The Empty Tank
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. Acts 17:16
I’m finally getting around to shedding that 20 pounds that I’ve been needing to lose. I’m only about halfway there, but I’m finding it a challenge to eat the right amount. I either overeat and don’t lose anything, or I don’t eat enough and then exercise is miserable. I still like to work out every day, but if I go to the gym and the tank is empty, I just don’t have much to give.
I’ve had this experience in my spiritual life as well. While using drugs, in an effort to balance out the evil I was engaged in, I tried to do good Christian things. I’d volunteer to teach at church, but it always just drained me. Because I was drowning in my own self-destructive behavior, I couldn’t invest in my relationship with the father, and so, I wasn’t filled with his Spirit, giving me the passion, wisdom, and energy required for ministry. I was just doing it on my own, running on an empty tank. My efforts were anemic and left me in a worse condition than before.
In today’s passage, we’re told of the opposite experience – that of Paul’s life, filled by the Spirit of God. Paul daily abandoned himself to invest in his relationship with the father and so, he was filled with the passion, wisdom, and energy it took to do God’s will. In the story, Paul, while in Athens, saw a city full of idols and was provoked to say something. When he spoke, it was with wisdom from the father, which caused many to believe. Paul was not self-reliant. Rather, he was God-reliant, being filled with the Spirit to do the work of the father.
Many of us want this in theory. We say we want to know God’s will and to be filled with the Spirit. The problem for most of us though, is that we’re too filled with ourselves. We spend our days pursuing our will and so, when it comes to doing God’s will, we’ve got an empty tank. If we want to know God’s will and have the passion and energy to do it, then daily, we must abandon our way, investing in our relationship with the father. Only when we’re connected with the source, will we our lives be as full as they were created to be.