Running on empty?
This week I had a sharp reminder that we need to be continually being filled to continue on in our journey.
For a good week and a half I had been driving our car back and forth with the low petrol light on. I was fully aware that the more I drove I would be getting close to empty, and yet I kept driving on. I was feeling the pressure of being busy and needing to be at my next appointment – so I did not make or take the opportunity to get filled up.
On Monday evening the inevitable happened and 5 minutes away from home the engine sputtered a couple of times and then cut out, leaving me stranded and unable to continue on my journey.
What can only be described as foolishness left me stranded in the middle of the road, in a dangerous spot. In something of a panic I got out of the car and starting trying to push it to a safer position – yet it wasn’t possible to move it alone in my own strength.
I eventually had to humble myself and call out the AA to come and fill me up with some fuel so I could make it to the nearest petrol station, as I wasn’t even carrying any reserve fuel in the boot.
I know we have often heard this, but I have once again been reminded that in the same way that I ran on fuel I had put in the tank a few weeks ago, we can so often be running on yesterday’s in-filling of the Holy Spirit. We rely on that filling to carry us through today, and even tomorrow, when it was only really intended for yesterday. There is a fresh empowering and grace available for today and again for tomorrow and the day after.
Even as I had driven back and forth between work and home, so many times I had passed petrol stations and yet had convinced myself each time that I didn’t need to fill up, that I had to be somewhere, that I would do it next time, only to find myself thinking exactly the same thing the very next time…. and then suddenly I ran out and came to a stand still.
In the same way I have increasingly become aware that when I don’t regularly come and have a fresh daily in-filling of the Holy Spirit, that I will end up stopping in the things of the Spirit, and just as with the car, end up getting out and pushing on in my journey relying on my own strength – and it just doesn’t work!
“…be filled with the Spirit.” – Ephesians 5:18
I am sure we have heard many times that as Paul exhorts the Ephesians to “be filled” the meaning of the original Greek means to “keep on being filled constantly and continually”. He is not talking about a one-time experience, of being filled every now and again, of reserving that in-filling for an annual Christian conference or even when your favourite guest preacher visits your church – you know the one who always seems to be accompanied by strong Holy Spirit activity. Paul is talking about today, about now!
In light of my foolish continual decisions to not fill up with fuel, I have this week been strongly reminded once again of the complete dependency I have on God each day. The utmost importance of coming before my Father, by my Saviour, and asking for a fresh in-filling of the Holy Spirit’s power to live and walk out my faith each day. And I know that as I do this, I will find myself not trying to push ahead and journey on in my strength, but instead will be able to trust that I am being carried along in God’s plans and purposes, guided and empowered by the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit.
I pray that my foolishness might be a provocation to you to come and drink deeply of all the resources of God that are available to us in Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit.