An Overdue Oil Change

September 27, 2012
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Acts 3:19 – Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. (NIV)

Did you know that we people of God require regular maintenance, much like cars do? Car oil needs changing because it gets contaminated with acids, burnt fuel, carbon particles, and sludge, which reduce the efficiency of the engine. The oil should be changed more often if we do a lot of idling, stop-and-go driving like at rush hour, pulling a trailer, or driving in dusty conditions. Regular oil changes are the best way to ensure longer engine life.

Likewise, you and I need a regular spiritual "oil change" to ensure that we function efficiently as people of faith. As we motor along in the rush of our fast-paced world, we can't help but accumulate a buildup of wastes. It may be dusty habits, burnt-out ways of thinking, or polluted values. We may have absorbed toxic ideas from the media or our associates which have devalued our hope and hampered the maturing of our faith. We may have become so seized-up with doubts and cynicisms about God that we have lost our capacity to trust Him in faith. Perhaps our hearts have accumulated a sludge buildup from habits of gloom, anger, or bitterness — or wrongs that have never been acknowledged and forgiven. Maybe our countenance has become marked by heaviness; joy and inner peace have vanished. These are signs that the "oil change" is overdue. The warning light is flickering.

If we ignore the warnings, we will run much like a car engine would: burn a lot of smoke, produce pollution, and waste money and energy. Like a labouring car engine, we will find it burdensome to love others. We become inefficient as people in God's kingdom, and we see little results for our efforts.

I realize that this is drastic talk. But let's admit it: we are not afraid to address harmful buildups in our physical body. So why is there a reluctance to admit this for our spiritual being?

It's pride that influences us to feel offended by the suggestion that we need an "oil change". We want to believe that we are okay, and so, we deny our neediness. It takes humility to admit that we have a sludge/sin buildup.

A good example is the biblical character, King David. Through hard knocks, he came to see the need for a regular maintenance for his "innermost place". But he didn't trust himself with the job. He believed that God knew him better than he knew himself. He pleaded with God to be his heavenly mechanic — to do a thorough checkup and then to do whatever was needed. David wanted to have a clean and pure heart, because he wanted to run well. May his prayer be our prayer, too:

Prayer: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10 NIV) Amen.


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About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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