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“WHAT’S UNDER THE HOOD?” – June 14

June 14, 2013

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Cool SSWhen I was a teenager, I bought myself a sweet ride.  It was black and shiny.  I added chrome rims with wide, low profile tires making speed bumps a hazard.  I bought a stereo that was more for the listening pleasure or displeasure of those outside the car.  I swapped the original steering wheel out for a small custom chrome wheel that made sharp turns a work-out.  I fussed over that car.  I washed it.  I buffed it.  I polished it.

I was so cool cruising the streets of my small,  rural town in my ’69 Camaro.  It was more than a mode of transportation from my home to school.  It served a purpose that was beyond a mechanism to speed the activities of my day.  My car was a representation of how I wanted my little world to see me.

However, there was a problem with my car.  It was a problem that was beyond my financial abilities to fix.  My Camaro rolled off the assembly line with a deficiency that belied its exterior.  My Camaro was powered by only six cylinders.  This is not the standard Camaro.  Chevrolet did not build the Camaro brand on six cylinder cars like mine.

2010 Camaro

2010 Camaro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Camaros are known as muscle cars.  The title does not come from having the same amount of horsepower as a family sedan.  Muscle cars have the kind of power that will pin you to your seat with each stomp of the accelerator.  They have an enticing guttural purr that speaks of their latent power even while idling.  A muscle car earns its moniker by what cannot be seen.  My Camaro did not earn any such moniker.  It had no muscle under its hood.  That is probably why my parents allowed me to buy it.  My car was a sham.  It looked the part, but it was not what people thought it was.

I would go on the Friday night cruise and drive really slow.  Often, I would find myself sitting next to real muscle cars.  They would rev the engine of their real muscle car and I would feel horsepower envy through my very being.  I was forced to play a cool indifference in my refusal to race; like they were a contender not worthy of a response from my beast.  All the while, I knew that I had a kitten under the hood.  I hated the appearance of power without anything to back it up.

My car was all show and no go.

I wonder how often I have lived in a manner that my faith is more like a poser for the real thing just as my Camaro was.  How often has my faith been all show and no go?

The Christian life is a response.  All that we have has been given to us.  We were saved despite ourselves while we were yet enemies of God.  There is nothing that we can earn through the practice of our faith.  We walk in a newness of life due to the grace that has been shown to us by our Father in Heaven.  The only appropriate response is love.  All other responses are a jumbled confusion of conflicting motives.  Motivation originating from anything other than love is just another example of our old flesh trying to get back into play.

The power plant that drives the actions of a child of God is a heart in love with their Redeemer. 

It matters greatly what is under our spiritual hood.  We can be motivated by many things but love is the only attitude that unleashes the full power of the Spirit in our lives.

I am hesitant to even suggest the number of Christians who are living under-powered lives.  I know my own heart.  I know that my own selfishness slips into the motivations for many of the activities that I choose to do for the Lord.  I can do all the right things for all the wrong reasons.  I have done that.  I struggle not to do that.

I think this is terribly common among us who are striving to follow Christ:

I have seen teachers whose ministry is contingent upon appreciation.
I have heard indifferent worship given between snippets of the last week’s events.
I have known elders who operated with an ongoing list of  wrongs done to them.
I have seen ministry leaders whose staffs feel beleaguered and taken for granted.
I have watched obedience offered to please a parent.
I have heard offerings being given in order to purchase privilege.
I have known accountability resulting in writing off a person who made a mistake.

Many of us look really good from the outside.  We have all the appearance of power but what we really have under the hood is suspect.  I think that it is very good to check one’s motivation.  I think it is good to listen to what our lives sound like.

Why are you going on that mission trip?
Why are you helping at Church?
Why are you giving your money?
Why are you giving your time to ministry?

If you are doing it for any reason other than out of love for your Redeemer, then you are probably doing it in your own power.  Consider how severely under-powered you will be and it will still gain you nothing.

Power is something that cannot be faked.  At some point, our poser bluff will be called.  Maybe, now is the time to check what you are running under your spiritual hood.  A swap of motivations can be as easy as falling upon our needs in confession and crying out for help to our Father who has been waiting for the right attitude to flood us with the power of His Spirit.

PRAYER: Lord, you know my heart better than I do.  You know that I do so much from the wrong motivations.  I know that I am probably more of a clanging symbol than a beautiful melody to your ear.  Father, help me.  Help me to walk in a love for You and for my neighbors.  Forgive me for allowing my selfishness to get in the way.  Forgive me for all the right things that I have done out of the wrong motivation.  I don’t want to be fake.  I don’t want to pretend to be living in the power of your Spirit.  I want to know the real thing.  I will to live in your love and your power.  Strip me of any motivation that is not pleasing to you. I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

13 comments

  1. Reblogged this on hisimagenme.


  2. your words convict me….thanks so much sharing!


  3. Thanks so much for this post!! I needed that heart check. Keep doing what you are doing!


    • Thanks for the encouragement. I am glad this post was timely.
      God Bless!
      JD


  4. Amen! My whole ministry is bases on this scripture!


  5. Powerful post JD. We can look really good on the outside but have nothing under the hood. Thank you for your honesty and transparency in this post. May we all strive to do the right things for the right motivation.


  6. Amen! Thanks for that today! Lets pray God would reveal our hearts to us and then, after we repent, change them to reflect His. Blessings!


  7. Sometimes it takes more honesty than one has to actually admit to what’s under our (spiritual) hood. I have told myself some whoppers now and then. It’s so easy to want to look good.


  8. BINGO!


  9. JD, you hit my nail on the head. I want to do what I do for the glory of God, but I know in my heart that I do some things in order to be noticed in one or another way. This is not good for my, and it certainly does not speak well for my priority of saying that I put God first in my life and in my motivations. God help us all to be true to Him in what we do.

    Thank you so much for your devotions. I appreciate their wisdom. I have now changed the name of the church blog to Carol’s Comments because I was the only one writing. The pastor concurred. He thought he was going to write, but he didn’t do it either. I am at http://www.flutem3scomments.wordpress.com if you want to follow. I am not writing daily, but I am trying to write weekly.

    Carol


  10. You write well, thanks for the time you have put into this. I hunger for more Power in His great love…

    P.S Love the look of that black and shiny beast above…reminds me of a toy Buick Regal I love playing with as a kid 🙂


  11. Amen! As we try to keep our left hand from knowing what the right hand is doing, we must still faithfully give until it hurts. Not withholding because we feel shortchanged, but giving God’s best to others out of love. Great post. I enjoyed it.
    P.S. If you do feel short-changed on your Camaro, about the same time I was praising God That I was able to buy a Ford Maverick (a little over $2,000 in those days). It got good mileage, but definitely not a muscle car. I borrowed a friend’s Camero to bring some kids home from summer camp and got a ticket! My bad!


  12. Awesome blog, getting to the heart of things. Thank you.



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