Grace as Promised

“Do you suffer from burnout?”
“Five signs to tell you are near burnout.”
“How to prevent burnout in your job.”

These phrases are everywhere I look! Ministry blogs, leadership articles, tweets and statuses and whatever have you, the term ‘burnout’ is overwrought with a variety of meaning and circumstances and reasons and justifications. Let’s just be honest…burnout happens when we worship our own activity instead of God. . Point blank. End of story. So what next?

Once you grasp the truth of why you are feeling burnout, you can see your part, then you can begin to see that it was probably inevitable. Burnout is sometimes the only way for us to fall on our knees and see the difference between our works and God’s grace.

The Big Book of A.A. describes what is called ‘The Promises’.

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace…we will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Sounds great to me! But two sentences later…”They [the promises] will always materialize if we work for them.” This is a misnomer. Don’t get me wrong- there are action steps we need to take in order to fully accept God’s promises for our lives, in order to accept the abundance he has promised. Evergreen is launching a faith-based recovery ministry on October 30 so we can teach the actions steps but to always remember, God gave us Jesus. We often forget the importance of this sacrifice. We misunderstand the grace given to us in this one act.

Maybe we don’t realize the longing in our deepest desires is a longing for God, the hole we are trying to fill with earthly things is really our desire to know Him, we want to feel unconditional love. So we try to earn God’s grace. Many of us have never witnessed or felt true agape love, it always had conditions set. Attention from parents only if the grades were good (or only when they were bad!) The boy who is sooo cute will like you only if you do what all the other girls do. Friends will value you only if you dress, talk, act a certain way.

The truth of the matter is I can control my actions better than I can control love, this is why I get stuck in self-reliance and not God-reliance. No good activity, no good deeds, no set of rules will ever satisfy the longing for God. But good news! Our works can come from a simple loving response to God’s grace! Although even then it is not of us; Agape love can burst through us but is not of us. This concept can give us peace that we can work in reverence and praise to God, but do not need to work FOR His love and salvation. The longer you spend with God, the easier it is to wrap the brain around God’s grace. Wow, could that be the prevention to burnout we are looking for?

The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.-2Corinthians 13:14 (msg)


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