Let’s take a moment to think about Elijah, the mighty prophet of God. He had just participated in what sports announcers would call a rout! The false God, Baal, was no match for the Living God, Yahweh. As God’s chosen representative, Elijah was overpowering. After that victory, he should have been so up, but he was so down. When threatened by Jezebel, he ran like a scared rabbit. He even left his close companion behind, found a convenient tree, fell to the ground, and asked God to let him die.
You may hesitate to compare yourself to Elijah. I would. But the Bible says he was a man with the same experience that all of us have. In other words, completely human. Working cross culturally, we see victories that we can never fully describe to those back home. Then something happens that threatens us (it doesn’t even have to be a very big something) and we cave in.
It’s not always that dramatic. We just keep on keeping on day in and day out with seemingly no results. The daily grind and the lack of visible success bring us to the point of saying, “Nothing I’ve done has made any difference. I may as well die.”
If you find yourself in one of these times, we have just the thing for you. Mike wrote the Vitality Assessment Tool to help identify the causes of our weariness and start us on a path towards recovered vitality. Take some time to ponder the questions, asking the Lord to guide you through them.
- Is the problem really spiritual? Sometimes what we think is a spiritual problem has another cause. Emotional? Have I been around people too much and need a little retreat? Physical? I may just need a good night’s sleep several nights in a row.
- Am I in an abiding relationship with God, through Christ, by the Holy Spirit? Do I have enough and consistent time alone with God and His Word? Do I practice God’s presence? Or on the other hand, am I constantly trying to live up to impossible standards regarding my devotional life?
- Am I thanking God, praising Him, rejoicing in Him, delighting in Him? A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Pro. 17:22)
- What is my attitude about my Heavenly Father? Am I a prodigal running from God? Avoiding God’s will. (Deut. 28:65) Or am I an elder brother missing out on God’s lavishness? Doing God’s will but devoted, involved and sterile.(Luke 15)
- Do I have refreshing relationships and do I refresh others? We are meant to be social beings. Without companionship we will run down. (Philemon 7)
- Do I have any damaged relationships? Damaged relationships create tension that drains our vitality. Have I done everything I can to mend the breach? (Rom. 12:18)
- Am I carrying any guilt, condemnation, resentment, bitterness, or unforgiveness? These attitudes are like parasites that suck our strength.
- Am I comparing myself to others? Comparisons are almost always defeating, never liberating.
- Am I living my life for the right purpose? We can become very tired with little to show for it when we are trying to live up to other’s expectations, trying to appease others or trying to prove our worth.
- Am I carrying responsibilities that God does not want me to carry? Whenever I say, “I should . . .” I want to change and say, “It would be in my best interest and it would please God if I . . .”
- Do I need a new challenge? Is God’s Spirit motivating me to do something new or in a new way? This is not just adding a new job to the list, but doing something different. The source is not just carnal restlessness.
- Am I controlled too much by feelings and emotion? Passion is not emotion. Passion is deeper than emotion, for it motivates us even when emotions are absent.
- Are my expectations realistic for this time of my life? I cannot do everything I want to do at 25 that I will have done when I am 50. I also cannot do the same things the same way when I am 50 that I did when I was 25.
- Do I know the eternal value of my investment in God’s Kingdom? We are not home yet! (I Cor. 15:58)
Be full of hope! The angel gave Elijah just exactly what he needed. He gave him food and rest and strength for the journey. God spoke to him in a gentle whisper and commissioned him for a new task. Your work is not finished, God has great things in store for you!