God Breathes When I'm Exhausted

Dr. Jon Morrissette - 5/3/2020

Hello everyone. Thanks for joining us online! This spring is all about our
relationship with the Holy Spirit. Throughout scripture, the Holy Spirit is
considered the “breath” or “wind” of God. This image doesn’t imply that God’s
Spirit is some kind of an impersonal force of nature (i.e. like gravity). God’s Spirit is
personal, divine. He isn’t an “It,” but a “Him.” The Holy Spirit dwells in eternal
community with the Father/Son. He has intelligence, emotions, thoughts, and
feelings. He comforts, encourages, helps, counsels, leads, convicts, gives gifts. He
can be grieved, resisted, quenched, disobeyed.

We are to have as much a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit as with
the Father and God’s One/Only Son Jesus. In the gospels, the Apostle’s physical,
face-face relationship with Jesus is central. In Acts, in the Epistles, New
Testament… their relationship w/the Holy Spirit becomes central. Jesus has
ascended to the right hand of God… and the Holy Spirit has descended to dwell
within men, and take up residence in our bodies, by faith. We’ve learned so much
about having a relationship with Jesus but so little about loving God’s Holy Spirit.

Today I want to talk about how God Breathes… When I Am Exhausted. I
am kind of curious. How many of you would say you are “more” exhausted than
you were a month ago? How many “less” exhausted?

Some of you have told me how refreshed you feel, just unplugging from the
rat race. You’ve turned the TV off. You’re enjoying time w/family. You’re cooking
healthy meals, exercising, knocking out that honey-do list and those home
projects. You’ve dug out the board games, tackled multiple one-thousand piece
puzzles, been reading more, taking walks, resting well... maybe for you this whole
thing has been like an extended Sabbath, a long needed rest/vacation? I have a
neighbor who started coloring every brick on the front of their house using
different color chalk! It’s pretty impressive!

Of course, some of you aren’t feeling refreshed at all. If you’re working on
the front lines of this pandemic as a medical professional. If you’re an essential
worker. If you’re a business owner or manager, and your doors are shut. If you’re a
parent juggling work, and e-learning, Zoom meetings, restless kids and increasing
family tension. If you have loved ones who’ve become sick, or are at risk, or have
isolated themselves for safety. If you have lost income, and are struggling to figure
things out. If you’re someone dealing with marital conflict, rambunctious kids. You
aren’t refreshed at all, you’re distressed! You’re tired, exhausted, beat, drained,
wiped out… worried, anxious! You’re doing everything you can just to function.

Two Types of Exhaustion. What does it mean for us to say, “God Breathes…
When I’m Exhausted?” We experience exhaustion in two very distinct ways. There
is “physical/outer” exhaustion, and there is also “inner/spiritual” exhaustion. This
isn’t something we always think about, yet we are profoundly affected by both
types. Let’s consider a couple of verses.

In 2 Corinthians 4:16. Paul says, “Therefore we do not give up. Even though our
outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.” The
NIV translation says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are
wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” There is a enormous
difference between being physical and spiritual exhaustion. Most of us can cope
with being physically tired. But its quite another thing to be spiritually drained!
When were spiritually refreshed we’re an unstoppable force for good and for God.

Or how about 1 Timothy 4:7-8. Paul says, “. . . train yourself in godliness. For
the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way,
since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Here again we
see this dichotomy between the physical and spiritual.

PHYSICAL TRAINING certainly has value. Think about what happens when
you physically train. You are exerting your body, stretching ligaments, tearing
down and rebuilding muscle tissue, building up lung capacity. The most oxygen
your lungs can breathe in, and the more oxygen your heart can pump to every cell
in your body, the stronger you become!

Many of you know Steve & Christie Helms son, Daniel. Daniel is an elite
athlete. In JH, he was barely familiar with weights. Once his dad made him squat
135 pounds, and it brought him to tears. [Just trying to stand up without
assistance brings me to tears]. In HS, the intensity of his workouts grew, depending
on the season, or the sport he was playing. He learned to work opposing muscle
groups. He learned how certain reps can build mass, or strength or endurance. He
really thought he hit the weights hard!

Then came college. Daniel played for Tennessee, and later Duke University.
The intensity of workout grew exponentially! He had to lift daily. Trainer’s pushed
his muscles even past the point of failure. He had to compete with guys 3-4 years
older, and far stronger. He had to work with nutritionists to set goals, and optimize
his diet for energy, performance, recovery. In the NFL, the focus is on staying
healthy, optimizing your strength, while pushing through injury/pain! When he is
healthy, Daniel can now squat 484 lbs. Not 485, just 484. Far cry from 135!

Paul says physical training is of some value. God gives each of us just one
life to live. We are to be the very finest stewards of our bodies, of our health. We
don’t have to become elite athletes, but we do need to eat properly, stay
hydrated, rest well, stay active, get exercise, stretch, watch our calories, stay
sober. Pumping our bodies full of chemicals, toxins, drugs, smoke. Not managing
stress properly. Not taking proper medications that are needed. The Bible is full of
practical wisdom about taking care of yourself. We should want to serve God with
these bodies into very old age. Our physical body isn’t inconsequential!

However, there is something even greater, and that’s training for godliness.
Outwardly this body could very well be wasting away, while paradoxically,
inwardly, we’re being renewed and strengthened. What does it mean for God’s
Spirit to Breathe on us, and strengthen us, from within even though outwardly
we’re exhausted?

In the NAVY SEALS, they teach warriors how to tap into their TACTICAL
RESERVES. Given a task, every single person holds back 5-10-15-20% of their
capability. For example, from wherever you’re watching, reach your hand as high
as you can into the air. Okay, now reach even higher… That difference is your
tactical reserve. Your brain is hardwired to hold back just enough should you get in
a bad situation.

From time to time, people perform SUPERNATURAL feats of strength. A
child is trapped, and the adrenaline kicks in, and a mother out bench presses and
out-squats Daniel Helm to lift a car, or tree, or bend steel, or some chunk of debris
to save a loved one.

In the Bible, there are countless examples where God by his Spirit,
MIRACULOUSLY endows a person with physical strength to slay lions, or bears, or
giants, or armies. Cue up Gideon, Samson, King David! These are extraordinary
stories, where God was anointing a particular person, at a particular time/place, to
accomplish his purpose/plan.

When the Bible Talks about God’s Holy Spirit “strengthening us”
, it doesn’t have physical discipline, tactical reserves, an adrenaline rush, some mind over
matter technique, or us demonstrating some miraculous display of physical
strength (not that God can’t, or doesn’t or won’t, he’s still God). But my point is
the Bible has something much different in mind.

Yet another verse for us to consider is Ephesians 3:14-21. Paul says, “For
this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth
is named.  I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be
strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit”

This is the kind of strength/power that most matters. This is the kind of
strength/power that God most readily gives, and that we can ask for anytime,
anywhere in prayer. This is the kind of strength/power that God is most glorified
by. God isn’t so glorified by our physical discipline, when we tap into our tactical
reserves, by our adrenaline. God doesn’t typically enable us miraculously—a
miracle is a miracle because its rare in occurrence. But what God does do
each/every time we ask, is strengthen us inwardly!

Okay, so how do we know when God is strengthening us inwardly? What
does it look like? What’s different about it? First, inner strengthening looks
exactly like faith.
Let’s continue. Ephesians 3:17, Paul says I pray “. . . that Christ
may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Okay right now were in the midst of a
pandemic. We’re “pan”icked about our “dem”ise. We’re pandemicked. Strength is
trusting God’s promises, and obeying God’s word, it continuing to exercise faith
while everyone else is panicking. Everyone’s freaked out… but what about you?
God, I’m trusting you to provide for my every need. God, I’m trusting you to protect
my family. God, I’m trusting your eternal promises.

