We don’t get too far on empty, unless we want to push the car.
If we love, it will be expressed in actions. We know what some of those actions will be; we know what love looks like in practice.
But it is so easy to fall into doing the works, without evaluating if we are motivated by love, or only wanting to “do what is right”. Apparently, from reading the passage above, it is possible to do all of the visible works that could be an expression of love, but do them without love: prophecy, sacrifice, speaking in tongues, mountain-moving faith and the rest.
All of these things can be empty, void of the most important ingredient. We do them as part of our routine, and run the risk of falling into self-righteousness. I see so many Christians get burned out, fall into discouragement and want to quit as a result of running on empty.
We can evaluate our “love level” by observing our complaints and frustrations:
- Do we get frustrated if our efforts aren’t appreciated?
- Are we becoming weary of doing what we are expected to do?
- Does it bother us when situations seem unfair to us?
- Is it irritating to us when others don’t do their part to help us in our work?
- Do we complain about other people’s attitudes?
I’m not saying that if we love others that all these problems will disappear, but at least we will be able to deal with the source.
But if we do find that our love has cooled off somewhat toward those that we help, what can we do to rekindle it? I believe that as we focus on God’s love for us and for others, we will find that our love will grow. Considering the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and his unconditional love that is our source of love, we can tap into it and be renewed.
And as with many problems, when we realize that we have the problem we are halfway to the solution.
What are your symptoms of burnout and how have you dealt with them?