Last Friday evening I was playing on my computer when I suddenly had this warning pop up telling me I had 6% battery left.  This took me by complete surprise since I had my computer plugged in.  So I quickly changed outlets thinking that I had somehow tripped the breaker. But none of the outlets seemed to work. Before I could save what I was doing my computer shut down.

What I discovered was that the problem was not my battery and it wasn’t my outlets.  It was the battery charger.  It died.  As it turned out, I was running on battery power all evening and didn’t realize it.

As I thought about this experience and began playing with ideas for how I could use it as a sermon illustration, I realized how I have heard similar stories used by pastors as sermon illustrations.  They typically went like this.

“The reason you go to church is so that you can get your batteries charged and make it through the weak.  If you don’t get your batteries charged, you will burn out.”

As I thought about this I realized I had a problem with the basic premise that we have some sort of spiritual batteries that will run down if they don’t get recharged.  I believe this is very misleading, even to the point of teaching that our spiritual survival is dependent upon us plugging in to Jesus once in a while.

This past year I bought the movie Batteries Not Included from Wal-Mart for only $5.   In this movie, two little, space robots come to earth and they choose an old, dilapidated building for their home.  The title of the movie comes from a scene where several baby robots are “born.”   One of the babies though is born without a battery and thus without life.  A guy in the building grabs that robot and runs back to his apartment with it.  After seeing him working on it, and presumably giving it a battery, the baby robot comes to life.

But the point of the movie relevant to us is that throughout the movie, these two robots have to plug into the wall in order to recharge their batteries.

This is not the way to view our Christian walk.  We are not given batteries in which we get charged and go about our way.  This is really nothing more than a spiritualized humanism veiled in Christian lingo.  We don’t have spiritual batteries.

Jesus talks about this in John 15 as he compares the Christian life to a vine and the branches.  Christians are the branches.  We are connected to the life giving vine all the time.  Jesus said in verse 5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

The whole notion of operating on spiritual batteries and walking the Christian life disconnected from Jesus is in serious error.  There is no life disconnected from Jesus.  Jesus refers to Himself as the “bread of life” (John 6:35,48), the “Light of life” (John 8:12),  the “water of life” (John 4:10), the source of the “River of life” (Revelation 22:1), and the “Word of life” (John 1:1). 

Either we live our lives in dependence upon Jesus for all things, or we resort to trying to walk the life on our own. (I say trying because in the end, true Christians will discover that even when they tried to live it on their own, the grace of God was still directing their steps.)

Church is not a time to connect and get our batteries recharged.  It is a time to JOIN with other believers in the praise, worship, and adoration of our Savior and for humbly receiving the continued nourishment.

I preached a sermon series on acceptable corporate worship about two years ago.  In this series I brought up preparing for corporate worship.  The way we prepare for corporate worship is family worship.  The way we prepare for family worship is private worship.  And the way we prepare for private worship is corporate worship.

To view ourselves as operating on battery power is to disconnect from this cycle of worship.  We must live our lives in constant worship, constantly looking to Christ and receiving his grace through the ministry of His Word in our private time, our family time, and our church time.  For as Jesus said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”

We have no spiritual batteries, but we do have a power source within us.

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 says, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6  who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

1 Comment

  1. very good application, or perhaps anti-application. I enjoyed your reminder of the true source of our power in life.