Running on Empty

Written by Russ Horne

photo-1424169292451-7c28a6053189A few years ago I was going through a season of discouragement in my ministry.  I felt like I was going through the motions and my soul was empty. That’s usually not a good place to be in for an extended period of time, especially if you are a pastor trying to lead people into spiritual growth.  But like anything that we go through in life, God can use it for our good.  After talking to a friend about my situation, he said something so simple but powerful, “It sounds like you are putting your work before your walk.”  As soon as he said that I knew that he hit the nail on the head.  Somehow in all the business and activity of ministry, my walk with the Lord became less and less of a priority and I was feeling it in my soul.  I knew something needed to change because I didn’t want to live with an empty soul.  

The only thing that I knew to do was to cry out to God for an answer. During that time I felt like God spoke to me saying, “the greatest aim in your life has to be pursuing a passionate relationship with me and everything that you do will flow from that relationship.” It sounded so simple, but somehow I knew I had gotten away from this by putting my work before my walk. During this time, I came to Micah 6:8 were it says, “He has shown you, O man what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” This verse became my life verse and from it I established three core values for my life that help keep me focused on the most important thing, my relationship with God.  

Value #1 – act justly by serving God in the world

Value #2 – love mercy by loving others in authentic relationships

Value#3 – walk humbly with your God by pursing a passionate relationship with Him.  

As I looked at these values, I realized that the first two values, acting justly and loving mercy, will only flow from the third value to pursue a passionate relationship with God.   When I saw this, I began to get excited once again about pursuing a passionate relationship with God as my highest aim in life because everything I do in life and ministry will flow from that relationship.  

So I had to ask myself what does it really mean to walk humbly with God? I came up with an acrostic from the word WALK to help remind me on a daily basis what it means to pursue a passionate relationship with God.

W – Willingness to make progress

To walk means to make progress by putting one foot in front of the other.  To walk humbly with God means first of all there has to be a willingness to make progress. To walk with God means to be growing in your character, growing in your faith and growing in your relationship with him. I never want to stop growing as a person or as a leader.  There is always some area of my life and character where God wants to grow me. Like Rick Warren says, “God is not interested in your comfort; he is interested in your character.  He will often sacrifice your comfort to grow your character.” Walking humbly with God means cultivating a willingness in my heart to let God grow me and change me on a daily basis.   

A – Acknowledge my dependence

To walk humbly with God means to acknowledge my dependence on him on a consistent basis. I love the first beatitude where Jesus said, “blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The word for poor that Jesus uses is a word for desperate poverty, so poor that unless someone comes to your aid you won’t survive. That’s a beautiful picture of the type of dependent attitude we are to maintain in the kingdom of God. Without him we can’t do anything. But when we stay dependent he promises to release the resources of heaven on our behalf.  

L – Live with confidence

When we walk humbly with God we can live with great confidence. Micah uses the pronoun “your” in this verse to emphasize the fact that we belong to him. Not only do we belong to him, but we can live with the overwhelming assurance that He is for us and not against us! When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, before he gave them the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer, he said, “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” What a confidence builder for us when we realize that God already knows what we need and he is so willing release his best over our lives.  

K – Know who is with you

He is the God of the impossible. He is in control. There isn’t anything that takes God by surprise that happens in our lives. He is infinitely good and can be completely trusted.  I am reminded in Acts chapter 4 when the believers were facing their first persecution and they gathered together to pray. The first thing that they did in pray was to place their focus on God and declare that he was sovereign, all-powerful and in control.

This verse has become a real focus point for my life. Life is still busy, responsibilities still demand my time, urgent things can tend to take priority over what is really important.  But in the midst of all of that, I remind myself that the most important aim in my life is to pursue a passionate relationship with Him and everything else will flow from that relationship. As much as we may crave this passionate relationship, remember that God wants it even more. When Jesus called his disciples, the first thing that he called them to was to be with him. May we hear that same calling to be with him today.

russ and jamie website pictureRuss Horne and his wife, Jamie, planted Sharpsburg Family Worship Center in 1999, and have led this church for the past 17 years. They both have a huge heart for their community. Their heart is to see God transform people’s lives by teaching the story of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross. Russ has a passion for teaching the Bible in a way that people can understand and apply to their daily lives. Russ and Jamie live in Sharpsburg with their six kids



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