False teaching has crept into the church today and is ruining churches, homes and lives. Even among our Christian and REFORMED circles, “Christianized psychology” is proclaimed to be the answer. Many have been vacuumed up by the “psychobabble” of the day. A few of the results of this “psychological” approach is baggage, blame and burn-out, all with which people excuse themselves from serving God. When we take a closer look at the false religion which precipitates even these few consequences, we can agree with Jeremiah in chapter 6:14: “They have also healed the hurt of my people SLIGHTLY, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when THERE IS NO PEACE.”
To begin, let me explain to you that at the root of this false “healing” is the self esteem “religion.” It is a religion which espouses that one can not become a productive, loving, satisfied person unless basic needs have been met; your physiological needs, safety and security needs, love and belongingness needs, and selfesteem needs. This is the base of the problem in baggage, blame and burn-out.
Before we delve into the actual excuses of baggage, blame and burn-out, we must examine that which lies at the base, placing it under the microscope of God’s Word: its direction and teaching. Is this “needs” religion true, wise, and pleasing to God? First and foremost, all ideas are to be scrutinized by the ultimate test—Scripture. If Scripture says that our lives cannot be what they should be without all of our needs met, then and only then, should we go along with this Christianized psychology.
Scripture Tested Against the Selfesteem Religion
Let’s first look at Philippians 4:19: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
WHO will give us what we need? GOD. WHO determines what we need? GOD. Can we not see that telling God what we need and how we are going to get it is like the people of Israel in the desert who complained that their needs were not being met, and threatened to go back to Egypt in order to satisfy their needs? We do the same thing! How many blessings from God’s hand we are missing when we snatch from Him the responsibility of supplying our own needs! We would rather go back to Egypt! We can only begin to fathom how much greater HIS supplying our need would be than our feeble efforts to get what we THINK we need. We would settle for Egypt and slavery; God would give us a land flowing with milk and honey.
Matthew 6:25–34: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”
The question comes to us, are WE to worry about what we have or don’t have? Will it stunt our Christian effectiveness as parents if we do not have these basic needs met? Not only will it NOT stunt our effectiveness, but it will deeply root our effectiveness as parents to wholly depend on our heavenly Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to meet all our needs.
Matthew 22:39b: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
This is the verse that Christian self-esteem proponents use in order to say that we cannot possibly love our neighbor, whether it be our child, husband, friend, or anyone for that matter, unless we have first had our self-esteem needs met, and learned to LOVE OURSELVES. The question is this: Can you find anywhere in the Bible words which command us to love ourselves? The resounding answer? NO! We already do! (Ephesians 5:28, 29)
II Corinthians 4:8–10; 6:4–7: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed, we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;....But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings ....” Look at Paul! My, he did not have HIS basic needs met. I suppose he was not very productive, loving OR satisfied with his life! QUESTION: Is this “meeting of our needs” a prerequisite to our “totality as persons?” Or to our joy? Wasn’t Paul burned out? Was Joseph unproductive because he had been so mistreated by his brothers, that it wasn’t until his brothers were confronted and brought low thatJoseph could live with the scars of the past? We must wake up to the lies of self-esteem religion.
Matthew 6:33, 34: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow...”
QUESTION: Is this “meeting of our needs” a prerequisite for ourability to love God and our neighbor? NO, and again I say NO. Our focus is misplaced when weare self-absorbed with our needs.
Corinthians 11:24–12:10: “From the Jews I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils of the city, in perils of the wilderness, in perils of the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches...If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity...For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth... And lest I should be exalted above measure...a thorn in the flesh was given to me...lest I be exalted above measure. He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I most gladly boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Do we not see that THIS is where God wants us: needy, depending on Him, and Him alone for ALL things?
Romans 7:14–24: “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin...For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, nothing good dwells...For the good which I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I practice...Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me out of this body of death?”
There goes Paul again—such POOR self-esteem! Carnal, nothing good dwells in me, wretched!
Philippians 3:4–7: “We rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else think she might have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed, I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I havesuffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness....”
Here we are as parents, teaching our children to put their confidence in the flesh. We are told that WE, as parents must instill a good self-esteem in our children for them to be productive adults. How does that mesh with Scripture when Paul, as our example, says to rejoice in Christ and to have no confidence in the flesh?
