The car pulled away. There was a little smoke, but not much. The characteristically smooth engine sounded funny, sounded like a bucket of bolts being shaken by an overly-enthusiastic cheerleader. I knew the driver, I knew the car manufacturer, and I know maintenance. The sound I heard is one of a last gasp of operational functionality.
Later, the driver contacted me shortly thereafter asking as to why there was no vehicle acceleration, when that person had it two days ago. I said things can change very quickly on a vehicle. While on the phone, I asked if that person had checked the oil recently. There was a slight pause, and a response that the oil was going to be checked right then. A muffled expletive was heard, and then a return to the phone with the finding: No oil.
How is this possible when it’s so easy to check? What is so difficult about such a simple thing? How can it cost a few bucks per quart, and a person is now saddled with replacing a blown engine at a cost of $4,500? And if had happened on an expressway and the engine seized, what other collateral damage, injury or worse could have resulted? A luxury vehicle engine would definitely cost many thousands more that $4,500.
There HAS to be an explanation as to why things like this happen. So, it takes me to a parallel category of having a maintenance program for our spiritual lives. Why would people do something that’s spiritually irresponsible in the moment, when that person knows it will not end well? Why? Was there a lapse in judgment or discernment?
Many a ministerial member of the clergy of administrative staff has fallen from a useful and purposeful life due to indiscretions, reckless decisions, and plain sinful behavior. Good maintenance may have been a key factor. And understanding Satan’s attacks are mandatory.
Proverbs 14:16 says – “A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident.”
Proverbs 22:1 says – “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches…”
I Chronicles 4:9-10 says – “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his nameJabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge myterritory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So, God granted him what he requested.
Galatians 5:16 says – “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
There are many more Scriptures that caution us against making bad decisions. But why do we make them? Bad maintenance. When we neglect Bible reading and study, when we reduce our prayer times due to sometimes self-inflicted intrusions into our harried schedules, and we allow Satan to cultivate the background to the failure. He prepares the situations long before the final failure. He smiles when we divert our attention from God’s plentiful spiritual resources. He creates the gradual atmosphere of deterioration around us, so to push us over the edge is an easy step for Satan to do. Samson was so wrapped up in his sin, he failed to see how far away from godliness he was. Contrasting Nehemiah during the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls: “I need more bricks!!!”
“Lord, help us in our maintenance programs. Reveal the places where we need repair and strengthening. Help us to do diligence before the oil light comes on. And help us to reverse the gradual progress Satan can make in our lives.Hand us more bricks! InJesus’ Name, Amen.”