…for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12: 34b)
Whatever sport you are involved in, you will have some sense of the importance of fueling your body. The greater the endurance required for your sport, the more you will likely understand this concept. Most endurance athletes understand it very well as most have experienced painful memories of “bonking”, also known as “hitting the wall”, a sudden loss of energy caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles. I have a handful of awful memories where I was more than an hour from home on a long cycle ride or more than an hour away from a finish line on my cross-country skis with nothing left in the tank. On those occasions I missed the mark on fueling my body and I was left with nothing in the tank.
I enjoyed an article entitled: How to Eat to Run: Fueling the Body for Performance. In it, the author suggests “6 Strategies for Fueling Your Running”. They are: 1) Listen to your Body; 2) Think about Macronutrients First; 3) Eat Real Food; 4) Eat Like the Elites; 5) Plan Your Fuel Before and During Runs; and finally, 6) Don’t be a Perfectionist. As an athlete, it is important to consider wise fueling of your body, but as a Christian it is even more important to consider your spiritual fueling.
In Christian circles I have often heard the phrase: “operating in the overflow” and I have come to find that it has been used very differently by various Christians. Many are turned off when they hear this because they associate it with “Prosperity Gospel”, preaching which basically says that it is God’s desire for every Christian to be financially prosperous and free of all illness – i.e. overflowing with riches. To me, however, “operating in the overflow” has nothing to do with financial success or physical health (although God may grant you both). Of much greater value, I believe it is God’s ultimate desire for all his children to be operating in the overflow of the Fruits of the Spirit and the supernatural energy of the Holy Spirit. I find that Christians are in one of three places: a place where they can’t cope with what is going on in their life; or a place where they can get by but they have nothing left to pour into others; or a place where they not only survive, but they thrive and have a surplus, an overflow for others. I believe there are periods in every Christian’s life where they are in that place where they can’t cope, or have nothing left for others, but if this is the place you are constantly at, or generally at, it is time to put wise measures in place to reach a place of overflow.
The key isn’t more self effort because this will lead to failure and frustration. It is making the Word of God real in your life. 2 Corinthians 1:5 says: “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” If suffering is poured into our lives, supernaturally through the Holy Spirit, what overflows is comfort. We’re not left depleted but filled with an overflow to comfort others.
I am blessed with a wife who I consider the most hospitable person on earth, so our home is continually filled with extra guests who need the love of Christ. As a family, we couldn’t provide them with what they need if we weren’t operating in the overflow. It’s critical that we remain in that place to be available to a hurting world in need of Christ’s love. It is only through a solid prayer life, continual feasting on God’s word, and keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world (Romans 12:2), that we can remain in that place. The Bible provides the recipe to operate in the overflow. It’s your choice whether you want to live there.