When I was growing up, a filling station was where cars pulled in to “fill up” their tanks with gasoline. Today, such businesses are usually called gas stations—or convenience stores, buying clubs, truck stops, or travel centers, businesses for which gasoline is only one of the many products they sell. Gas stations are all over the world because cars are all over the world. A gas station without a car is unnecessary, but a car without a gas station is a disaster.
That’s exactly what happened in the early 1900s. Almost overnight, cars began appearing, and a problem was quickly identified: There was nowhere to buy gas! Gasoline was being sold by the bucket at general stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, and from vendors in the street. There were no gas pumps at first—funnels and buckets were the order of the day. But it didn’t take America’s entrepreneurs long to fill the void. Standard Oil of California claims it opened the first drive-in gas station with pumps in 1907—and the rest is filling station history.
The lesson is this: Machines require power. As new kinds of engines are developed, fuel for those engines—hydrogen, natural gas, liquid gas, Ethanol—finds its way into new kinds of filling stations. And developers of electric-powered cars are determined not to be caught in a fuel shortage. Worldwide charging stations for electric cars are well under way. The lesson has been well learned over the last century: Without fuel, there is no power.
Power to the People!
But it’s not just cars and other machines that require power. We the people require power, too. As they chanted in the 1960s, there needs to be “power to the people!” What fuels our power? You know the basics that are mentioned often—water, nutritional food, exercise, sleep, balanced self-esteem, and a healthy mental attitude. No argument there—you and I need all of them.
But human beings were designed by God to function on a kind of fuel not needed by any machine, and that fuel is truth. It is God’s truth that gives us the power to resist the pressure and pull of this world. Jesus said that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). And the apostle John wrote that the whole world “lies under the sway” of Satan (1 John 5:19). That means Satan is dispensing the fuel the world runs on. When you pull into one of this world’s filling stations to determine what is real, what is eternal, what is important, what will last—your spiritual gas tank is being filled with Satan’s fuel. He loves nothing better than to give his deceitful power to the people.
If you want to live a life of power, you will have to be fueled by God’s truth as found in the Bible. Yes, there is truth about God found in nature. But the specific, propositional truths that will renew our mind are found in, and always based on, the clear teaching of Scripture. The truth of God will teach us, chastise us, correct us, and instruct us in how to live a life that is pleasing to God (2 Timothy 3:16).
So the question is, How full is my spiritual fuel tank with God’s truth?
Check Your Gauge!
You probably check the fuel gauge in your car every time you start the engine. It’s a habit that we cultivate based on the consequences of running out of fuel. But are we as conscientious about checking our spiritual fuel tank? In other words, how often are you filling your heart and mind with the truth of God’s Word? How consistently are you having personal Bible study, sitting under biblical preaching and teaching, and dialoguing with biblically-based authors and friends by reading sound theology and discussing the Bible with others?
The symptoms of “inferior fuel” in a car are many: failure to start, rough riding, and poor gas mileage. If you’re experiencing any of those symptoms in your spiritual life, it’s time to check your gauge.
Check-Up Challenge: Pay attention to your fuel level. Make a plan for personal Bible study and fill your tank with God’s truth.
Ask a friend to name people who are truly kind, and sadly, they’ll probably find it hard to come up with more than two or three. Will you be one of them? Dr. David Jeremiah considers the quality that seems to be in short supply in today’s culture, but which Christians are called to live in abundance.