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Are You Still Trying to Run on Empty?

Are You Still Trying to Run on Empty?

I love walking. Not just strolling … serious walking – 9 to 10 km at a time.

Just love it. Always have.

But if for some reason I haven’t had a chance to have a good meal – let’s say I have a really light evening meal and the next morning I get up for a walk before breakfast – then this one form of exercise that I truly love, is no fun at all.

It just becomes sheer hard work. A grind. Why?

Because we weren’t made to run on empty.

And the same’s true of our soul and our spirit. We need to feed them, otherwise we end up running on empty … and the things we were made to be doing, the things we should be enjoying, become sheer hard work.

They become a grind. I’ve been there and I know you’ve been there too.

Some years ago, I was asked to lead a morning devotion at a conference of Christian leaders in the media. I was the new kid on the block, so I was somewhat taken aback when the Spirit led me to encourage these leaders to actually spend some quiet time with Him each day – praying, reading the Word, waiting on God … filling their tank.

So with some trepidation and misgiving I must confess, I did what I felt led to do. I spoke to these leaders about something so simple, so basic, that I was almost embarrassed to be standing there before them.

And then … the strangest thing happened!

One by one during the morning tea and lunch breaks over the next couple of days, many of these leaders sidled up to me and in low tones confessed that this was an area of their lives that they struggled with. They were so busy in ministry and family life, that they weren’t making time for the Lord.

They were, they confessed, running on empty.

Truly, I believe that running on empty is one of the greatest maladies plaguing God’s people today. We’re so connected, so busy – even, let me say, busy working for God – that many of His soldiers, many of His crack troops are running on empty.

As though somehow it’s all up to us. As though somehow, we can bear fruit in His name all on our own.

Let’s just pause and have a listen to Jesus:

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Apart from Him, we can do nothing. Last time I checked, nothing means nothing.

Are we so shortsighted that we imagine that we can run spiritually and emotionally on empty? Are we so shortsighted that we believe that apart from Him we can do great things?

Today, I mean to challenge you and would love to hear what you think.

But there’s more to follow on this one … the encouragement, delight, wonder, joy, peace of connecting into the vine each day.

Be blessed!


  1. Hey Christine. One thing I have found helpful is reading a different translation to what I am used to.

    Another thing I have been doing lately is reading the whole New Testament with just one or two specific questions in mind. eg what is salvation? or “who should we direct our worship to – Father, Son or Spirit?” and then writing (typing) out the relevant passages. I have learnt heaps about these subjects that I thought I knew all about and have found myself loving my study times and learning things about our God at a heart level. (and not limited to the particular area I am studying)

    I hope you too find a way that will renew your love for the Bible and the God of the Bible.

    ps – Bernie – I love your blog.

  2. I really struggle with ‘quiet’ times and reading my bible. Just last week I clicked that part of my problem is actually my memory. I have always had an excellent memory and as a student struggled to ‘revise’ because if I knew it, I knew it. I had an insight last week that this is part of my problem with reading my bible. It has become so familiar in so many places that I just cant seem to get stuck into it. I shared this with someone at church on Sunday and they said that they were also like me and wondered if it was their problem as well. So now I may have identified the problem I have to come up with some inventive solutions.

    • Hi Christine,

      I relate to what you’re saying. Had a pastor friend of mine tell me once that he doesn’t read the gospel accounts. I was surprised and asked him why.

      He said it was because he knew how they ended. Serious.

      But have you ever had that experience of reading something in God’s Word that you’ve read before and all of a sudden something completely knew jumps off the page? Something totally relevant to where you’re at right at that moment?

      That’s the Holy Spirit at work because His Word is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword.

      I always approach God’s Word in prayer, asking Him to speak to me; to show me what He has for me today. And more often than not that’s exactly what He does.

      Let me encourage you to approach the Bible with a new sense of anticipation, waiting expectantly on God to speak. Without doubt, He surely will.


      • Thanks Bernie, Yes I have had that sense of God giving me a fresh revelation of an old passage, just not very often 🙂 As for not reading the gospels because of knowing the ending, I agree – seriously?

        I am asking God to give me a heart for his word in a new way. One thing I’m attempting is using an audio bible, and different translations.

        The reality is though it needs to be an absolute priority for me. I need to make it a not negotiable, that’s the thing I totally struggle with.

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