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Running on Empty: Preventative Maintenance for your Soul

Running on empty: Preventative maintenance for your soul by Pastor Bruce A. Shields

I had to drive a few hundred miles the other day to pick up a friend. He had just returned from the Worldwide Anglican Church Centenary in Uganda, where he serves as Archbishop. Over the years, I have driven many miles on the highway and truly enjoyed the trip. It always gives me hours of quiet time to reflect and think, except for a few new roundabouts they put in, which I dislike.

During the drive, I noticed my check engine light, which was not the first time I had seen it, but I had not even reached my destination yet, and still had to travel the entire way back. So ignored it.

Why did I ignore it?

Because I had already taken my vehicle in and had the warning checked out. A sensor in the hatchback needs replacing; whenever I hit bumps, it can trigger the warning light.

Preventative maintenance on my vehicle prepared me for troubles that may arise. Therefore, I was as prepared as possible. Now, there is no way to prepare for everything. That is how life works sometimes, but I prepared to the best of my ability.

We had an entire maintenance crew when I was a trainer in a parts manufacturing plant twenty or more years ago. One day there was a high demand for a specific part of a machine one of my trainees was operating.

Maintenance came and shut down the machine to do PM. When I asked why they responded, "if we do not do the preventative maintenance by the schedule, something serious could happen, and instead of the machine being shut down for the afternoon, it could be shut down for days or weeks for repair."

The lesson here is this;

We go about our lives, coming and going, doing the things we need to work and survive. But, sometimes, our "check engine" warning will come on. So, what do we have instead of bright orange or red lights? Our check engine warning is misplaced anger, irrational fear, depression, physically tired, mentally exhausted, worn out, or beat down, there are many warning lights in us, and sometimes more than one goes off because we ignored the first.

Sometimes we feel too busy to take care of that pesky warning light. Too much is happening or on our plate to take a serious look at the problem.

If we do not schedule a PM (preventative maintenance) for ourselves, we are setting ourselves up for the need of future repairs!

An afternoon of maintenance can prevent a few days or weeks of repairs.

We need to remember the seventh day, and God rested not because He was tired but to teach us to take a break and take care of ourselves. And we do this by re-filling our spiritual tanks with the fuel it needs, the Word of God.

When the troubles come, and they will, we must prepare before they strike rather than play catch-up and repair all the damage that was done.

Setting aside a little time each morning to read God's Word is preventative maintenance to help you get through the day. Fellowshipping once or more each week surrounds you with believers who will encourage you, lift you, and strengthen your character. They are a shoulder to cry on, a hand to shake, and a person who cares for you and your spiritual growth.

As Benjamin Franklin said in 1736, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Start today!

Read the Word of God, and give your soul what it needs, the fuel to drive its engine. Build yourself up through the Holy Word and set yourself on the right path each day before facing the many trials of a fallen world.

We are told in Ephesians that we, as believers in Christ, have access to the Armor of God. A spiritual asset available only through Him to prepare and protect us in the spiritual warfare that is taking place in this world right now.

Unfortunately, many professing Christians ignore the flashing warning lights in their lives, do not refuel their spirit with the Word of God, and run on empty.

They enter the battlefield with no armor or sword and wonder why they are always defeated.

Do not be unprepared for the world outside your door.

Preventative maintenance is as simple as picking up your bible and reading. Refuel your spiritual tank, take care of the flashing warning lights, and put on your spiritual armor to face your day. You will see a difference and be so glad you prepared.

"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" Matthew 16:26

"Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers." 3 John 1:2

"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8


Ephesians 6:10-18

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all


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