We never left the car, never lifted a finger. It was all done for us. Maybe that’s why we seem to expect God to “fill ‘er up” without having to make any effort at all ourselves. Maybe that’s what we’re thinking when we sit in our pews on Sunday morning—we’re expecting the teachers, songleaders, and preachers to “fill ‘her up.”
“I didn’t get anything out of services this morning,” we say, as if that were the only purpose to our being there, to allow others to wait on us just like an attendant at an old-fashioned service station; as if that were the only possible way to fill oneself up spiritually.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled, Matt 5:6. Do we really think that righteousness can be poured in like gasoline, that we can sit passively while it happens?
John tells us, Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, 1 John 3:7. Being filled with righteousness has far more to do with what I do anywhere else besides a church building than it does with listening to a sermon and expecting to walk away holy because of it.
God also expects us to fill ourselves with knowledge. Anyone who thinks that comes from osmosis on Sunday mornings as we doze in our pews or play with the babies in front of us had better not apply for a school teaching job any time soon. You won’t keep it long.
Paul says, And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, Colossians 1:9-10. Becoming knowledgeable takes work far above and beyond listening to a couple hours a week of sermons and Bible classes. Making it stick means applying what you learn, “bearing fruit” as you put that knowledge into practice.
But others have the problem of which tank to use. They seem satisfied with “regular.” My daddy worked for Gulf Oil so we always went to Gulf stations. “Regular” was called “Good Gulf” and premium was called “Gulftane,” a play on the fact that the octane was higher. A soul created in the image of God requires nothing less than premium.
I read a book once in which the writer was at a loss to know how to refill herself after giving so much to marriage, children, and society. Her problem was thinking she could do it herself, with things that have no eternal existence and purpose. She was trying to fill up on “regular.” Christians know better.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, Romans 15:13.
“Fill ‘er up,” we used to say to the gas attendant. Far more important, we should say it to God, and then do our part as He fills us to the brim. It’s the only way to keep your life from running on empty.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God, Philippians 1:9-11.