Learning to Drive – A Refresher Course (Updated from January 2003)

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. – John 3:3.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. – John 1:12.

On New Year’s Day 2003 in Canada (Edmonton, Alberta), a couple of guys (One 17-years-old and the other 18.) had a bright idea. They thought they would carjack a pizza deliverer along with the pizza and money. They ran into one little problem. When one of the guys began to drive away, he discovered that the car had a manual transmission with a stick shift. The clutch and the stickshift were too much and finally in frustration they simply made off with the pizza and the money. However, the police spotted the robbers going into the very same home where the pizza had been ordered. They were arrested and the pizza and the money were recovered. A police spokesperson said, “It was a toss-up between pizzas and the car, and they knew how to operate pizzas.”

One of the most frustrating things for a new Christian is that the Christian life is more complicated than it first appears. You have received Christ as your Savior, you have been born again and the Holy Spirit lives within you but living the Christian life still can appear overwhelming. It is much like trying to drive a car with a stick shift and manual transmission for the first time. To successfully drive the car there are some things you need to do in the proper order. First, depress the clutch. Second, while the clutch is depressed put the stick shift into first gear. Third, slowly release the clutch while giving the car more gas by depressing the accelerator. Repeat the process for other gears.

How do you start moving forward in the Christian life? The very first thing that the first Christians did after Christ ascended to Heaven was to pray (Acts 1:13-14). They waited in the upper room and prayed. Prayer is much like the clutch. Without prayer, nothing else is going to work. Before shifting gears, depress the clutch. Before doing anything in the Christian life pray!

So you have prayed – what’s next? Read the Word of God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).” As you read God’s Word listen for His Voice (This is also praying.) ask Him to speak to you. After you finish reading, pray again. If God gave you instruction while you were reading His Word pray again before proceeding and pray while you are doing what He has told you to do. Pray after finishing. Prayer is a constant activity for the Christian. Reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word is a daily activity.

An at least weekly activity for the child of God is assembling with other believers (Hebrews 10:24-25). Before you do so pray. Pray for other believers, pray for the pastor and ask God to speak to your heart. Afterward pray again.

Just as with driving a vehicle with a manual transmission requires certain mechanics, steps, or procedures every time so does the Christian life. The mechanics of the Christian life do not change. So if you have been trying to shove the gearshift into third without the clutch of prayer why not stop and pray for a moment? I think you will find everything will go so much more smoothly with everything bathed in prayer.

The year 2008 stretches before you and as you drive through this year please remember the procedures that we as Christians need to continually implement to move forward in this life. I hope and pray you have a wonderful New Year!!

(Just as there are some procedures necessary to properly drive a car with a stickshift, there are procedures necessary to properly operate the Christian life. I hope and pray you have a Happy New Year in 2008!!)

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