I live in a small Tennessee city outside of Nashville where cars have been manufactured by GM for the last twenty-five years. My friend, Chris, has worked in that plant as an engineer since it first opened. The job brought him here so he could become a follower of Jesus. I'm not sure anyone told the corporate office in Detroit about that part.
Today in our church service Chris, the auto engineer, spoke about something quite natural for someone in his profession to speak about: cruise control. Now Chris, the engineer, can tell you how cruise control works. I don't have a clue.And yet, I have more experience with cruise control than he does. Because, you see, back 41 years ago when Chris was but a lad I got my first car with "Cruise Control" (made by Chris' company in its pre-bankruptcy iteration) and I loved it.
But here is the real point: Chris said today when we are "spiritually in cruise control" it is usually not a good thing as we are usually cruising away from God. How right he is. Cruise control is in great contrast with so many biblical phrases and truths:
- “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door,"
- "...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."
- "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
- "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness..."
What worked great for me in my 1974 Chevy Malibu (albeit with its dismal 8 MPG in the city) is worse than dismal in the spiritual realm. Actually, in our spiritual lives the term "cruise control' is full of irony. When we are "on cruise," we are spiritually "out of control" and in free-fall away from God. It may take a while. We may think we are cruising on the highway of holiness, but at some point, before we realize it, we find ourselves surrounded by darkness, or, worse still, filled with it.
If that is true of you or someone you know, there is hope. You can re-engage or your can help someone else to do it. For that to happen, the gear may feel like it its grinding a bit, but it will get there. The Scripture calls it repentance. I like to call it a miracle.
Today Chris, the engineer, was more like Chris, the theologian. Thanks, brother. Keep teaching.