My cell phone is a treasure chest of untapped potential. The device contains several features I don’t understand and apps I’ll never use. Speaking of untapped potential, the speedometer in my car indicates my little sedan is capable of going 140 miles per hour, but I’ve seldom driven it more than half its maximum speed. (Maybe the car manufacturer should give me a refund.)
An indicator light on the dashboard demands my attention. In bright yellow letters it says MAINT REQD, the car’s way of reminding me it’s time to change the oil. I can disregard the tachometer and pay only passing attention to the cruise control button. But I dare not ignore the basics like keeping the tires properly inflated, changing the oil, and making sure the brakes work right.
Caring for Our Souls
You and I aren’t equipped with yellow lights that let us know when our souls require maintenance, but if we pay attention it’s clear when something is out of whack. Does your heart lack love? MAINT REQD! Do you have a critical spirit? Have you grown apathetic toward God’s Word? Do you have an aversion to prayer? Are you growing weary in well-doing? MAINT REQD! Caution lights like these foreshadow impending breakdowns in our relationships with God and others. When such warning signs appear, it’s time to pull over for a rest stop. On one occasion Jesus pulled his disciples aside and said, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). If your soul requires more serious repairs, perhaps a wise Christian friend or counselor could help. “The wise listen to advice” (Proverbs 12:15).
Just as it takes regular maintenance to keep a car functioning at peak performance, a healthy soul requires an ongoing posture of humble, obedient faith. The fellow we call Simon the Sorcerer “boasted that he was someone great” (Acts 8:9) and tried to manipulate God’s power for his own selfish ends, which is a prescription for spiritual engine failure. Simon took a positive step when he was baptized into Christ, but afterward his soul required ongoing maintenance. He needed to repent and pray for the Lord’s forgiveness to ensure faith transformed his heart as well as his mind.
Staying Close to the Father
A friend of mine has two sons whose personalities are wired very differently. As a young boy, one son moved slowly. He had trouble keeping up and usually dawdled along behind the family. His brother was just the opposite. Quick moving and easily distracted, he would run ahead and wander off.
One day the family went shopping in a large store, and as usual the slow-walking boy lagged behind while his wayward brother sprinted off. My friend decided to follow the straying son, and watched him from a distance to see what he would do. Suddenly the boy realized he was lost and started to cry.
A store worker rushed over just as the father stepped in and scooped up his little boy. The dad told the store worker, “He just needs to learn to be with me.”
I wonder if the heavenly Father says the same thing about us? To maintain spiritual health, “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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