speak in tongues or is a ‘second-class citizen’ if they don’t nor does God loves you less if you don’t yet speak in tongues. Nevertheless, the gift of tongues is a blessing from God.
Spending time alone with God can be like taking a long deep drink of fresh water when you’re feeling dry and thirsty. It energises you for your journey. How easily we get distracted by other things that hinder us from investing our time in the most valuable thing we could – a relationship with the living God!
c. Fellowship with other believers.
Jesus had a habit (a ‘custom’) of attending the synagogue every week (Lk.4:16). It was part of his lifestyle, his priorities, and his use of time. It doesn’t say that he went only when he was speaking, or when it was a nice day, or when he hadn’t had a busy week or when Rabbi ‘so and so’ was speaking. He was there … every week. And this was the synagogue under the Old Covenant … not the church under the New Covenant. How much more do we need to gather regularly with other followers of Christ as the first believers did (Acts 2:42-47. Heb.10:24-25).
Gathering together with other believers provides us with an opportunity to encourage one another, to motivate each other towards a life of passion and purpose. Church gatherings are part of God’s process of renewing our spiritual energy for our journey. We live in a world that saps and drains us of our spiritual reserves. We need to be filled up again regularly – with his love, his Spirit, his hope, and his joy.
d. Serve Others, Especially the Needy.
God’s will for each one of us is to engage in meaningful work – whether physical, mental or relational (people). We are discover the SHAPE in which God has made us then serve others with our gifts. Find something you love to do (energising). The very act of serving and using our gifts is part of God's plan to renew our spiritual energy. Jesus was tired physically one day but after ministering to a needy woman he felt energised. He said, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me (see John 4)."
How are you – half way through this year? Is your tank full, half full or are you running on empty? What changes do you need to make? What steps do you need to take or what practices do you need to engage in position yourself for God to renew your energy?
I pray that you will know God's "endless energy and boundless strength!"