How to Stop Running on Empty

28 Feb

A few years ago, a written prayer request came across my desk.  It was one of many, but this one in particular caught my eye.

It looked terrible… physically.  It almost looked like it had run through a cycle of the wash.  It was wrinkled, it had been wet, and there were little bits torn off the end of the paper.  I could imagine the person filing it out… wrestling with some inner angst and anxiety, and I wondered if tears had been shed at some point in the writing.

The theme was one I had heard before, and still hear today (I’m paraphrasing): I can’t keep going this way.. I’m running on empty… I thought God was supposed to fill me.  Why do I feel so empty?

I have noticed a pattern in these requests that leads me to ask this question: are you running on AC or DC?

DC Powered – Life By Battery

Ni-Cd batteries

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of us live life as though powered by batteries.  That’s good because we can be independent and mobile, we can rejoice in being self-contained and powerful

right up until the point that our batteries are about to fail.

But that’s no problem, we just recharge so we can go do it all over again.

And where do guys like me see this?  Usually on Sunday mornings.  I see crowds of people who are running on empty and show up in an effort to be recharged so they can go back out and be independent, powerful, and strong.  Some come once a week, every Sunday.

Others must have extended life batteries, because I only see them a few times a year.

And this would be great… if it worked.  But eventually we mis-judge.  We run right up until the point where our battery dies… or our “applications” start shutting down because we’re near the end of our energy supply.  If we get to that point, we serve no one’s best interest (unless you have aspirations to be the world’s largest paperweight).

So… enter the anxiety of energy management.  How much can I cram into one day before I crash?  Will I have enough to make it through this day (and you have to factor in the drain on the battery that this anxiety adds).

Perhaps the saddest part is our batteries are used up at work, so by the time we get home to family, we’ve got nothing left.  To our companies, we are multi-tasking wonders.  To our families, we are… well… the world’s largest paperweight.

And this is no surprise to Jesus:

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NLT)

So, what can we do about that?

The Advantages of a Plugged In Life

Electrical Plug

(Photo credit: One Tree Hill Studios)

Jesus recommends a plugged in life… remaining in Him as He remains in us.  This is AC life, where the energy is not supplied by a finite battery, but by a power cord.  This is power that is untiring, always available.

I can already hear the objections:

  1. A cord is so limiting:  That’s why Jesus had to go (physically), so The Holy Spirit could come… the world’s most mobile plug in wants to take up residence wherever you go!
  2. If I’m running all the time, I’ll burn out:  That would be true if you ran all the time.  But in the AC world, we not only have “OFF” switches, God gives us instructions on how to use the off switch (See “How to Stop” and this one too!).

Done right, we stay connected via the Spirit, which is with us always… even to the end of the age.  How?


What do you call a power cord to a battery operated cell phone?  It’s considered an accessory.

What would you call a power cord to a cell phone whose battery was removed?  I’d call it a life line!

That’s the message of the Vine in John 15: stop making Jesus an accessory as we try to live in our own strength and abilities… start making him a lifeline!

What would the world look like if we threw away our “batteries?”  In Christianeeze, we would call this “dying to self.”  In Bill-talk, I call it “battri-cide.”  We need to commit “battri-cide.”

The Apostle Paul got it.  He committed “battri-cide” and found the plugged in life:

“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20 NLT)

Read through the Book of Acts sometime and you’ll see both ends of the spectrum in Saul/Paul’s life.  His conversion from DC (Battery) to AC (plugged in) was so dramatic, he even changed his name!

And the same power is available to us.

But the power is not the question.  The question is, are you willing to toss that battery and trust a plug to something you can’t see?

Stay tuned for next week’s blog… we’ll cover some practical ways to stay plugged in!

In the meantime, this is an oldy, but a goodie.  Phillips, Craig, and Dean sing about “battri-cide” and the plugged in life!

1 Comment

Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Group Discussion


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