Have you ever felt drained and worn-out serving the Lord? Useless in what you do? Serving in your own strength will eventually bring spiritual, mental, and physical exhaustion. But when you help others using your spiritual gifts with the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, you are not washed-out or drained. You are continually filled with God’s supernatural resources. As you give away what you have received from Jesus, you overflow with more of Him. The litmus test as to whether you will burn out or not is whose strength you are relying on—yours or His.
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts,” Paul wrote, “but the same Spirit is the source of them all (1 Corinthians 12:4, NLT). The Holy Spirit is the source of our spiritual giftedness, so when we attempt to serve without His guidance and His power, we ultimately burn out. We can not empower ourselves. There is no spiritual fulfillment in self-empowered work, which glorifies us. The only glory and joy and satisfaction we experience comes when we allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us, empowering us beyond our limitations.
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts,” Peter declared. “Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen (1 Peter 4:10-11, NLT).
Use your gift well to serve one another, Peter says! But do it with the strength and energy God supplies. And then it will bring glory to God through the power of Christ, who works in us by the power of the Holy Spirit! Yes, use your gifts in service, but use them in His guidance and strength where you will be continually filled with His grace instead of being emptied by your own inadequacies.
“Be filled with the Holy Spirit,” Paul wrote (Ephesians 5:18, NLT). The instruction to "be filled" is in the past progressive tense. This tense indicates continuing action and also something that has happened in the past. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not a one-time action. It is something that has happened and continues to happen. If you have received the Holy Spirit and are not continually filled with the Spirit, then you begin to serve in your strength and from your resources. The Holy Spirit flowing through us, directing us, empowering us, loving through us, is necessary to live a Spirit-filled life, which does not burn out.
The night before His crucifixion, Jesus told the disciples that He must go to the Father for the Holy Spirit to come. Right before Jesus ascended to the Father, He instructed the disciples to stay and wait for the Holy Spirit. “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven” (Luke 24:49, NLT)
The disciples waited for the Holy Spirit to come, and when He came, they were all filled to overflowing with His power. That weakened little band of disciples who had lost their Master were no longer powerless. They had received the Holy Spirit. And they would go in His power to share Jesus’ message with the world.
Have you embraced a personal Pentecost and received the indwelling of His Spirit? Do you continually yield to be filled? You don’t have to make anything happen. You don’t make yourself perfect. You don’t fix anything. The Holy Spirit does the work in you and through you.
Pray. Seek Him. Read His Word. Receive His divine revelation. Listen to His voice. Praise Him. Receive whatever He chooses to give you. Allow Him to move and empower you. Use the spiritual gifts He has given you under His direction and in His power. You will continually be filled to overflowing.
You don’t have to burn out for Jesus to prove you love Him. Grace is about His love for you. You serve in His power and with His grace—lest you boast of your own service. You serve in His power, and with His grace—lest you get comfortable with your own resources.
Let go and let Jesus have you—all of you —your life is His. Allow the Holy Spirit to fill you continually. There is no joy or fulfillment like His grace setting you free from your own limitations to receive all He wishes to give you.
©2020 Lynn Lacher