Let’s take an example. Tommy hasbeen told by Mother NOT to get into the cookie jar unless she gives permission. Mother heads for the kitchen and sees Tommy around the comer pulling the stool up to the counter. She stands back and watches. Tommy climbs the stool, pulls the cookie jar close to him, and opens the cookie jar. (Now this is where the illustration becomes a little unrealistic, but follow me here.) Mother sees Tommy hesitate, shake his head, put the top back on the cookie jar, push the cookie jar back into the corner, climb down the stool, and put the stool away, with no cookie in hand. Now, in this day and age, we are taught to praise him, praise him, praise him. Tommy did something very good! “Oh...” mother wouldrush to him, put her arms around him, kissing him and saying, “You are such a good boy! You obeyed Mommy.” Now THAT is putting confidence in the flesh. I don’t doubt that he should be commended for his obedience, BUT we are Christian parents. What about God? What about praising Him? How about this, “Oh Tommy,” mother rushes to him, puts her arms around him, kissing him and saying, “You obeyed Mommy, and that is obeying God! I can see Jesus working in your heart!” More kisses, more hugs. Do you see the difference between instilling confidence in the flesh, and instilling a confidence in our God?
What Does the Self-esteem, Needs-oriented Religion Do to Our Doctrine?
“Oh, doctrine, that boring stuff. I don’t want to hear this! All I need is the Bible.” Please bear with me a while longer. Sound doctrine keeps us from being sucked up by the tornadoes of false prophets. Don’t throw it out! Learning doctrine and not applying it is like making a nice Sunday roast and mashed potatoes, sitting at the table, looking at it and remarking, “Oh, that does look and smell wonderful!” Then, without taking a bite, getting up from the table and throwing it in the garbage disposal! Let’s take one example: the doctrine of the creation of man in the image of God. Let’s say we throw that out and we say that man evolved. If we destroy the doctrine, believe me, it will affect, and HAS affected our lives. Since man is not created in the image of God, abortion is fine! Euthanasia is acceptable! We are like any other animal! Now, let’s take a good look at some of the doctrines “swept under the rug” by the wiles of the needs-oriented religion of the day, leaving us with quick sand on which to stand.
Doctrine of Man
First, look at the doctrine of man. Oh, sure we all know that. God is holy; man is sinful. Now take time to digest the following documents.
Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 1; Q.A.2
Q. What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort (the comfort that Christ paid for my sins, set me free, watches over me, assures me of eternal life, and makes me willing to live for Him)?
A. Three things: “First how great my sin and misery are.” This needs-oriented, self-esteem religion flies in the face of the doctrine of man. “Why, don’t you understand?” say the psychologists. “Knowing your sin won’t give you comfort! How silly to think that! We have to know how wonderful we are, of great worth! Once all our needs are met, then we will have comfort!” THIS is the swamp land we are being sold. Don’t be fooled! Look in the second beatitude, “Blessed are they who mourn (over their sin and poverty of spirit), for they shall be comforted.” Now let’s take a look at another confession.
Westminster Confession of Faith: Chapter VI
IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions. Oh there! We are regenerated! We don’t have to worry about being disabled and wholly inclined to all evil. Oh, but keep reading!
V. This corruption ofnature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be, through Christ, pardoned, and mortified; yet both itself, and all the motions thereof are truly and properly sin.
VI. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression ofthe righteous law of God., .doth in its own nature, bring gUilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath ofGod, and curse ofthe law,and so made subject to death....
Our comfort comes in knowing exactly who we are. If our doctor knew that we had cancer, but told us not to worry, for fear that the telling might hurt our self-image, would we say he was a good doctor? Are we good parents when we point out the good in our children and brush over the bad with a “naughty boy”? Our children must know what they have done wrong and how it has offended our Lord. This is the first step in helping them see that they need a Savior. If we gloss over our children’s sin with a sigh and a “time-out,” without pointing them to their sin, showing them their responsibility before God, and reminding them of forgiveness only in Christ Jesus, we are HINDERING their walk with the Lord! Say that Tommy did take the cookie (which I suppose would be the more natural example), should Mother say, “Tommy, you naughty, bad boy! Go to your room!” Or should mother take the opportune time to present the gospel. “Tommy, Mommy told you not to take a cookie without getting permission. You have disobeyed me, and you have stolen. You have broken two commandments: ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ You have sinned against God. Let me tell you about Jesus, His sacrifice, and forgiveness through Him..”
