Running on Empty

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If we really understand who God is and what He’s done for us, all His grace and mercy, it will change how we approach Him and live our lives. How could it not?

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1 (NIV)

Yes! I made it with only five miles left to go until empty. Blinking warning light, you will not get the best of me!

“Mom, why do we have to stop and get gas?” an irritated 4-year-old yelled.

“Our cars need gas to run properly, and if we do not put gas in them, they will stop working and leave us stranded on the side of the road,” I replied.

She sat quietly for a minute. “And then what?” she asked.

“We might find ourselves in a very unpleasant situation,” I answered.

My mind replayed the conversation with my daughter, making me remorseful about waiting until the last few miles to stop to refuel. What if we’d encountered bad traffic or the weather had quickly shifted? Had convenience been so important that I neglected to keep my girls safe? The Holy Spirit immediately convicted me; I understood the importance of keeping my gas tank filled, but what about my spiritual tank, which often hovers just above E?  

I recently scribbled the words, “Use Me,” in my journal. As quickly as I penned this simple but powerful phrase, the weight of these words washed over me.

Do I really mean for God to use me? Or do I go to Him with an empty tank, refueling at the least cost to me? No thanks, Lord, I don’t need a full tank of “premium.” A partial tank of “regular” suffices for coasting along with my family and friends, my neighbors and co-workers.

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?

Personal sacrifice smacks right in the face of our worldview and how it directs our lives. In our key verse, Paul admonished early believers (and us, too) to conduct their lives in a manner that pleased and honored a merciful and holy God as outlined in the first 11 chapters of Romans. In order to save us, our Heavenly Father did not spare His perfect, only begotten Son, condemned to die because of our sin.

Yet, we get wrapped up in the “importance of us” because we fail to see ourselves as He sees us — needy, wretched and, on our own, deserving of death and hell, even at our best.

Strong words, yes, but that’s the Truth which Satan wants to keep us from fully realizing. How foolish and blind are we to “negotiate” with a holy and righteous God about what we will or will not do, to resist sacrificing or surrendering to Him, although He laid down His life for us!

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.

Paul tells us we must give ourselves completely to the Lord in everything we do. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1).

If we really understand who God is and what He’s done for us, all His grace and mercy, it will change how we approach Him and live our lives. How could it not?

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.

Heavenly Father, fill my heart and mind with Your Truth. Help me to daily offer myself as a sacrifice to You and to be used for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Lamentations 3:22, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” (ESV)

Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Could your spiritual tank use some refilling? Is fear from your past holding you captive? You can unlock freedom with the keys to release those chains! Discover how proclaiming powerful Scripture over your life and truly knowing God’s character can finally set you free. Join us in our next Online Bible Study with Wendy Blight’s book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner, starting June 17. Click here to register. And learn to apply God’s Word in a way that makes it real and relevant to your everyday circumstances!

CONNECT:
For real-life encouragement to keep filling your spiritual tank, follow Proverbs 31 Ministries on Facebook.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Take an honest look at your heart. Are you trying to serve God while only surrendering parts of your life instead of the whole?

Examine how you fill your spiritual tank. How would your life be different if you spent time with the Lord every day in prayer and reading His Word? Share your thoughts in the comments!

© 2019 by Laura R. Bailey. All rights reserved.

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