Running on Empty

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 NLT)

“Use me Lord!” I’ve asked God that question many times; maybe you have too. It’s a good question to ask - but if we’re honest, it can be scary at the same time. If we’re really being honest, most of us (myself included) do want God to use us - but only if it’s on our terms, and in a way that requires no sacrifice or interruption of our comfortable lives. Maybe the question we’re asking is really, “Use me Lord as long as…”

So how in the world does a discussion about God using us relate to “Running on Empty,” the title of today’s blog and Laura R. Bailey’s devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries? In her devotional, Bailey shares a story about driving with her daughter when the fuel gauge was on “E.” Pulling into a service station on fumes, her 4-year old asked her why they needed to get gas. Laura’s reply was simple and logical - cars can run properly without gas in the tank, and when the tank is really empty you potentially end up stranded on the side of the road - a bad situation.

As she thought about her answer, Laura felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit to examine her own spiritual condition; upon reflection she had to admit that most of the time her heart was on “E” as well. Then with honesty and candor she made this blunt statement:

I once confided to my husband that while my soul ached to be at the feet of Jesus, I feared where He might lead me. My life might not be nearly as easy as before with the little luxuries and “security blankets.” What if they were stripped away?

I can see a lot of similarities between Laura’s life and my own. She makes this keen observation about many American Christians:

Too frequently we’re just coasting along, living on fumes from day to day, then wondering why we aren’t experiencing the optimal Christian life. We neglect to keep our spiritual tanks filled, and when we do, we refuel with quick prayers, a Bible verse or two, and a weekend church service, which isn’t enough.

I know as a parent with 2 young kids who lives with chronic pain I can come up with an endless list of excuses as to why I don’t give my relationship with God the attention it needs and deserves. I want to be closer to Jesus; I just don’t want to have to do anything about it or make any sacrifices to get there!

One of my favorite passages in the Bible remains to this day Romans 12:1-2. Be a living sacrifice. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Be able to discern the will of God. This isn’t something that happens by accident - I need my tank filled by the Holy Spirit so I can do the things God is asking me to do.

Laura leaves us today with these wise words:

Looking at who we are now, through the lens of God’s grace and mercy, changes how we conduct the symphony of our lives. When we’re filled with God’s Truths by maintaining an open dialogue with Him through prayer and meditation on His Word, our spiritual tanks will be filled to the brim, overflowing and impacting lives around us for eternity.

If want to be used to God, we might want to start by drawing near to him, each and every day!