Can we see how we have been deceived? Satan would have us believe that we should love ourselves BEFORE we can love others. God, on the other hand wants us to abhor ourselves, mortify ourselves, and look to Jesus Christ as our only hope.
Providence of God
Second, let’s look at the providence of God.
Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 10;
G.A. 27, 28; Lord's Day 48; G.A. 49, 50
Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?
A. Providence is the almighty and ever present power of God by which He upholds, as with His hand, heaven, and earth, and all creatures, and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty—all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from His fatherly hand.
Q. How does the knowledge of God’s creation and providence help us?
A. We can be patient when things go against us, thankful when things go well, and for the future, we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing will separate us from His love. All creatures are so completely in His hand that without His will they can neither move nor be moved.
The basis for the needs-oriented religion comes from the atheistic notion that all things come to us by chance and that we can change things! What a comfort it is to know that God has, out of His love, planned this trial for me (whether it be with my husband, my child, my mother, father, friend) and I can be patient, loving, serving, why yes, I CAN live a productive life in spite of these trials BECAUSE I TRUST MY GOD!
Q. What does the third request mean?
A. “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” means, help us and all men to reject our own wills and to obey Your will without any backtalk. Your will alone is good. Help everyone to carry out the work he is called to as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven. In baggage, blame and burn-out, 1) Our wills MUST be REJECTED. We have been deceived in thinking that the fulfillment of our will is the only thing that will satisfy us. 2) God’s will must be OBEYED. It is selflove and pride which holds on to our will. 3) We must constantly remind ourselves that God's will alone is GOOD. God’s will-not our own.
Q. What does the fourth request mean?
A. “Give us this day our daily bread” means, Do take care ofall of our physical needs so that we come to know that You are the only source of everything good, and that neither our work and worry nor Your gifts can do us any good without Your blessing. Our physiological needs, safety and security needs, love and belongingness matneeds, and self-esteem needs ALL might be met (by hard labor on our part and God’s gifts), but none of it would do us any good WITHOUT GOD’S BLESSING.
Perseverance of the Saints
Third, the perseverance ofthe saints is one of the most comforting doctrines which Satan would love to snatch from us because it then would sap us of our hope.
Canons of Dart: Article 3
“By reason of these remains of indwelling sin, and also because of the temptations of the world and of Satan, those who are converted could not persevere in that grace if left to their own strength. But God is faithful, who, having conferred grace, mercifully confirms and powerfully preserves them therein, even to the end.”
It is not what we do for ourselves that determines whether or not we will persevere, but rather what God does for us. He upholds us, gives us grace AND strength to face whatever He provides storm or calm—in order that we might grow. If our child said to us that he couldn’t go to school because a child was teasing him, would we pull our child out for the rest of the year? Would we demand that the principal place our child in a different class? No, we would direct our child in the ways of Scriptural responses, and he would learn a good lesson in “relational interaction.” It is the same with us. Rather than hoping for, or seeking ways to RID ourselves of this terrible “thing” (situation, family member, or friend), we should beg the Lord NOT to take away the situation until it has done its complete, disciplinary or sanctifying work in us. What the doctrine of perseverance of the saints teaches us is that we are to expect a richer blessing from sustaining grace than from the removal of the affliction. I pray that we all keep this doctrine close to our hearts.
Sovereignty of God
Finally, in this section of doctrine let’s see afresh the sovereignty of God, its riches and comforts, and not allow anyone or any other false religion, no matter how flattering it is, lure us away from our sovereign God.
Westminster Confession of Faith: Chapter III
I. God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel ofHis own free will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass....
Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 48; Q.A. 123
Q. What does the second request mean?
A. Rule us by Your Word and Spirit in such a way that more and more we submit to You.
God is ruler. When we say that God is our King, one ofthe things we are saying is that He has and will ordain whatever comes to pass. (a) God chooses the best time for correction, affliction or suffering [Isaiah 30:18; I Peter 5:6]. (b) God chooses the surest and gentlest means of correction, affliction or suffering.
In other words, whatever happens is the best way to achieve God’s desired result. Our Lord is King of kings, and He decrees ONLY what is best for us. We can either pitch a fit (as a child having a tantrum), escape the trial prematurely by claiming burnout, or another good modern tacticis to blame someone else for the trial. As Christians, though, the scales have fallen from our eyes, and we are able to see that our King is a gracious, loving king, and we can bend our knees in thankfulness that He will give us the grace and strength to endure.
Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day39; Q.A. 104
Q. What is God’s will for us in the fifth commandment?
A. That I honor, love and be loyal to my father and mother and all those in authority over me; that I obey and submit to them, as is proper, when they correct and punish me; and also that I be patient with their failings FOR THROUGH THEM GOD CHOOSES TO RULE US.
Please know and see with your hearts that it is out of God’s love for us thatthis life is filled with trials. Whetherthese trials come by way of situations situations, mind you, ALL under God’s supreme rulership—or by way of other peoples’ persecuting us, it doesn’t matter. It is all brought to us to deepen our loyalty to our King.
Listen to what Samuel Rutherford has to say:
I find it most true, that the greatest
temptation out of hell is to live without
temptations. If my waters
should stand, they would rot. Faith
is the better of the free air, and of
the sharp winter storm in its face.
GRACE WITHERS WITHOUT ADVERSITY
The devil is but God’s
master fencer, to teach us to handle
If we were to tell God how to rule us, would we really tell Him to “let our waters stand”? Would we really say that we don’t want adversity, that we would rather rot? Would we take the modernday “out” and in the middle of the fencing game with the devil, lay our weapons down, stomp out and exclaim,“Burnout”? Oh, I am not saying that we pray for and revel in adversity. However, is it possible to see the beauty in adversity, and to depend wholly on our sovereign Lord to do what His kingship deems best, all the while, being willing to be designed inwardly by the Creator of all? “O let my trembling soul be still And wait Thy wise, Thy holy will! I cannot, Lord, Thy purpose see, That all is well since ruled by Thee."
Before I continue, I want to make it very clear that I DO NOT MEAN TO DIMINISH IN ANY WAY ANY HARDSHIP OR TRIAL BY BEING CALLOUSED. I am only trying to show how we are being deceived by others in the managing of our hardships.
Now, with the self-esteem religion exposed in the light of Scripture and doctrine, we have the backdrop for understanding the deceptiveness of baggage, blame and burn-out.
The first catch word we hear is BAGGAGE. From it, we picture pieces ofluggage filled with clothes and necessities. Now, what does that have to do with our lives? What I mean by BAGGAGE is that we tend to carry around, neatly tucked and packed away, those things from the past, or even the present that have not been so pleasant, or that have been trying. We sometimes “unpack” those things, calling to mind the hurt they caused, the sadness, and the intense trial. By dwelling on the unpacked baggage, it incapacitates us in the carrying out ofthe work to which we are called.
That work is spelled out in Scripture. As ladies,we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are called to love our husbands and to be submissive to them. We are called to teach the younger women and to be taught by older women. We are called to be an example of the believers to our children, and to train them in the admonition of the Lord. Our whole lives are to be a life of service to our Redeemer and King.
Sin then enters onstage. There may have been in the recent or distant past abuse, over-bearingness, an unloving example; the list goes on. 1) This is a perfect time for us, as Christians to rely solely on the sustaining grace of God, realizing that His grace is sufficient and that our strength is made perfect in weakness. 2) This is an excellent time to place our faith in the providential care of our heavenly Father. 3) This is the time when we can delve into the ever healing attributes of God. 4) This is the time to obey God in all things, and to be still and see what God will do.
How many times I have heard how terrible this “disfunctional” home was, and that “disfunctional” family was. How many excuses I’ve heard over the years of “why I can’t be any better because my Mom...or my Dad...or I was raised with thus and thus....” Enough with the excuses alreadyl Remember the catechism? Lord’s Day 39; Q.A.104:
That I honor, love, and be loyal to my father and mother and all those in authority over me; that I obey and submit to them, as is proper, when they correct and punish me; and also that I be patient with their failings—FOR THROUGH THEM GOD
CHOOSES TO RULE US.
“Oh, but you don’t know what I had to endure....”
But what does God's Word say—Honor—Love—Be loyal—Obey—Submit—BE PATIENT! That’s it.
“But you don’t understand....”
Is God in control? Are you angry with God? Have you sought God through it all?
Have you found out if there is any sin in you? Have you done what God requires?
“You don’t understand....”
Do you continually slander your family members for all the hurtful things that have been done to you? Are you allowing these hurtful things to incapacitate you, or is your faith being built up in and through these things which have happened?
