Running on Fumes
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul (Psalm 23:1-3).
We know the sound: cough, sputter, cough—nothing. It might have been our lawnmower doing that, maybe our car. Hopefully not our aircraft in flight.
We live in an energy-driven world. There is a reason why oilfields attract world-wide attention. Run out of fuel and your engines shut down.
What’s true of combustion engines is also true of human souls.
Sometimes our souls may be filled with faith. At other times the level of faith may be so low that we begin living only on those proverbial fumes.
What causes that? Doubt, stress, fear and temptation can drain faith. It does not need to be anything traumatic, just normal day living can do it. Our saving faith in Christ is under continuous attack by Satan-led assaults. It can get worn down, tired, and feeble.
We need to fuel up regularly. We need to restore our souls to the level God intended.
What we learned from the Bible in Sunday School is still true and powerful. The sermons we heard and the Bible classes we attended added to our spiritual reserves.
But we can only go so far on those reserves. If we do not refuel, the time will come when we no longer have the spiritual energy we once had. We will grow spiritually sluggish. The faith gauge on our soul’s tank will hover near the “E.”
It’s one thing to know that our armored vehicle needs more fuel while in an enemy-held desert. It’s another thing to be able to find the fuel.
As we are not able make our own fuel to fill a gas tank, so we cannot manufacture faith to fill up a soul. We might be tempted to try. We might decide to just doubt less and believe more. But saving faith has only one source—and we are not it.
This faith is the product of the Savior God’s holiness and mercy. We can find it nowhere else than in him. From him it flows pure and undiluted. Homegrown faith, with a little bit of God’s thoughts thrown in, are as bad as water in the car’s fuel tank with a little bit of gasoline added. Even with a lot of gasoline mixed in with that water, it still will not work!
With the “green pastures” and “quiet waters” of his holy Word the Good Shepherd feeds his sheep.
God’s Word and sacraments are not junk food, not part of a fad diet! They fill us with faith that is strong, hope that is solid, and joy that cannot be overwhelmed.
We need not run our life on spiritual fumes. We should not.
God’s heavenly food restores our souls.
Jesus, our Good Shepherd, fill us with your heavenly food that we may fight the fight of faith with confidence as you restore to us the joy of our salvation. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military