How To Overcome The Chronic Fatigue It Causes
“As it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day.” Romans 11:8
The spirit of slumber is an evil spirit. This is not an evil spirit that influences just one individual, but one that influences groups of people. It falls among the category of the more influential evil spirits listed in Ephesians 6:12 when it says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” This evil spirit has a higher rank in Satan’s kingdom than others. An earthly analogy would be a governor over a state having more influence and power than an individual citizen. If a person having the gift of the discerning of spirits were to travel into an area where this spirit is in operation, they would suddenly feel the effects of this spirit. So what are those effects, or markers of this spirit?
- Passivity. The Greek word for slumber is “katányksis.” It means to be stupefied, as if stunned after a violent strike. Another word for slumber is stupor. This spirit has the potential to cause the believer’s ability to respond to be impaired. Where we would normally respond to a threat, slumber makes us lethargic; immobilized because our perception has been shut down. It’s common to feel a mental fog when this spirit is operating. Where our hearts were once stirred when we read the word or listened to a sermon, now we feel insensitive. It’s as if we’ve become drunk, but not with wine; we become negligent, unenthusiastic and slothful. Slumber shuts down our ability to understand spiritual truth and gives us dull hearts.
- Chronic fatigue is another marker of this spirit. Whether a person has yielded to this spirit or is simply discerning its’ presence, fatigue is one of the primary ways this spirit is discerned. In order to recognize its’ presence, one needs to learn to discern between normal physical tiredness and the fatigue caused by this spirit. Normal physical tiredness is “fixed” when we get physical rest. The weariness caused by this spirit may temporarily appear to be “fixed” when we isolate and rest our physical bodies, but in the big picture, the weariness remains an on-going problem. Not all rest is created equal. More about getting the right kind of rest later.
- For those who have yielded to this spirit, their ability to “see” is impaired. In other words, their ability to perceive (discern) spiritual truth is diminished. The person who is yielding to this spirit finds it difficult to discern good from evil, right from wrong, true prophecy from false, etc. Our spiritual sensitivities have been stunned, leaving us in a spiritual stupor. The more we yield to this spirit, the less spiritually conscious we become.
- Another marker of this spirit is feeling overwhelmed. The individual may face the temptation to “crawl in a hole” and go to sleep when needed action looks too hard or too scary.” Those who are feeling the effects of this spirit may face strong temptation to quit pressing forward in their calling. One of the goals of this spirit is to shut us up and shut us down.
- Another indication that we may be feeling the effects of the spirit of slumber is the temptation to flee. I wouldn’t be surprised if this spirit was the driving force that caused Elijah to flee when Queen Jezebel threatened him. These two evil spirits often work together. It’s all too easy to believe the lie that says that retreating will protect ourselves and those we love when encountering the spirit of slumber. Retreating can look like physically removing ourselves from a situation, literal sleep, passivity, isolating, mentally allowing threats to be blocked from our mind, or numbing ourselves on screens to name just a few.
- Another way to recognize that we are feeling the effects of the presence of slumber is when we have an inability to feel emotion when an emotional response would be healthy. Matthew 13:15 says, “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’” A hardened, calloused heart loses its’ ability to feel. It’s a dangerous thing to allow our feelings to go into lockdown. It may block out painful emotions like fear, but it also blocks out love, joy, and the ability to feel God’s presence.
What’s the big deal? Why should we be concerned about yielding to slumber?
- The spirit of slumber is not just a spiritual attack from the enemy. It is an evil spirit sent by God. (Romans 11:8) Why would God do such a thing? He did it because His people had given in to the sin of unbelief (Romans 11:7-23), rebellion (Jer. 5:21-23, Ezekiel 12:1-2), and Hardness of heart. (Matt. 13:13-15, Mark 8:17-10). If we as a church are to be freed from the spirit of slumber, repentance is called for. We need His grace and mercy poured out upon us. Even Jesus’ disciples who walked with Him everyday struggled at times with these things. The important thing is to not get stuck here, even if we have struggled with one of these sins. There is grace for the journey!
- Another reason we should be concerned about yielding to the spirit of slumber is because it leads to a pattern of retreating from conflict, which can lock the individual into a lifestyle of passivity and defeat.
- Another reason we should be concerned about yielding to the spirit of slumber is because it acts as a smokescreen for the enemy to do his dirty work, unhindered by a sleeping church. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” His agenda is to steal everything that is precious to us, including the harvest that we have labored for years to yield. If we as a church are finding comfort in sleeping while he ravages our treasure houses, he will gladly steal us blind. He would love nothing better than to steal the hearts of our children, destroy our reputation, and lie to us so that we do not walk in our true identities and destinies. If we will have the courage to wake up, we will be alarmed enough to act when we see him rummaging around in our treasures. We will stand up and fight only if we are awake!
Practical steps to overcome the spirit of slumber:
1. Follow Jesus’ example…use your sword! When Jesus engaged in battle against Satan at the end of His fast in the desert, He used the word, not human reasoning to defeat him. If ever there was a time when the atomic bomb of spiritual warfare was needed, this was it! Jesus was physically weak from a 40 day fast. He was hot, tired, thirsty and hungry. Lucifer handled this assignment himself. Most of us have never had to directly engage Lucifer in battle, but we would be wise to use the same weapons as Jesus when seeking to overcome the spirit of slumber. The word of God is a powerful weapon we can use against principalities, powers and rulers. When this spirit tries to convince us that what God is calling us to do is just too hard or too intimidating, some powerful scriptures include:
- “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29
- “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Isaiah 31:25
- I can all things through him who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13
- “…those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
- “The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.” Psalm 28:7a
- Another practical step in overcoming the spirit of slumber is to worship. Turn your eyes toward Jesus. Focus on His attributes. Satan flees when we worship. It can be helpful to have a playlist of worship songs that specifically call upon the church to wake up from our slumber, such as:
- Wake up by All Sons and Daughters
- Fall Afresh by Bethel Music and Jeremy Riddle
- Come alive (Dry bones) Ultimate Tracks
- Do it again by Elevation
- Refresh me by Leeland
- Resurrecting by Elevation Worship
- Awake My Soul by Chris Tomlin
- Identifying numbing behaviors that you may be using to escape the fatigue is another effective way to resist the spirit of slumber. If you have given in to yielding to this spirit through escapism, stop long enough to identify what those false refuges are; things like television watching, various other screens, isolating, etc. Exchange these numbing behaviors for more helpful responses. Enjoying some screen time can sometimes be a good thing, but if we are using screens as an escape from the fatigue of this spirit, it’s time to examine our motives.
