I live in an area where automotive research makes a lot of money. Even though not in Detroit, the engineering schools attract a lot of top talent for companies like Subaru, Toyota, Honda, Chrysler, etc. However, there is a lack of study here on what excellence in spiritual life looks like: Christlike.
Most of the spirituality here is of the car-like variety: running & rusting. Dirty in the winter, idolized in the summer. Dreamed about, but wasted.
Often when the Bible talks about a soul running, they are either running to the Lord (Isaiah 40:31) or away from the Lord (Jonah). When a car is running, that means it works, likewise, when a person is running, they are exerting effort, laboring. The real issue though is: Are we exerting effort to draw closer to God or are we drawing away from God. Consecration (that is, our dedication of purpose) makes all the difference.
Often, we speak of cars resting. If they are resting at a traffic light, people will either be honking because it is green and they should go or the driver will be restless because they are wanting to go through to their destination ASAP! Except in Minnesota, where people are “Minnesota nice” and have contests waving each other through, most people do not regard stops as social events, much less ministry events. In sharp contrast, when the church is at rest it is growing. Think of a bunch of cars parked in front of a friends house during a house church or small group. Usually, in such instances the only time you think about the car is when parking and finding the address initially: if you want to go to a party or other gathering, go where the cars are resting. Hmmm, the cars are consecrated in this instance, because likewise, when saints are resting before the Lord, there are often great things that happen: prayer, mission callings, dreams & visions.
Maybe we should park out in the Lord’s presence more often. What would happen if you kept your spiritual life in as good repair as your car? You would listen for the little murmurs that indicate engine trouble, certainly you would keep the tires inflated for maximum efficiency. You would rest. You would drive your car to church on a regular basis to worship.
Now, it is time for a confession, I have no car I claim as my own. I ride busses. But those buses are consecrated to the Lord, as far as I am concerned. I look forward to the rides on the buses as a time when I can meet & encourage & bless people. Some may dread the bus, I delight in them because they are dedicated to the Lord.
Wait, I must address something else in which cars and consecration are very similar: it is about more than appearances. Would you rather have a handsome car with no engine or an ugly car with great gas mileage and great gusto? Hypocrisy affects both cars and people, just because it looks good, doesn’t mean it actually runs all that well. Are you in good repair spiritually? Are you tuned up in the Spirit? Next time you gas your car, pray that the Holy Spirit would fill you up as well. The longer you must pump, the longer you will pray. The more frequently you refuel, the more frequently you will pray.
And while you are at it, pay inside and share the Good News with the gas station attendant.
God loves you.