I have counseled thousands of men and women, and I can tell you with utter confidence—both from their experiences and my own—that whatever else the enemy brings against you, he will always bring with it a feeling of I don’t want to fight this. This feeling is called ennui, a weariness of spirit, a malaise, that sense of I just don’t want to fight anymore. This is Kierkegaard’s sickness unto death, by which he meant “intensified doubt, super-doubt, mega-doubt.”(Charles Bellinger, Summary of Kierkegaard's The Sickness Unto Death)
And this feeling is not your true heart.
Friends, this is so helpful to understand: that weariness you’re feeling, that Not now; maybe later, that sense of being overwhelmed, that Why bother? Who cares?—this is the enemy, not you. When you know that, you’re much better prepared against it. You can more clearly choose to resist. I reject this feeling of Why bother? Who cares? and I reject this feeling that I don’t even want to fight. I do! I choose the strength that prevails! I don’t want to be one of those folks who get taken out at the end.
Some people seem born with a greater measure of resilience. John Muir certainly was. He would leave camp before dawn with nothing more than a hunk of bread in his pocket and hike for thirty miles. The Comfort Culture doesn’t exactly foster that kind of physical and mental toughness!
But resilience is also something that is bestowed, something imparted by God into our frail humanity. That’s truly good news.
“My strength is gone,” [Daniel said,] “and I can hardly breathe.” Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened. (Daniel 10:17–19)
The first fruit of katischuó (the strength that prevails) is the ability to not give up. It imbues us with that Churchillian grit: Never surrender; never give up! The strength that prevails—this mighty, combative warrior-strength—first comes to us simply as the strength not to quit. Because when you’re tired, when you’re beat up, you just want relief—a bag of chips, a bottle of wine, to lie on the couch and binge on Netflix. Jesus urges us to be on our guard, “so that your hearts will not be weighed down. … praying that you will have strength to escape all these things” (Luke 21:34, 36 NASB).
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