Everyone gets tired from time to time. Often tiredness leads to exhaustion. When exhaustion is full and there ’s still work to be done, it can lead to burnout. With burnout comes an increased distance from job or family responsibilities, negativity, cynicism, and an abiding feeling of needful change. The thought is that if I move, or change jobs, or drastically change immediate things in my life, I’ll be renewed and no longer feel like giving up. Solomon would say, this “is vanity and striving after the wind” (Eccl. 2:11).
I believe more people are bordering on burnout than ever before. The toll of the last several strenuous years have left many with an emptiness and banality that they alone cannot grasp or manage. We ’ve burned out in many cases. Yet, what God ’s word says to people like us is, “don ’t give up! Keep going!”
When faced with persecution and hardship for simply being Christians, many Jews who embraced Jesus at first found themselves longing for the “easier” and “less wearisome” path of Judaism. The Hebrews writer counsels them their weariness to NEVER consider giving up their hope and confidence obtained through Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:35 -39). In chapter 12, he gives several practical things to look at when perseverance is hard:
Look around (12:1a). The witnesses of those who lived faithfully stand as encouragements of people who, by faithfulness, made it through their own times when they wanted to give up (reread Heb. 11).
Look at yourself (12:1b). There may be things you are carrying that are sinful that are tripping you up. There are also things that you ’re carrying that may not be sinful, but are weighing you down. Give those things up! What do I need to change to persevere (2 Cor. 13:5)?
Look at Jesus (12:2 -4). Remember Jesus persevered when He was facing perhaps the most brutal way man has ever invented to kill another. He wanted to do anything but (Matt. 26:39). Yet, He persevered through the cross and became the example “lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (12:3).
Look at the trial itself (12:5 -12). What you are facing and going through, God purposes to refine your character (Jas. 1:2 -4). Stay faithful through the difficulty. Don ’t give up, don ’t give in! Remember God is with you!
I think Hebrews 12:12 -13 ought to be written on our mirrors every morning. God who works through pain will bring healing if we stick it out! Don ’t give up! Keep going! With Him, the best is yet to be!