Jun 20, 2010


God may call us to a fast, but He never calls us to a famine. A fast is denying your needs for a limited time; a famine is denying your needs for too long.

Although He often calls people to fast, I can't find a single instance in Scripture of God calling someone to a famine.

Sometimes we are serving God when our lives are filled with good things, and sometimes we give so much we find ourselves in a state of emotional famine, more commonly known as burnout. There are two things to realize when you are in a famine. First, God will provide for you and restore you (Psalm 37:18-19). Second He didn't call you there.

There are various reasons we give too much. One of the more troublesome is described in Romans 9:31-32: "Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone ..." The stumbling stone is Christ. They didn't realize that righteousness (being a good person) comes from faith in Christ and His work on the cross and not from anything we do. They were working to be acceptable to God--something we still do today--and the result can be burnout.

Perhaps you are involved in a lot of things at work, but there is a new need with no one to fill it. You volunteer for "just one more thing" that gets your life off balance. Now you are staying up late working to fill that need and skipping meals. After a while you begin to lose interest in life and your job becomes drudgery. There isn't time to see friends or recharge. If this was just for a couple of weeks to do a special project you could consider that a fast. But if it is ongoing, you're in a famine and you need to find a way out.

If you find yourself burned out, ask yourself if you have created a personal famine. Renew your faith in Christ, receive his restoration, and start over again by walking in the Spirit instead of living by your own human efforts. Before you take on more responsibility be sure God is calling you. Prune away the things in life that are your own invention and follow Christ.

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