- Another practical step in overcoming the spirit of slumber is to get the right kind of rest. Not all rest is restorative. When discerning the spirit of slumber, some of examples of the right kind of rest would be:
- Listening to worship music.
- Reading the word
- Take time to enjoy a Sabbath rest
- Meditate on scriptures, focus on God’s attributes
Ask God for discernment so that you will be able to discern between normal physical tiredness and fatigue. We can be more tempted to yield to fatigue when we are physically tired, so we may at times find ourselves dealing with both at the same time. When this happens, invite God into your rest, and just soak in His presence. We are not limited to our own strength or resources. God teaches us to depend upon His strength when we find ourselves running out of our own before the victory is won.
- Asking God for strength is another effective way to resist the spirit of slumber. While this one might seem obvious, it’s all too easy to overlook it. Here’s the deal: we do not overcome this spirit by floating along with the status quo. It takes intentionally resisting this spirit in order to overcome it. Sometimes God asks us to use all of our own strength to resist it, and then to tap into His once ours is gone. God is asking His church to overcome, and this will mean staying in the battle when we feel that we have used our last ounce of strength. We cannot overcome without tapping into God’s strength as well; and He is glad to give it. Psalm 89:17 says, “It pleases you to make us strong.” Sometimes we simply don’t tap into God’s strength because we don’t ask for it.
- Another practical step in overcoming the spirit of slumber is to assume the right posture in prayer. If we think we’re going to overcome this one on our knees with our eyes closed, we may find ourselves succumbing to sleep in the same way that the disciples did in the Garden of Gethsemane. Good intentions. Bad warfare strategy. If you want to do yourself a favor, fight this one on your feet. Find a prayer closet where you can pace if you need to and pray out loud. Don’t give your flesh any wiggle room on this one. When you forcefully resist this spirit through worship and prayer, pressing through the fatigue you will feel it lift; your energy will be restored even when you exert much energy. This is what distinguishes it from normal physical tiredness. If it doesn’t lift right away, persist. You HAVE absolutely been given authority over All the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19) This includes principalities, powers and rulers. Prayer, worship, submitting to God…we will prevail IF we do not yield.
Resist the temptation to wait until the weariness passes before engaging in worship. If you’re discerning the spirit of slumber through fatigue, look at that fatigue as a word of knowledge. The Lord is telling you through that fatigue that NOW is the strategic time to engage in warfare against this spirit. Timing in spiritual warfare is critical if we are to defeat the enemy. In this sense, the spiritual gift of the discerning of spirits is God’s way of giving His church eyes to see what the enemy is up to…spies for Jesus! Yes!
- Repenting for yielding to this spirit is another effective way to resist the spirit of slumber. This one probably should be point #1. If you have yielded to this spirit for even a moment, repent. If you have found it difficult to trust God (unbelief) in this season, repent. If you have found yourself rebelling, repent. You may even choose to repent on behalf of your people for any agreement with the spirit of slumber.
- Another practical step in overcoming the spirit of slumber is to declare and prophecy. Make declarations over yourself and your people; declarations such as:
- “I am strong.” (Joel 3:10)
- “Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.” (Ezekiel 37:9)
- “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14b)
When we feel fatigued or overwhelmed, let’s push back! Resist fatigue (and fear of fatigue) by delclaring the promises of God to be our strength. We are commanded to be strong, (Deut. 31:6, Psalm 29:11) and we have been given everything we need to obey. (2 Peter 1:3)
- Keeping our armor is absolutely necessary if we want to resist the spirit of slumber. Scripture calls Satan a roaring lion, and we need every piece of our armor. (Ephesians 6:10-18) For more on this topic, check out my blog posts entitled, “The Armor of God Part 1,” and “The Armor of God Part 2.”
- Another practical step in overcoming the spirit of slumber is to join with other believers who are also discerning the presence of this spirit and pray together. The presence of this spirit came about as a result of corporate agreements, and it will be overcome on a corporate level as well. There is incredible power in agreement. Ask God to soften hearts and to help us as a people to turn away from unbelief, idolatry and rebellion.
Beloved, it is the last hour. 1 Thess. 5:6 says, “…let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” The rapture of the church is imminent. Mark 13:35-36 says, “Therefore stay awake – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning – lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.” Let’s work while it is daylight.
If you think that you have yielded to the spirit of slumber in any way, I want to invite you to take a moment and pray a prayer of repentance with me:
“Dear Lord Jesus,
I now recognize that I have yielded to the spirit of slumber. I don’t want to do this any longer. I ask you to give me strength. I also ask that you would give me the courage to do whatever you ask me to do. Thank you that you give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak. Thank you that I can do all things through you because you give me strength when my own runs out. Please help me to resist this evil spirit of slumber and also help me to submit to you. When I am tempted to flee, quit, or shut down, I ask that you would help me to stand firm. If I have sinned against you in any way that opened a door for this evil spirit to have influence in my life, I ask that you would forgive me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”