Fill 'Er Up!
“Fill ‘er up!” That is, once upon a time, what one would shout out to the man at the gas pump when you pulled into the filling station. Nowadays they’re called gas stations and you pump your own gas. Either way, a car will not run on an empty tank. It must be filled! More importantly, it must be filled with the proper contents. If you fill your car with anything other than gasoline, you will be going nowhere fast! (However if you’ve figured out how to make a car fun off water, do tell!)
At first thought, an analogy to help illustrate my thoughts on being filled, a glass came to mind. And the thought was that a glass only completes its purpose when it is filled. That is, however, untrue. A filled glass does no good until it is put to use. After giving this more thought, a better way to put it would be to say that a glass only completes its purpose when it is filled, so that its contents can be given for the benefit of another.
I assume that you can probably see where I am going with this. And you are right to assume that I am not about to relate this to our need to be filled physically. (Although, a healthy diet does the body good in work, play and service). Yes, I am speaking spiritually. The first question to ask yourself is “If I am to be filled, what am I being filled with?” To answer that, we should take a look at our everyday lives. We are all currently being filled with something. Our environment, our daily lives, the people we surround ourselves with, the places we go to, the things we see and hear all have the potential to fill us, good and bad. Lets look at ourselves for a moment as the glass I had mentioned a moment ago, filled with contents, with a purpose to serve that content for the benefit of others. If you could see the contents of the glass, would it be suitable to serve? Would you drink from it? I think everyone would agree that if we had someone ask us for a drink of water, we wouldn’t dare serve them a dirty glass. We all desire pure water. So, getting back to looking at ourselves, how do we filter out the impurities, so that our contents are pure and good?
One way to do this is to take a look at each influence individually. Is that influence a person? Do they build you up or tear you down? Do they encourage and motivate you, or discourage an exhaust you? Other influences can be the places we go, TV/youtube shows that we watch, etc. Some of these things may not have a negative impact if done every now and then. But too much of one thing can be harmful. Violent movies can fill us with anger, the news media can fill us with fear and doubt, etc.
Once we pinpoint the impurities we must train to empty ourselves from their influence on us. For example, I am a fan of the UNC Tarheels. However I had to limit myself on the amount of basketball I watched. It sounds ridiculous and laughable, and that is, because it was! Years ago, I would watch every game I could, when they won I was happy, but when they lost (especially to Duke!) I was miserable. I would still be miserable and in a bad mood, the next day. I would take that attitude to work. One night, after watching Duke beat Carolina on a last second shot, I became so enraged that I threw and broke the remote control against the wall. My wife gave me the burning look a mother would give a child who was throwing a temper tantrum (which I was behaving like one!). I realized then and there that I had become too absorbed in the Tarheel games. I had allowed it to become a negative influence on my life. A basketball game! That is silly, but its true. That is one example, but I think it is something most of us can relate to. There are things that may be unhealthy for us, and if they produce unhealthy results (anger, bad language, disgust, etc) out of us its best that we rid ourselves of them. Some of them are bad habits, some are unhealthy relationships. If you are having difficulty knowing which influences are harmful, or how to get rid of the harmful ones you are aware of, I encourage you to seek help. Seek the people in your life that you can trust and talk to. If you don’t have anyone, find some. There are plenty of people just like you, dealing with similar issues, who meet in groups and/or church that you can reach out to and join up with. There is help out there and you are not alone. Empty yourselves of the things that cause fear, doubt and distrust and you can filter out those impurities!
We started at the filling station. We know that we are to be filled, but with what? Not fear, doubt, and distrust! We desire joy, peace and fulfillment! We all desire love and purpose! But how do we get these things? Everyone of us has a hole, a void in our hearts. Some of us spend our entire lives trying in vain to fill that hole, still seeking for that one thing to complete us. We may ask “Isn’t there something more? There absolutely is! Beloved, there is but One thing that can fill that void, we just need to know what That is. The answer is that we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts. One that only He can fill. Beloved, you and I were created by God Almighty, created in His image and in His likeness. We were created with a purpose, to know God, and to honor, worship and glorify Him! That is what we are to be filled with. It is my hope you know this. That God loves you and desires for you to know and love Him. It is through His Son Jesus, that we can know and love God. I cannot talk about being filled with the love of God without talking about sin (our disobedience to God) and God’s rescue plan for us through Jesus. That is a discussion to have entirely on its own, but it can be summed up this way: God created us, we disobeyed God (sin) God is holy and without sin. Our sin separated us from God. The payment for sin is death. But God loves us and wants us back, so He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross in our place for our sins. Jesus, that knew no sin, became sin, so that we could live. Jesus’ death on the cross paid for our sins, and He rose again three days later conquering sin and the grave. If we repent of our sins and ask and trust Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, He will do just that. We will be a new creation, filled with the Holy Spirit, with the promise of eternal life with God in heaven.
Some of that may be confusing, but if you have questions, do not be afraid to ask! Get those questions answered. If you are new to the faith or curious and want to get into the Bible to give it a try, let me encourage you to start with the book of John in the New Testament. And there are plenty of good trustworthy resources out there to aid you along, in the bookstore, online, and at a healthy Gospel driven church.
So be filled, be filled with the Holy Spirit! As a Christ follower, the same power that rose Jesus from the grave, dwells and lives within you. That is what we are to be filled with! You will find that as you continue to allow the Spirit of God to fill you, convict you and guide you, that he softens your heart. Your hopes and desires change. You begin to see and hear the world through the eyes and ears of God. Your hope becomes for the good of your friends and neighbors. Your desire becomes for the salvation of the ones you know and love. You will also begin to learn that as the Spirit fills you, He always fills you to overflowing. It is with that overflow that we take that to give to the benefit of others. Be a glass, transparent and honest, filled to overflowing with the pure living water that can only come from God.
“…but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” -John 4:14 (ESV)
“…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” -Ephesians 5: 18b-22 (ESV)