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  • Writer's picturesonnyholmes


Two words are vying for seniority in my seasonal vocabulary right now. Yours too, if I'm guessing. They are distinctives of our physical and mental state about this time every year. One is the word "tired". It's the end result when our physical resources are drained. We're intimately familiar with being "tired" because it defines us by the end of every busy day. This sensation, tiredness, happens in warp-speed mega-bytes as gears turn faster and mesh harder during the hyper-active holiday season. By the 22nd of December each year most of us are just plain tired.

Then there's "weary". The people in the English Department tend to make "tired" and "weary" more or less synonymous, both registering degrees of physical exhaustion. But, in my book, especially as referenced in the New Testament, "weary" is more a mental or emotional state, being worn beyond physical depletion to the point of dissatisfaction. In some Bible passages the idea of being "weary" is linked to a severe emotional decline, as in losing heart or losing the will to continue. It's a visible weight during the holiday season too, causing many people to experience what could only be termed a broken Christmas. it's kind of the "what's the use" syndrome so characteristic of going through the holly jolly motions of our consumer culture.

The biblical cure for tired is "rest". Throughout Scripture God's people are enjoined to find times of physical recovery. God assigned rest to the Sabbath and gave his people governance that clearly marked the boundaries of work and rest on God's Sabbath. Someone has counted and the idea of rest is mentioned somewhere close to 500 times in the various translations of the Bible. It is an important concept, the idea that mere humans function best when their bodies and minds and spirits are rested.

The counterpoint for weariness is spiritual renewal. Once again, being renewed in mind and spirit is a strong biblical consideration. Of the many Scriptures that reference personal renewal, my favorite is 2 Corinthians 4. It is a chapter of God's Word that my mother loved to have read to her when she was dealing with the debilitating effects of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. it is a section of Scripture that deals with weariness, or the danger of losing heart.

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart...But

we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs

to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed,

but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not

destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus

may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over

to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our

mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you...So we do not lose heart.

Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory

beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the

things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things

that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:1, 7-12, 16-18, ESV

It is interesting that The Apostle Paul used the root word most often translated "weary" as the formulation for the phrase "we do not lose heart." To become weary in a biblical sense is to lose heart, that is, to lose the desire to continue. The central idea is, "Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day". It makes me say "wow" at God's provision for us.

So, how does this renewal take place? Once again, the writing of the Apostle Paul puts spiritual renewal in context---

Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and

is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of

your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of

God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:22-24, ESV

Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the

image of its creator.

Colossians 3:10, ESV

In my mind, this kind of renewal is the putting off of our old self and the putting on of our new self in Christ. And, this new self, righteous and holy, is obedient. Obedience is our greatest avenue to personal renewal.

Which brings me to several commands about becoming weary. Paul wrote them too.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do

not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and

especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:9-10, ESV

As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.

2 Thessalonians 3:13, ESV

Are you in a seasonal funk? Are you tired, and weary? Have you lost heart, even for just a moment? Here's a way to mend what may be a broken Christmas for you. Go and do something good for someone else, maybe someone not on your Christmas gift list. Don't talk about it or tell anyone. It will supercharge you emotionally and spiritually and renew you in a way you wouldn't expect.

Merry Christmas!

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