Are you wondering what is the key to victory in spiritual warfare? If you’ve been fighting spiritual battles—especially if they have been prolonged—there is something crucial to your well-being that you probably don’t realize right now.
You need to take a step back from the spiritual and take care of the physical first.
Biblical Examples of Exhaustion
Often when we go through a prolonged battle, we can become so focused on “winning” the spiritual battle through prayer, fasting, and declaring God’s Word, that we deplete our minds and bodies. What we’re doing isn’t working—not because God doesn’t want to answer our prayers, but because God is waiting for us to take care of the physical first. Then we can get our minds and hearts in a good place to be ready to receive His victory and His blessings.
When David was effectively exiled because of Absalom’s rebellion, we find two times that he and his men were completely exhausted even though they hadn’t engaged in any form of physical battle yet.
The king asked Ziba, “Why have you brought these?”
Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the wilderness.”(2 Samuel 16:2 NIV)
When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows’ milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, “The people have become exhausted and hungry and thirsty in the wilderness.”(2 Samuel 17:27-29 NIV)
In these instances, the king and his men are basically under siege and on the run. Yet we don’t see God leading the people to call for a fast or make sacrifices or do any other spiritual exercise to seek His favor. Instead, God seems to be focused at this point on taking care of their physical needs and their mental and emotional well-being. It’s tough to be a good soldier or general when you are completely exhausted and depleted.
Spiritual Battles Take a Physical and Emotional Toll
There are other good examples, like how Elijah became exhausted after defeating the prophets of Baal. He won that battle in dramatic fashion, but he was so exhausted that one little comment from Jezebel made him ask God to take his life. And what does God do in that case?
He didn’t tell Elijah to start right away praying harder or being more focused in worship. He literally made Elijah take a nap and eat. Then he made him do both again.
God’s Spirit certainly empowers us to do things that are beyond our normal capability. His anointing can keep us energized and working in our calling well beyond what is natural. But no matter who you are or what kind of anointing is on your life, eventually battles will wear on you. I know this because Scripture tells us that we must renew our own strength.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.(Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)
If you don’t have hope in the Lord, you will give up and walk away from Him. You’ll walk away from His promises and His mission for you. But if you still have hope in Him, you won’t give up and walk away. Instead, you’ll find a way to renew your strength.
Renewing Your Strength
God gave strength to Elijah when he was exhausted. But even with an angel involved, Elijah being refreshed required two naps and two meals. If you have been in a prolonged battle, please consider the possibility that you need to take a step back from the battle, rest, and get refreshed.
If the battle has been long, you may be in a chronic state of stress, unrest, and even depression without even realizing it. You may have even come to believe that this is a normal mode of operation while serving the Lord. But it’s not. You need to get healthy.
Maybe you need a vacation immediately, or at least some significant time off of work. Stop trying to be a spiritual superman. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help anyone else. And you may cause yourself some serious problems. Like Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 7:16, “Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself?”
Taking Care of Your Physical Needs First
You may need some help with your body and brain chemistry. Stress produces chemical reactions in the body that are hard to switch off. If you’re in chronic anxiety and worry, there are foods and supplements that can help. GABA, L-Tryptophan (and 5-HTP), and L-Theanine are great supplements that help many people with stress and sleeplessness.
Fenugreek, Ashwaghanda Root, and St. John’s Wort can help with stress and moods during the day. All of those things are available at Walmart for very low cost. There are a lot of other vitamins and supplements out there that might help. God created these things for a reason.
If you’re suffering from depression, chronic stress, worry, sleeplessness, and fatigue, talk to a doctor and then give one or more of these supplements a try. It’s important to talk to a doctor because some herbal supplements can interact with prescription medications. Your doctor may have some other options that would work for you too. For those wanting more detailed information about the supplements mentioned, Dr. Don Colbert, a well-known Christian doctor, has plenty of information about these supplements in his books, podcasts, and articles. Here is a link to one such article on his website.
The point is, you must prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. You’ll still worship, praise, pray, and declare God’s promises over your life. But you’ll be doing it from a place of rest and trust, which just might be your key to victory!
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