Before our house fire destroyed the 1966 Ford Mustang that my dad bought brand new in ’66, and eventually gave to me in 1991, I drove that car every single day. For a while, the speedometer and odometer didn’t work, so I had to guess how fast I was going and hope the cars I was speeding by were going well under the speed limit! I eventually got that small problem fixed with a five dollar part, only to have the gas gauge quit working. Fixing that issue was a bit more complicated because the piece to repair was inside the gas tank. So, for several years, I drove that car with the gas gauge showing that I had a little less than a quarter of a tank! The needle never moved when it got full or when it went low on gas. The needle never moved even when the tank was empty! And how do I know that??
Once I was driving the Mustang down the interstate in Louisville, KY, where we lived at the time, and the car just died while I was speeding along. I pulled off the road and realized that I was out of gas. So I had to walk three miles along a busy interstate to the closest exit, had to buy a gas can (because a guy driving a car without a working gas gauge isn’t smart enough to keep one in the trunk!), and put a few gallons of gas in the can, and walk all the way back to the car.
Another time, on a Sunday morning, I was driving to church and about two miles from the campus, my car died in the middle of the road. I was able to coast off the road and onto a side street, but still about a half of a mile from a gas station. In a dress shirt, tie and dress pants, I started pushing my car toward the gas station, hoping to get gas quickly enough to make it to church! A lady pulled up behind me and offered to push my car with her car while I steered it to the gas station. I thankfully said yes, and bought her gas before filling up my car.
You might be thinking…why didn’t you just get the gauge fixed? Well, my method of knowing when I needed gas at that time was to “listen for the slosh.” When I parked my car, I would have it come to a stop and if I could hear gas sloshing in the tank, I knew I had enough. If I didn’t hear the slosh, it was time to fill up again! But seriously, I knew that I should have just fixed the silly gauge and that way I would know for sure how much gas I had.
Well as ridiculous as you think I sounded about that gas gauge, many people are just as ridiculous about how filled they are with the presence of God. As believers who have been born again, God sends His Spirit to live within us, and reminds us to regularly be filled with His Spirit so God Himself can work within us and produce spiritual fruit. Yet way too many believers do not have a trustworthy method of determining how filled they are with the Spirit of God. And in fact, many times, we run around on empty.
We try to do all sorts of things FOR God, but we end up doing those things WITHOUT God. We try to solve our own problems, deal with frustrating relationships, adjust to situations and issues that come up, and navigate through life without ever realizing that God wants to invest in our lives and fill us up with His Spirit to lead and guide us through all of those things. We end up “running on empty” and wonder why life is so hard. We decide before we pray. We act before we think. We decide on our feelings before consulting God’s Word. On and on we go without ever seeking first to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Isn’t it time to stop “running on empty” and come to God for a fill up?