As pastor of a large multi-campus church, Ron Moore has seen and experienced his share of spiritual burnout. In Worn Out by Obedience: Recovering from Spiritual Fatigue, Moore offers hope to those of us who are tired and weary. Much of the book is guided by David's experience in Ziklag. A self-imposed exile, during this time he was far from God, listening to his own counsel, and stagnating in his own poor decisions.
Sometimes we feel like this: "I feel that God has left me alone. Therefore, my inclination is to find a place away from God." Like David, we self counsel (never a good idea). We "lost a sense of intimacy with God and became indifferent toward spiritual things." We "surrendered to sin--and settled for a life of disobedience, disconnected from God." We "no longer fight the tempation" but "embrace the sin."
This state of spiritual being could be due to flagrant rebellion. But for many Christians, it comes as a result of weariness from service, even in a life of consistent obedience and faithful Christ following. As Charles Swindoll wrote, "Most (yes, most) Christians . . . have very little dynamic and joy in their lives." Moore shares many presonal stories from Christians who have faced these feelings.
His diagnosis is spot on, and his remedies are welcome. The decision is our own to leave Ziklag, and the Holy Spirit offers us power to do so. David himself provides "five steps of true repentence" that we can follow as a path out of Ziklag. Even better, Moore writes about staying out of Ziklag in the frst place.
Most important of all, Moore reminds us that even when "the internal disappointment and external performance . . . wear[s] us down," we can remember that "our identity is in Jesus." Once we are his, we are his forever. Even knowing and accepting this, I wish Moore would have spent more time on that disappointment Christians experience, that lack of "dynamic and joy." Why does it seem so elusive?
I would be surprised if you read this book as a Christian and didn't find some resonance with Moore's exposition. I certainly saw myself in Ziklag and appreciate his pointing the direction out.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!