Tuesday, March 11, 2008

You've Got It - Now Use It!

I'm selling my 98 Nissan Altima and in attempt to utilize it's full resale potential, I've been taking care of some repairs. There are only a few and most of them are minor, but one issue drew my attention more than others - the air conditioner. For just over a year I have been without AC. I suffered through one sweltering south Georgia summer with no relief, afraid to take my car to the mechanic with this issue. I have heard all the horror stories about AC repair and two different mechanics speculated that my repair would top the $1000 mark. So I suffered.

However, I mentioned my AC issue and its symptoms to a friend of mine a few months ago (a fellow pastor with lots of car repair experience). He made a recommendation that gave my frugal heart hope. "It sounds like you may just have a belt that has broken. Start there - hopefully that'll fix it." A few days after his advice a popped my hood, located by condenser and, sure enough, there sat three pulleys longing for a belt to turn them! I did not need the AC at the time (it was winter), but yesterday I went to the auto parts store, purchased my $10 belt and engaged the air conditioning system that has been sitting under my hood for over a year - unused, full of potential to improve my driving life!

I see a spiritual lesson in my idle air conditioner. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit living within us. The Spirit is referred to as "wind" or "breath" in biblical Greek, and just like my AC he is ready and waiting to fill our lives with a breeze that re-energizes us and improves the journey of life. In fact, the Spirit of God does much more than make life better - he teaches us, draws us into the Holy of Holies with the Father, comforts us in our dark times and corrects us in our fallen state, forming us into the image of Christ. Such potential just waiting to be engaged!

Why do we suffer, trying to live the Christian life without him? Often we are afraid of the cost. We have heard others' stories of following God and we don't know if we can pay the price. Or perhaps life is good in this season and we don't feel that we need the Holy Spirit; a more desperate time is coming and we'll deal with our need at that time.

How can we engage the Spirit of God? There are so many simple ways! Don't assume it will be a difficult process - start with the easy stuff. Take time to pray... for yourself, for others. for the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Study and meditate on the Word. Serve others. Share Christ with those who are far from him. Be obedient to the tasks the Lord lays on your heart. Ask God to give you more of his Spirit, without preconceptions of what his giving will look like. We have a wonderful Father who desires to give us good gifts - especially his own Spirit!

I'm reminded of an old dugout cheer - "You've got it, now use it!" We have the Holy Spirit waiting under the hood to be engaged; let's use what we've been given! We need not suffer any more!

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