Dealing With The Fear Of Burnout

Are you afraid of burnout?

With so many pastors quitting ministry each year, I have often heard it is due to burnout. This has always scared me and sometimes even tamed the passion that’s in me in hopes of not burning out myself. Perhaps I played it safe, wasn't as bold, and tried to contain the fire that’s in me rather than seeking to unleash it.

In Exodus 3, as Moses, a murderer with a stutter, comes into contact with God in a burning bush, we get a picture of what this life of ministry could and should look like. “And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed” (verse 2). All through the Bible, fire is a picture of the presence of God (think Acts 2 at Pentecost). This bush is a picture of what true abiding looks likes. Because of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit of God literally lives inside of us and we have the capacity to live life like this bush. On fire, but not burnt up.


As I was reading this passage this morning, I felt God tell me that I do not need to be scared to live on fire. When the passion that’s in me is the Spirit of God, I can burn brightly without fear of burning out. When we begin to operate in our own strength rather than the Spirit of God, this is when we are prone to burn out. Our strength is very weak and is not adequate fuel, but God’s fuel tank for passionate Spirit-filled ministry is always FULL and never runs out!


Our job is not to make the fire. The Holy Spirit is already in us, but our job is to fan Him into a flame. This happens through prayer, fasting, Bible reading, worship, honing our spiritual gifts, deep raw community, confession and repentance, selfless serving, bold faith steps, and doing anything that sets our hearts on fire for Christ and His Kingdom coming. This is our responsibility for ourselves, but also to spur each other on to love and good works by fanning the flames in others too.


There are also many things that seek to tame our fire and render us ineffective. Anxiety, laziness, lies from the enemy, doubt, nominal Christianity, legalism, slandering, lust, too much TV, focus on opposition, entitlement, envy, scoffing at prophecy, and much more are ways that the enemy seeks to put out my flame. We must not only fan the flame through the things above, but we must protect ourselves from everything that will quench the flame in us.


The end result of the burning bush was Moses taking his shoes off and worshipping God. The end result of us living a life on fire for Christ is not that we will be praised, but that Jesus will be worshipped. As we live a life filled with burning passion of the Holy Spirit in us, we will not burn out and many people will see Jesus for who He says He is, and He will be worshipped.

We don’t need to be afraid of burnout if the Spirit of God is our fire. Yes, take a Sabbath and rest often, but don’t play it safe in hopes of not burning out. The life Jesus has for us is not one of tame mediocrity, but of power in the Holy Spirit. Let’s live lives on fire for Jesus. Let’s live a passionate life of sacrifice, love, and boldness. Let’s live a life of single-minded devotion to God’s Kingdom marked by hard work and holiness, as living sacrifices, burning but not consumed, by the white-hot fire of the Holy Spirit.


  1. How can you fan into the flame the Spirit that’s in you?
  2. How can you clear your life of the things that quench your fire?
  3. Remind yourself right now that you don’t need to be scared to live your life on fire!