Forward Online Experience

Caution: Neglecting Spiritual Pit Stops Is Reckless

Caution: Neglecting Spiritual Pit Stops Is Reckless

By David Jeremiah

Share on Facebook
New!
Now playing this article

Those who follow NASCAR may be familiar with the intense, fast-paced nature of a race. Each race finds the drivers roaring down straightaways, negotiating curves, hitting the backstretch, breathing smoke and fumes, and trying to keep their wits as they fly around the track at 200 miles per hour.

Though most of us are not professional drivers, many of our days feel like a furious race of tasks, deadlines, and a variety of critical decisions. We do our best to negotiate the turns with a level head and heart as life flies by at top speed. But if we’re not careful, there are dangers that will spin us out of control and send us crashing into the boards.

If we are going to compare our life to the intensity of high-speed racing, then it is important to remember that those races include pit stops. These 16-second breaks are interspersed throughout the race to allow time for the driver to pull off the track while a pit crew changes the tires, checks under the hood, makes repairs, gives the driver a drink, and fills the fuel tank with gas. Surprisingly, in a sport where speed is the prevailing element, these brief intervals of stillness and preparation can provide the edge that propels a driver to victory.

There are few more powerful or applicable comparisons for our daily time with the Lord than this picture of pulling off the track, checking for issues, refueling, and refreshing in preparation for the strenuous race that lies ahead.

Prepare for Success

The habit of neglecting spiritual breaks is just as reckless as skipping pit stops. Routine check-ins with our Crew Chief have the power to refuel our soul, clean the windshield of our heart, and provide a drink of living water. Without these breaks, we lack the energy, health, and clarity to live the vibrant, meaningful life God has planned for us.

Without breaks, we lack the energy, health, and clarity to live the vibrant, meaningful life God has planned for us.

Great Christians have always readied themselves for regular service by taking time away from the action. William Carey was the “father of modern missions,” and while serving in the land of Burma (Myanmar), he crafted for himself a refuge in the garden of his home. His biography tells us, “There at sunrise, before tea, and at the time of full moon when there was the least danger from snakes, he meditated and prayed, and the Book which he ceaselessly translated for others was his own source of strength and refreshment.”1

The British statesman, Earl Cairns, Lord Chancellor of England, was an extremely busy man; but no matter what time he came home in the evening, he always arose at the same hour to have his quiet time the next morning. His wife said, “We would sometimes get home from Parliament at two o’clock in the morning, but Lord Cairns would always arise at the same hour to pray and study the Bible.” He later attributed his success in life to this practice.

Here’s how evangelist D. L. Moody readied himself for his day’s work: “He was an early riser. He generally rose about daybreak in summer, devoting the early hours to Bible study and communion with God. He used to say that one who followed this plan could not get more than twenty-four hours away from God.”

The Bible also identifies believers who understood the importance of taking breaks. Here’s what it tells us about Daniel: “In his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10). And Mark 1:35 says this about Jesus: “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”

Elements of Preparation

What might a spiritual “pit stop” look like? How do we refuel our souls?

Reflecting on God’s goodness and faithfulness is a vital element of refueling our souls.

Psalm 37:3 instructs us to “feed on His faithfulness,” so reflecting on God’s goodness and faithfulness is a vital element of refueling our souls. We might spend time recording His answers to our prayers in a journal. Or we can ask the Lord to speak to us through His Word and to sustain our soul with the nourishing words of Scripture. As we read, it is helpful to make notes, underline key passages, circle verbs, jot down outlines, and write out verses. These practices help to focus our minds on the text and ensure our souls absorb all the refreshment that Scripture offers.

Prayer is another life-giving element of rest. We can pray over a pertinent verse during our time in His Word, and we can share with Him all that is on our mind. Scripture assures us that God hears every word we speak in prayer: “But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer” (Psalm 66:19). Not only is God the perfect listener, but He also imparts peace and wisdom to us that is beyond what anyone on earth can offer.

Not only is God the perfect listener, but He also imparts peace and wisdom to us that is beyond what anyone on earth can offer.

With our heavy burdens cast at the feet of Jesus and the Word of God revitalizing our souls, we can roar out of the pits ready to sharpen our focus on God’s purpose, perspective, plan, and prize for our life.

1 Iris Clinton, Young Man in a Hurry: The Story of William Carey (Fort Washington: Christian Literature Crusade, 1961), 55-56.

This article originally appeared in the September 2006 issue of Turning Points Devotional Magazine. Request your complimentary subscription today!

More from Turning Point Radio

This is a Sample Title

1:37 / 3:48