Are you running on empty
Paula writes a reflection on her lockdown period and describes how she was able to reconnect with the Spirit; receiving the rest and strength that it brings. She also provides suggestions on how we might reconnect with it too.
When I was a child I lived on a farm…
I know what you are thinking. Idyllic childhood memories: making hay in the summer, sitting in meadows making daisy chains, feeding orphan lambs with a bottle - yes there were some moments like that. Truthfully, though, I was more of a bookworm than a farm girl so rarely ventured outside; the day-to-day reality of farm life just didn’t much appeal to me.
One thing that I did appreciate living on our farm though was our well which provided our water. The cold refreshing water from the spring underneath quenched my thirst like nothing else.
I think that is why today I only really drink cold water from the fridge.
In Isaiah chapter 58, verse 11 (NLT) a favourite verse of mine says:
“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well watered garden, like an ever -flowing spring.”
In John chapter 4 we have an account of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. Jesus told her about the living water He offered and those who drink it would never thirst again. It becomes like a bubbling spring within them giving them eternal life.
A few chapters later Jesus again shouted to the crowds before Him “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!” (John chapter 7, verse 37, NLT). He then quotes the old testament: “For the Scriptures declare: “Rivers of living water will flow from his heart"“ (John chapter 7, verse 37, NLT). The living water was of course the Holy Spirit.
I don’t know about you, but I know I want the Holy Spirit to flow from my heart like a river.
How is that possible?
1. In our devotions
During this season of lockdown, I have loved spending time in the presence of God The Father, Jesus The Son and The Holy Spirit. His invitation to draw near to Him is such an amazing privilege which I know I take for granted too often. He prepares a feast for me and waits for me to come eat and drink.
Before lockdown, I was weak, thirsty and tired; relying on my own strength and my own capabilities. My spiritual gauge was running on empty. I needed to find rest for my soul and learn from Him (Matthew chapter 11, verses 8-30).
The Father has delighted in giving me wisdom as I have gone deeper in the Word, increasing my desire to be more like His Son - full of grace and truth. My well has been filled up as I have become familiar again with the Holy Spirit counselling me, comforting me, and guiding me in my next steps. It has led to me worshiping God the Father in Spirit and in truth.
I have heard His voice over all the other voices.
I have remembered my first love and got closer to Him again because of the treasures found deep in His Word.
Just like the Samaritan woman by the well, it is in His presence I am reminded that I am broken, I need His grace and his truth. It is when I come thirsty, weak, empty that I will be filled as I rely on Him (and Him alone) to fill my well.
It is only then I can minister from the well He has filled because of His grace towards me.
In John chapter 15 we have the one job of keeping connected to Jesus The Vine and then we bear fruit spiritually. We don’t have to bear fruit in our own strength but because we abide in Him. It is to the Father's glory that we bear much fruit showing ourselves to be His disciples.
2 . In our church community and small groups
As a disciple it is vital we pursue a deep spiritual life in the Word within our personal devotions but also within our church family as we learn to live out our faith as a community.
In a small group context we can go deeper into His Word together, be open about what God is doing in our lives, ask for accountability, admit when we are wrong, repent and be reconciled to God and others.
The Father has delighted in giving me wisdom as I have gone deeper in the Word, increasing my desire to be more like His Son - full of grace and truth.
John Stott (a well known theologian) when asked how he would summarise the state of Christianity in the world today, he responded by saying “growth without depth”. This is important because in the New Testament the apostles rebuke their readers for their immaturity and urge them to grow up. Spiritual maturity is growing in relationship with Christ. We are members of the one body united in Christ. Together we learn to worship, trust, love and obey Him.
When others see our love for the Lord and each other, our dedication to His Word, and our transformation into His likeness through The Holy Spirit, they will realize the Gospel is indeed Good News.
So today stop and check your well. Are you running on empty? If so bring Him your emptiness, loneliness, thirst, fatigue and let Him fill your well today. As you draw near to Him, go deeper in His Word and listen as the Spirit ministers to you - your strength will be restored and you will become an ever-flowing spring.
Paula is a speech language therapist with pre-schoolers who have a disability. She and her husband, Jim, have been part of Windsor Park since moving from the UK 20 years ago.They are parents of two teens and have recently become team leaders for year 9 youth. Writing is a new thing but one which she is enjoying as a way of expressing how God speaks and leads her in everyday life. // Photo: Caleb Van Essen
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