That fateful gauge is staring you in the face, glaring at you in an angry red, reminding you of your failure to pay attention. Anxiety begins to take over, and you fearfully look around, praying a station will magically appear before you stall on the side of the road. You’ve failed to fill your tank and you’re running low. You, my friend, are on empty. Again.
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Who in their right mind would let their gas tank become so empty they are now running on fumes? But let me ask you this: Are you being filled with the Holy Spirit, or are you running on empty?
Let’s face it, we’re busy people. We get up early, fill our days with endless activity, rush around finishing errands, shove food into our mouths when we find a moment, and stay up late to get just one more thing done. It can be all too easy to push aside our need for spiritual filling, choosing to instead focus our attentions on the multitude of tasks in front of us.
Just like that silly gas tank, we need to make a point of refilling with the Word. We ought to be carving out time each and every day to allow God to speak to us, renewing our strength and filling us with His peace. When we choose to not make time with God, we slowly (sometimes not so slowly) begin to run dry. That is the real danger. Running on empty is ugly and dangerous.
Now I’m the first to admit I don’t know much about cars, but I do know this much, if we run on empty often enough, our engine starts to suffer. We start pulling up the gunk and junk which has settled to the bottom of our tank. When our tank runs out of gas, that junk starts circulating throughout our engine and can ruin our car.
As with that overworked car, our life will start to show the consequences of an empty spiritual life. We start running on our own steam, and the junk we’ve been carrying around in the bottom of our hearts starts overtaking our daily living. We become bitter, short-tempered, and act out in response. Our relationships with others start to suffer, and our ministry becomes jeopardized. Try as we might to continue pouring out to those around us, the fact is we are dry. Because we have failed to fill up, we are unable to pour out.
Unlike our car’s gas tank, which can run safely until the gauge nears quarter tank, I highly discourage allowing our spiritual life to reach that danger point. In fact, our goal is to be always leaning toward ‘FULL’; being constantly filled with the Holy Spirit, gleaning from the Word of God.
One thing I have noted, sometimes God will allow us to run on empty. He will permit us to run, and run, and run, until we hit a point that we are dry. Why does He do this? To show us how much we need Him! He will not forcefully fill us or chase us down to be filled. He will patiently wait until we hit a point that we recognize just how empty we are without Him. Then, He will fill us to overflowing.
Here’s the exciting part, God wants to fill us. He wants to have a relationship with us and renew our spirit. But He will not force Himself on us, He is a gentleman. We have to choose to spend time with Him, sitting at His feet.
I wish I could say my spiritual tank is always on ‘FULL’, but that would be a lie. On occasion, I get caught up in my own goals and activities, pushing aside much-needed fellowship with Christ. By His grace and mercy, the Lord quietly waits for me to realize just where I’m headed and prods me to remember He is waiting.
I cannot begin to explain the vast difference between doing things on my own steam and doing all things through Christ who gives me strength. On my own, I am nothing. In Christ, I have peace, grace, love, and understanding. In Christ, I am able to continue pouring out His affection to those around me, ministering to those who I come in contact with. In Christ, I am full.
“And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Your Turn!: How full is your spiritual tank?