There are two kinds of people in the world. There are those that constantly fill up their car’s gas tanks well before it reaches empty. And then there are those who wait for the “empty light” to come one and see how many miles they can get before it actually runs out of gas.
I am in the latter group. I know it’s not good. And I’ve run out of gas before. Multiple times. But still I do it.
I’ve found that I give myself many reasons for behaving this way. I’m in a rush and I don’t have time right now to stop and fill up with gas; I’ll do it next trip. I’m only driving a couple of miles, I should be fine. I just don’t feel like doing it today, it’s such a schlep.
The same is also true for the other warning signs on my dashboard. I have one that’s been lit for about a month now. It has an exclamation point in a triangle. I think it’s my tire pressure - but I’m not sure. An exclamation point should be concerning, it should be a serious sign that something is wrong with your car. And it is! But I just ignore it.
And the reasons I give myself are similar to the empty gas light ones. Except this problem will take even more time, work and energy to solve. And, if I probe deeper within myself, I realize that I ignore it because I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know how to use those compressed air pumps to fill my tires with air. I know it should be easy, but no one ever showed me how, and the thought of having to learn this right now overwhelms me, so I push it until my car’s next check up in 6-12 months.
The same is true for my spiritual life. I often run low on spiritual fuel. And then the warning signals come: I get mean; I get cynical; I hold grudges (more than usual, at least, and over small things); my mind starts to focus on the things I don’t have instead of the things I do have.
What I should do in these instances is stop, take a moment, and re-center myself on the Lord. Listen to some worship music. Read a passage of scripture - or listen to one. Write my prayer out in a journal. Sit in His presence. Invite Him to fill me.
These are much easier to do than even filling up a car with gas or a tire with air. And spending time with Jesus doesn’t cost $6 a gallon! It’s free. So why do I keep running on empty, moving forward with the warning light on, waiting for a crash?
Maybe your spiritual life is starting to run low on fuel and you need to pull over and fill it up. Or maybe there’s a warning light that’s come on that you don’t know how to tackle. Perhaps you’re afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed to ask for help - but it’s something you know you can’t fix on your own. Invite someone in. We have auto repair shops and mechanics for a reason. In the same way, we have churches, pastors, and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who can help you get that warning light taken care of before it causes you to crash and burn.
Driving on a consistently empty gas tank damages a car in the long run. Driving with warning lights on damages a car in the long run.
Living our lives spiritually low damages us and those around us in the long term. Living our lives with a spiritual impediment that we choose not to overcome damages us and those around us in the long term.
So let’s choose to fill up. Let’s choose to take care of the warning signs. Let’s choose to not crash and burn, but to have a safe, healthy, and long road trip.