“But my family was so disfunctional....”
(Get ready; this is going to be a difficult pill to swallow.) From Adam and Eve to the present day, there has not been one family that hasn’t been, to some extent, some more than others, “disfunctional.” The reason? SIN. We all struggle with it, and we all commit it. God has planned to rule you through those He has placed in authority over you. Good or bad—God is still in control.
We are told today that it is only in having these unmet needs met that we will ever be able to be productive. What a boldfaced lie. It is only in our wretchedness and helplessness that we can see the One true Helper, the One true Redeemer. THAT is where our eyes need to be focused. Not on ourselves and our unmet needs, but on our Lord and Savior.
We do not need to have the baggage, unless it is a suitcase filled with testimony after testimony of God’s grace in the middle of the storms of life. THAT is what we are to be unpacking. Fix your eyes on the grace of God, and your life will be much more productive in the BAGGAGE area.
“Not what I wish, but what I lack, Oh let Thy grace supply. The good, unasked, in mercy grant; The ill, though asked, deny.” –Willliam Cowper
The next word, BLAME, we see happening all around us. It is a common, and in many cases, a quite acceptable response to life’s trials. Blame someone else. It absolves us of our guilt, and relieves us of any shame. This plays so well into Satan’s hand, as he does not want us to search our hearts to see if there is any evil way in us, repent of it, and follow Christ. What better way to devour families, marriages, friendships and the bride of Christ?
What I mean by blame is that I blame other people, circumstances, or situations beyond my control for my failures, my lack of carrying out my duty, or for my unhappiness or unfulfillment. In all of these examples, what is the singular constant? ME. I’m afraid the psychologists have blame all wrong. We do not have to fmd ways to live with so-and-so, nor do we have to fmd a way ofcontrolling such and such situation. We have to deal with ME (sinful, self-centered, selfish ME)!
Why is there so much divorce in the church? “Oh, you know, he doesn’t meet my needs anymore. I just fell out of love!”
ME. We have been so caught up in ourselves, so caught up in pleasing our selves. It’s easy to blame another—especially since no one is sinless. This is a subject many women do not want to discuss. Women are more than willing to discuss the failures of their husbands as spiritual leaders in the home. Women are more than willing to blame their husbands for a lack of love and attentiveness. Time and time again, I have heard women slaughter their husbands like a piece of meat over dinner. Now, we know that blaming is avoiding the real issue. That real issue is me. Ask these questions: 1) Am I living a life before the face of God? 2) Is my communion with God what it should be? 3) Am I the godly, submissive wife I know I should be? 4) Am I looking to God to meet my needs, or to my husband?
Why is there so much mudslinging in the homes? Because we are stuck on ME. If you fmd yourself slinging mud at your family, STOP. Open the Word of God and worry about how YOU have offended the holy God Almighty. Keep yourself in check; let God take care of the rest.
Yes, the people we love and care for ARE sinners. They are not perfect, sometimes FAR from perfect, but God WILL have His way. Rather than blaming others for your lack of spirituality, or for your inability to serve, MAKE USE ofthe trials which God brings your way. Grow in the knowledge of our Lord. Bask in the wonders of His attributes. Keep a journal of His grace to you day by day. Bend the knee to God in prayer: in confession and supplication. If there is a problem, submit to, help and honor your husband, honor your parents, love your enemy, esteem your fellow Christian better than yourself. Don't blame.
Blaming others only KEEPS us from a deeper knowledge of God’s grace and mighty acts in our lives. It obstructs our view of ourselves before God and our view of His glorious attributes. It is as if God has painted a beautiful picture of our lives. There are some dark shades portraying the sin which needs to be confessed. There are some lighter shades depicting the light of God’s grace, but all in all the painting is a masterpiece and intriguing to view. Every time we blame another person, it is as if we stroke at random a black blotch on the captivating portrait. It covers that which will enable us toenjoy the painting all the more. Soon we will see little, or none of our sin. We will see little or none of God’s glory. We only see that our lives are a black blotch, and that it is someone else’s fault.
Itis time to take our doctrine seriously. Know full well that it is because our God provides for us that “we can be patientwhen things go against us, thankfulwhen things go well.” It is time that wetake our Bibles seriously and DO whatit says to do, as it says in Psalm 51:17: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart.” Notice it does not say that it is our job to humble someone else for their sin, but rather to humble ourselves before God. It is pasttime that we take our relationship withour Lord seriously. Christianity is not merely a convenience. Do we work on our offenses before God rather than worry about another’s offenses against us?