Second, inner strengthening looks exactly like love. Let’s continue.
Ephesians 3:18-19, Paul says, “I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in
love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width,
height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ever notice how when we’re
physically exhausted it brings out the worst in us? When God strengthens us by his
Holy Spirit, everything, even a nasty pandemic, even a recession, even a great
depression, even calamity and death, brings out God’s character (Christ’s love) in
us! Think about it. As everyone becomes more fearful, greedy, self-protective. . .

those with Christ's love through self-sacrifice, and generosity, shine like stars in darkened universe!

Third, inner strengthening looks exactly like hope. Ephesians 3:20-21 Paul
says, “20 Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think
according to the power that works in us— 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ
Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

We all know the limits of our physical strength. Physical training has
advantages, but those advantages are temporal, and short-lived, their quite
fleeting. Outwardly, our physical strength is wasting away. The physical strength
this world seeks, and men glory in, only carries us so far. But when God
strengthens us by his Holy Spirit, it brings about something transcendent,
something lasting, something eternal, that outlives generations, that lives on
forever and ever! Most of the things we spend our physical energy on die with us.
But the strength God gives us enables us to be part of things that glorify Christ for
all eternity.

Real quick, lets go back to 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. I purposely did not read
verses 17-18. “Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being
destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.” [BUT LOOK! INNER
STRENGTHENING LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE HOPE] “17 For our momentary light affliction
is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not
focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is
unseen is eternal.”

Let’s look back at 1 Timothy 4:8-10. I purposely did not read verses 9-10.
“For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way,
since it holds promise for the present life and also for. . .[SAY IT!!!] the life to come.” “
This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. For this reason we labor and
strive, because we have put our [SAY IT!!!] hope in the living God, who is the Savior of
all people, especially of those who believe.”

I assure you that God wants you to be physically strengthened. It’s already
within our ability to be physical strengthened. In fact, you probably already know
what you need to better take care of yourself. But let’s not fail in this season, to
ask, to seek, to invite God’s SPIRIT to breathe on our exhausted souls:

  • God, strengthen our bodies. May your grace shine despite our weakness.
  • God, strengthen our hearts with faith to serve, to obey, to trust, to follow, to
    take hold of every one of your promises.
  • God, strengthen our spirits to love with Christ’s kind of sacrificial, other-centered love.

            Let us now grow weary doing good, but excel in love!

  • God, strengthen our minds to not lose sight of our eternal calling, your eternal
    purposes, your eternal glory, the unseen, the everlasting.

[Read Ephesians 3:14-21]

Scripture Verses

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 1 Timothy 4:7-10, Ephesians 3:14-21,

Worship Playlist

Call Upon the Lord by Elevation Worship

Great Are You Lord by All Sons & Daughters

Awake My Soul by Chris Tomlin

Sons & Daughters by North Point Worship

Study Questions

1. What are you dealing with that exhausts you? What are you not doing or facing that may be contributing to your exhaustion?

2. Which of the scripture passages in this week’s sermon were most helpful to you? Explain why.

3. How does a Christian plug in the inner strength God provides? How does this inner strength enliven and energize us?

4. Ask God to reorder your body, heart, spirit, and mind as he strengthens you with power. What specific thing(s) do you plan to do this week to pursue the revitalization found through the Spirit?

Exhaustion. Tiredness. Fatigue. God has a cure for our weariness. He prescribes that we abide in Him to heal our exhausted souls. To abide means to last or endure. It means to stay, to continue, to dwell. Could it be that we are exhausted because we neglect the Holy Spirit within us? If you would like times of refreshing, take steps to open yourself to the Holy Spirit. Read God’s Word each day. Pause to reflect and listen. Confess your sin. Set some regular moments throughout the day to acknowledge the Holy Spirit and listen for His guidance. God provides inner strengthening through: Faith, Hope, Love.

Goal: I am becoming a Spirit-led person, daily seeking the leading and power of God's Spirit as a means of transformation, instead of relying on myself.

Apply It!