Running On Empty

Written by: Steve Crowder

From his youth, Steve knew he was called into the ministry which ultimately led him to Applied Life Christian College in Arkansas. Now as Lead Pastor of Highway, after two decades of ministry experience, marriage and raising three kids, Steve teaches with unique insight and practical application.

September 15, 2022

Have you ever found yourself running on empty? 

I shared this story with my church this past Sunday about my brother’s crazy car maintenance experiences. He used to have a SUV that one day died in the middle of the street as he was leaving his church. It wouldn’t start and wouldn’t go into neutral to roll. So there he was, stuck right in front of the church as everyone was leaving! After getting a tow truck there, he warned the towing professional that he wasn’t sure how the vehicle was going to come off the truck after he had to drag it across the pavement to get it onto the truck. Ensuring that he was a professional and did this kind of thing all the time, wasn’t building too much confidence though. Once at the dealership, this master of towing attempted to slick the truck bed down with soap around the tires in a plan to have it slide down the incline. No such luck! So after having to call a second tow truck to come drag the SUV off of the first said tow truck, it was finally left at the dealership for repair. Only he received a call from his normal contact telling him that the problem was discovered…he was out of gas! All that and a gas station was a few yards away on the street he originally broke down on!  

Sure, I have my own stories of running on empty, but it was more fun to share his! All of this to say that it’s hard to be at peace when you’re running on empty. Jesus desires that our “joy tank” stay full and that we not live life in a depleted state of mind. In the book of Acts, the author, Dr. Luke records that “the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:52). Too often we are guilty of letting our lives and emotions get run down without stopping to refuel. I’ve been reading a lot on this topic this year, specifically trying to find a healthy rhythm of life where harmony is present between all the things that occupy my schedule. But whether it is work or play, Jesus wants me to live a life full of joy. Joy and peace and patience and…well, you get the point! Right?

Jesus is recorded saying in John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that MY JOY may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

It’s His joy that remains in us that makes our capacity for joy a reality! But first we have to admit when we are lacking. “Houston, there’s a problem.” Far too often we think that we cannot be honest with how we are doing. Best foot forward. Put a smile on and act like we have it all together. Listen, it’s okay not to be okay. Really it is! That’s the starting point. It’s just not okay to stay that way. The tank needs to be full! So we must learn how to bring our needs to Jesus. 

1 Peter 5:7 “casting ALL your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 

The disciple Peter had it right when he penned this. Don’t keep any cares to yourself; give them all. Anxiety and worry never added any benefit to your life. Statistically speaking, less than ten percent of what we worry about will ever happen, but our worry will rob us of peace one hundred percent of the time! Let’s choose to trust in God’s ability to provide…to restore…to heal…to redeem. If we’re honest, we know that He’s SO much better at all that then us! And here’s the promise that Jesus left us with…

Matthew 5:6 “Happy are those who desire (hunger and thirst) for righteousness, for they will be filled.

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