Let’s take the turpentine out and erase the black blotches that make us “feel better” about ourselves by covering our sin. Eradicate the blemishes which obscurethe glory of our Heavenly Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Eliminate all blame of anyone or anything else in your life which will cloak the true peace and comfort you can have.
Finally, let’s look at BURN-OUT. The saying used to be for the Christian, “I’d rather burn-out for Christ than rust out.” What a change of attitude we have had! Our thoughts once again have all been twisted and turned, as if we were being spun around blind-folded for a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey game. We now are taught to focus on OUR needs, OUR wants, OUR desires, rather than God’s wants, God’s desires, and the ways in which He wills to use us.
This is NOT to say that there are not periods of time when we are worn out and physically need rest. Christ, Himself,needed to leave the crowd and rest. If we look at Elijah's life in I Kings 19, we see that he needed rest and nourishment following God's Mount Carmel miracle. He was so burned-out that he wanted to die! Look what God does. He allows him repose under a broom tree. He provides sustenance, and more rest. Then Elijah makes clear his complaint and God makes very apparent to Elijah His inexhaustible power. Elijah still is not impressed and grumbles the same lament. What is God's cure for Elijah’s burn-out? Put him to work. Serve. Do God’s will. Obey. Yes, there are times when the body needs a rest from the stres-ses of those things to which God has called us, but we are not to terminate our service for Christ.
I have heard different descriptions of burn-out. When some describe it, the word “discontent” comes to my mind as an expression which could replace the word burn-out. Example:
“I’m burned-out in this marriage.
I’ve given all I can. I can’t give any
In other words, this person has abandoned all trust in a sovereign, providential, all-powerful God to do His perfect will in and through this marriage. Discontentment has taken root and chokedall hope and trust in the Lord. That discontentment lies ultimately with the Lord where He has placed you, or with whom He has placed you, or in the situation He has placed you. You do not agree with the Lord, and you lay the blame on Him.
Now you are “burned-out,” and because ofyour strangling discontentment with the Lord, you are like a withered rose-bush,with little nourishment coursing through your shriveled veins. And each ray of sun,or blessing from our Lord which does reach you, scorches what little moisture is left. Yes, I suppose that would be a picture of “burn-out.” BUT, my dear friends, the only answer in this case is to humbly deal with the cause of the withering, which is not the sun drying you out, or the lack of moisture.
In other words, it is NOT the daily blessings or trials of the Lord which He showers on you that is the cause of this withering. These blessings or trials are put into your life IN ORDER to cause you to seek His face in repentance and in gratefulness. So many a woman’s answer to burn-out is, “Leave! Head for the hills! Take root in the shade! This trial is too steep. This sun is too hot!” No. Rather, take refuge in the ONLY ONE, your heavenly Father. “Seek Me and live.” God promises to sustain you. Lean on Him.
Nor does the problem originate in that the Lord has not supplied enough water for you. Remember, He knows what your needs are and those needs will be met in Him. The problem is discontent and pride. You know better. You have a better idea HOW this marriage should be. SIN is at the root and it needs to be dug up in the light of God's Word, and destroyed by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.
If you are a wife and a mother, and you fInd yourself in a period in which the undertoe is powerful, and youare struggling to keep your head above water, remember the well-loved hymn:
Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rocks and treacherous shoal;
Chart and compass come from Thee
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
In all, Satan would deceive us. Through this self-esteem, needs-oriented religion, he would have us take our eyes off the sustaining grace of God to discourage us. He wants to conceal from us the truth of our sin and the truth of our God’s attributes todeceive us. He wants to divert us from the path offervent service to which God has called us, to the path of self-seeking destruction in order to hinder the workof the Lord. My plea to you is to understand the destructiveness of the root cause of baggage, blame and burn-out,and to keep a sharp eye out for the pitfalls which so easily tempt us. Remember the words of Paul in I Corinthians. Because of Christ, we will never be distressed, in despair, forsaken, or destroyed. God promises. Take comforti n your God who brings about all things for our good.
Mrs. Arrick is the Wife of Rev. Steve Arrick, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Hudsonville, ML She is a graduateof Clearwater Christian College, Clearwater, FL, and homeschools her six children.