With gas prices as high as they are right now it is getting harder and harder to fill up. It cost me almost $70 the other day to fill up our white Town and Country minivan, which we affectionately refer to as Vanna White. More and more I find myself driving around on E. And I don’t like driving on empty.
If we were honest, that describes a lot of our lives. The truth is, a lot of us are living life on empty. We’re coasting on fumes. We’re sputtering spiritually. Thankfully the good news is that you and I don’t have to live life on empty. We don’t have to constantly stay on E. We can be spiritually refueled.
Ephesians 3:19 (NLT) says this: “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
God wants to fill us with the fullness of life and power that only He can offer. How? Through a personal relationship with Him. When Jesus invited people to follow Him it was very personal and relational. He used words like “Come to Me” and “Be with Me” and “My burden is light.” Those are the words of Jesus.
In Matthew 11:28-29 (NLT), “Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Let me ask you a question about your spiritual life that only you can answer. When you think of your own spiritual life, do you hear Jesus saying, “Come to Me, be with Me, My burden is light” or do you hear a voice in your head saying “You’re not doing enough”?
So many Christians feel like they are spiritual failures and live with all this guilt because they feel like they are not doing enough. They think they should be reading the Bible more and praying more and giving more. The Christian life is not a checklist of all these different religious duties you have to perform. If you feel the pressure to perform some type of religious duty, whatever that is, it leads to rituals. Rituals lead to checklists (all these things you need to do). Checklists can lead to failure. Failure leads to guilt. Guilt leads to withdrawal. And withdrawal ultimately leads to emptiness.
Jesus didn’t say, “Come to Me and I’ll give you a bunch of stuff to do.” When Jesus says, “Come to Me” that’s not an invitation to perform, it’s an invitation to connect. It’s not about doing more; it’s about spending time with God. Refueling happens when you and I connect with God.
In order for God to fill us up we’ve got to change the way we think about Him. We need to start thinking of God as a friend who is inviting us into a relationship. When a close friend invites you over to their house do you all of a sudden stress out and feel all this pressure to perform and impress? Not if it’s a good friend. If it’s a good friend you walk in, you get something out of the refrigerator, and you make yourself at home. You’re yourself. You’re not trying to perform. You’re not trying to make somebody like you more. If they’re a good friend you just don’t feel that pressure. You just get to be yourself.
I think many of us need to stop feeling like a failure and start viewing God as our friend. Connecting with Him is not about a bunch of things you need to do. It’s not a checklist. It’s not jump through these hoops. It’s not about a ritual, it’s about a relationship. It’s not about your performance; it’s about being in His presence. It’s not about a show. It’s about showing up. It’s not because you have to. It’s because you want to. It’s not about guilt. It’s about His grace. It’s not about a formula that you’ve got to figure out. It’s about a friendship.
Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants… Now you are My friends…” (John 15:15 NLT).
Refueling is not what you think. It’s not an invitation to do more. It’s an invitation to be connected—to be connected to the One who loves you, who knows you and wants to fill you.
Pastor Barry Briggs
135 N. Grant St., Cedar Springs