I had noticed the past couple of weeks that I felt more tired than normal. True, I had a touch of the flu to deal with. True, I had the death of a close friend that was incredibly painful. True, there is always something going on that can steal my joy and rob my strength if I let it. That is the key...if I let it.
I found myself feeling more stressed. More frustrated. My patience was at an all time low. I had little tolerance for others; especially those people who drive like idiots...right, you know what I mean. I found myself lacking in love for my family, for my community, for myself. I felt at an all time low and realized that I was bankrupt. I was spiritually bankrupt. What was coming in was much less that what was going out and it was wearing me down.
Bankruptcy is a last resort when you owe more than you can pay back. You are in the red and see no way back into the black. For some it is the result of foolish spending habits. For some it is because of an unforeseen illness or debt that comes out of nowhere. Regardless of the cause, you come to realize that the inflow is never going to match the outflow unless changes are made.
I had come to the point of being so influenced by the events going on around me that I was not influencing what was going on inside of me. I was in a tizzy from all the external pressures and wasn't caring for the internal part of me.
Just as I said above about financial bankruptcy, there are many reasons we become spiritually bankrupt. It can be because we become so overwhelmed by all the stresses of day to day living. It can be due to grief or illness. It can be due to relational problems.
There are many causes, but there is only one relief.
In financial bankruptcy you file and then it takes a long time to build yourself back up again. It takes a minimum of 7 years for you to even be able to start to build your credit up again and that is a hard battle. You deal with the fact that businesses don't want to give you credit. You deal with the shame and frustration regardless of the cause.
When you feel spiritually bankrupt it is different. You have help and relief at hand immediately. You don't have to go before a God who stands there in a black robe with a gavel in His hand. You don't have to feel embarrassment and mortification. You don't have to squirm as you wait on a decision. The moment you cry out to Father God, He is there. He is there to bring comfort and strength and refreshment. He is there to gather you into His arms and provide all you need. There is no waiting 7 years for alleviation of what has been taxing you. You don't have to prove that you are capable of handling this fresh influx of love. You don't have to slowly build up to having the capacity to be filled again. Your reprieve is immediate and instantaneous.
So how do you keep from coming to the point of spiritual bankruptcy? Every morning you wake up grateful for who God is and what He desires to do in your life. You spend time in prayer, not just asking for things, but thanking Him for all He has already done. You take time to study His word and find wisdom and guidance that you cannot get anywhere else. You set time aside for worship and praise. Listen to music that will lift you up and edify you. Cultivate relationships that bring you closer to the Lord. Put aside those things that hinder you and seek His peace and joy.
"So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us." (Romans 8:31-39, The Message)
There is nothing that can take us out of God's hands. There is nothing that can steal His love for us. There is nothing too hard for Him. If He could watch His own Son die for us, do you think He cannot look on our weaknesses and our sins and our mistakes? All forgiveness was provided on the cross; once, for all.
Truly nothing can foreclose on His love. Nothing can deprive us from His tenderness towards us. Nothing can prevent us from running to His arms. We are the only ones who can bring any distance between ourselves and God. And even then I believe He lines things up to bring us back to that fellowship with Him.
We get caught up in the cares of this world and as we do that it is like a hose that is kinked. The flow slowly dwindles and then can slow to just a dribble. We get caught up in the stress. We get entrenched in our frustrations and anger. We get sucked into depression and sadness. We feel as though we are in a pit of quicksand. We feel there is no way out. But there is One.
We are weak in and of ourselves. We will be bankrupt of love and joy and peace without Him. But He gave all that we would have all; all joy, all peace, all love, all fulfillment, all comfort, all strength. How, you ask?
Instead of filing for spiritual bankruptcy, stake your claim on the One who loves you with an everlasting love.
Instead of filing chapter 7, 11 or 13, file these chapters and verses away in your heart.
Jeremiah 31:3, "God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!" (The Message)
John 3:16, "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." (The Message)
2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17a, "Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace comfort your hearts." (ASV)
Bank on these promises and you will be in the black by the red of His blood.