God planned for normal fatigue when He put the lights out on earth every night. He also set one day aside out of every seven for additional rest.
Battle fatigue is extreme: long marches, little sleep, no Sabbath rest, fear, dying and dead comrades and enemies, separation from family, no showers, inadequate food, and maybe being defeated in battle or wounded. You might get relief in a rear echelon, or you might not. This is a fatigue beyond being tired and exhausted. Eight hours of sleep and a weekend of rest cannot cure this.
We are in a spiritual war here and now. This war brings battle fatigue just like other wars do. Some of the symptoms are the same. Missionaries come home burnt out, irritable, or with nervous breakdowns or marriage and family problems.
There is a major difference between the soldier in physical war and the soldier in the spiritual war. The first has battle fatigue because he has obeyed his commanding officer. The second has battle fatigue because he has disobeyed, often while thinking he was being obedient.
Some Christians are disobedient casualties, shot by the enemy. They are moral casualties, guilty of sins clearly forbidden by Scripture. These Christians know they are in sin.
Other Christian casualties think they are not in sin, but they are. These are the battle fatigue casualties. So how have they been disobedient?
They volunteer and think that is obedience. They say, “Here I am, I’m going,” instead of, “Here I am, send me” (Isa. 6:8b).
They use their own strength instead of God’s: “We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me” (Col. 1:28–29).
They do not get enough sleep. There may be times when it is not possible to get enough sleep or observe the Sabbath because of Kingdom work. During those times, we do not need to get fatigued.
“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” (Is. 40:28–31).
They do not take a Sabbath rest.
They respond to challenges. A challenge is not the voice of God, but a temptation from the enemy. Remember, the devil appears as an angel of light. We should be able to recognize him for who he is.
They think that the Great Commission is primary. “‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mt. 22:36–39). The Great Commission falls under the second greatest commandment. It is not the first.
They spend more time “doing” than “being.”
The list could go on and on. Prolonged rest is part of the solution for battle fatigue in physical wars. Confession of sin is the immediate solution for the spiritual war. This must include confessing moral sins like lying and confessing as sin the things that we do to “help God out.” Then we can begin to be obedient God’s way.
*Excerpted from Weapons & Tactics. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.