There is a principle TD Jakes teaches in this next-to-the-last chapter, Return to Sender, that really came alive to me as I taught it in class. His point is that believers often function at one of two extremes: either we are constantly in the presence of the Lord and doing nothing to fulfill our purpose or we are ever pursuing the next goal, the next accomplishment – in business or even in ministry – and not spending any time in God’s presence. Either extreme is fruitless. For ease of understanding, I created a chart to describe the cycle Jesus modeled.
Let’s think about this way. Imagine that time spent in God’s presence is like going to an old-fashioned gas station. You pull in, get gas in your tank and have your windshield cleaned. In this first stop, your tank is refilled and your vision is cleared. After this routine maintenance, you GO SOMEWHERE. And because you’ve been replenished and had your vision cleared, you can see more clearly where God wants you to go and you have the necessary energy to go. The whole point of getting gas in a car is so it is able to fulfill its purpose: take you from place to place. You don’t pull into a gas station, get your tank filled and then stay on the parking lot. That’s foolish. Sitting in the parking lot will never get you to your destination. Likewise, sitting in the presence of God may fill your tank but it won’t help you pursue and accomplish your purpose.
After you’ve been out working you will find you need to go back into the presence of God to be refilled. Pursuing your purpose is draining. Accomplishing great things for God take a lot out of you. You may need more than gas. You may need an oil change, tune-up or some other,more extensive maintenance done. After that work has been done, you pull out of the gas station and move back into fulfilling your purpose. This is the cycle we need to get a handle on.
So many of us are running on empty. Just as in the natural world, if you attempt to drive a car without pulling into the gas station to be refilled, you will eventually find yourself sitting on the side of the road – empty. And there seems to be a natural law that you never run out of gas in convenient places.
Some are racing from thing to thing and totally ignoring all of the warning signs on the dashboard. Instead of going in to get the necessary work done, you act like you are in the Sandra Bullock movie. You won’t pull over so you expect God to run alongside you and refill your tank while you keep running from thing to thing. You expect God to do an oil change or tune up while you are still moving. That only works in the movies. Even Jesus knew He had to get away from the hubbub to spend time alone in the presence of God. If Jesus did it, what makes us think we can keep going, nonstop? To continue to do so means a crash is inevitable.
This message is particularly important during the holiday season. Take time to get alone with God. This is the only way you’ll make it through this season with joy. Be blessed.