Devotion: Running On Empty

By Tim Ewing —  October 24, 2013 — Leave a comment

Inspired by: “I’m Still Yours” by Noel McLeary

Click here to listen to “I’m Still Yours” by Noel McLeary

Click here to listen to “Runnin On Empty” by Jackson Browne

running on empty

Being a DJ and a music lover, I am constantly listing to music. My wife commonly introduces me as the walking jukebox because when it comes to music, it’s very rare that I can be stumped. Upon tring to write this devotional, my brain immediately reminded me of a great classic Jackson Browne song called  “Runnin’ On Empty.” As I revisited those lyrics, I realized that this could be the theme song for a good many of our lives. The song lyrics say “Running on – running on empty… Running on – running blind… Running on – running into the sun…But I’m running behind.”

Most of us who drive realize fuel is an absolute necessity in order for our vehicle to run. We know that when the gas gauge reads “Empty” or when we see that annoying light come on, it’s time to pull on in to the gas station and fill it up. But honestly, how many of you have tried to see how far we could get on “Empty”?

The same is true in our spiritual lives. Many times we try to see how far we can get, unintentionally, without spending quality one on one time with God. Our egos get in the way of the ever- present Holy Spirit that is beckoning our attention. Meanwhile, we remain on cruise control for the week. We try to fill our tank with everything but what is necessary to function: fellowship with friends, insightful books, worshipful music and “drive-by” encounters with God are all things. While these are all positive activities, they are not sufficient enough for sustained spiritual growth.

If we let ourselves become depleted in the area of the Word, then our spirit will fill the consequence. Also, if we go awhile without conversing with the Father, then our spirit suffers as well. As Christians, we were meant to ‘fill upon’ the Word, to keep our spirit in line with the Word. This keeps us from unbelief, thinking on things that we need to leave alone, or perhaps forgetting we serve a God who can be trusted in every facet of our lives. The flesh is weak also, and if we are depleted in the area of spiritual things, then we may succumb to the enemy’s tricks. And, believe me, he has tricks up his sleeve!

In the book of James, we find where our dependence, our source of strength, should come from. We need to be completely, solely dependent upon Him. He is our strength, our fuel. Subjugating ourselves to Him, our motives and our desires to His, leaves us full and confident to continue our journey.

On the race the Lord has marked out for us, sometimes we have to sprint, and sometimes hurdles are a part of our endurance training. Some seasons are busier than others, and we have no control over it. But I’m not necessarily talking about being too busy. I’m talking about running with the wrong source of energy. About becoming distracted with the audience on the sidelines. About taking shortcuts when the path marked before us gets too rocky. About going just because we’ve always gone.

A few years ago Rolling Stone Magazine featured Brown’s Album and wrote the following about the song “Runnin’ On Empty.”” “The title track was actually written when Browne was driving back and forth to the studio each day to make The Pretender. ‘I was always driving around with no gas in the car,’ he said. ‘I just never bothered to fill up the tank because — how far was it anyway? Just a few blocks.’”

Does this apply to you? Are you running on fumes, thinking that your fill-up is only a few blocks away? What are some “good” things in your life that may actually be substitutions for taking the time to truly “refuel” with God? The Lord desires that we run our races with a full tank of Him.  God fills our cup to overflowing, and God’s goodness and mercy follow us everywhere, throughout all of life. God is with us wherever we go, whenever we are in need of fuel. We can refill our tanks whenever we have need, at any time of the night or day. And filling up our tanks doesn’t even cost us anything! All we need to do is ask, and our cups will be filled to overflowing.


Tim Ewing is the founder of Kindred Concert Ministries. You can learn more about Kindred by going to or by emailing him at

Noel McLeary is a a Christian Pop/Rock artist from the Pittsburgh, PA area. “I’m Still Yours” can be found on his new EP titled “Can’t Escape Your Love,” which can be found on iTunes or at her website. For more information about Noel you can go to her website at

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