In the world of vehicle maintenance, most all of us at some point in time has owned a vehicle that has had one of those warning lights come on indicating that something has happened out of the ordinary. In a technological world, the instrument panel and dashboard clusters are all indicators of the status or health of our vehicle. There are times when these lights illuminate and we do absolutely nothing about them costing us more money further down the road.
Some of them even tell us how much oil life our vehicle has left in a percentage form so we know exactly when that oil and filter needs to be changed. We don’t even really have to do anything but drive and the gauges will tell us everything that we need to know. If you forget about what type of maintenance needs to be done at what mileage, an owner’s manual will tell you all the specifics and refer you to an authorized repair facility.
If you forget to get gas, the low fuel indicator comes on telling you to get gas. If your tire pressure drops, the low tire pressure indicator comes on telling you to get air. If you back up, a camera comes on so you don’t have to turn around. If you get too close to an object, an audible indicator comes on to let you know when to stop. The combination of visual and audible warning devices can be somewhat overwhelming at times.
There is always that favorite one that lights up saying “Service Engine Soon” which leaves many more questions than answers that only computerized diagnostic code readers can translate. The meaning of the light varies greatly from vehicle to vehicle-based on make/model and manufacturers specifications.
What does your spiritual dashboard say?
During my high school years, I worked for Jiffy Lube as a preventative maintenance specialist. The job taught me so much about life, people, and work. I always enjoyed interacting with the customers and eventually became qualified in every area of the job. The one part I really enjoyed was the service review process affording the opportunity to discuss needed and recommended services.
We had some customers who would always come in a little early for needed services and we had others who would always show up, but they were way overdue. I designed a new analytical dashboard for work last week and after hours of frustration; I realized that the worlds of vehicle maintenance, data analytics, and our spiritual lives all intersect. As I stared at that dashboard showing all the different graphs and colors for past performance, a few things really hit me.
This type of maintenance involves services such as oil changes, tire rotations, filter replacements, tire rotations, etc. If done properly, the overall health of the vehicle is considered to be better and the life of the vehicle is extended. The intent is for the vehicle to remain in a solid and functional state while hopefully avoiding unexpected breakdowns thus costing you fewer dollars on emergency repairs.
Imagine what our lives would be like if we did regular preventative maintenance on ourselves. As part of a good spiritual maintenance program, we should expect to attend service to get service done. We should regularly interact with fellow believers because that is what our owners manual (bible) tells us to do. In both of the “Important Warranty Advice” sections, this is pointed out. In the Hebrews section (10:25), we are told that we should meet together as believers and encourage one another. In the Romans section (12:5), it tells us that we are one body and that we belong to each other.
In order to prevent future problems, we are instructed on exactly what needs to be done within our owner‘s manual. We should have a daily prayer life that involves more than just prayer when consuming fuel (eating). We should inspect and rotate our tires before the steel belts are showing. Remember that the viscosity of motor oil starts out really thick and then breaks down over time getting really thin and discolored. As the challenges of each day fall upon us, our oil can break down easily and sometimes much faster than expected which is why we need to replenish or replace what has been taken away.
Apply the same process to life
Maybe sometimes we are running a little rough and we have lost our spark, creating a little misfire and we need to change our plugs.
Maybe sometimes we aren’t capable of changing our own spark plugs and we need assistance from someone else to get running smoothly again.
Maybe sometimes we run a little too hot or too cool with our words or actions and we need a radiator flush.
Maybe sometimes we don’t stop as quickly as we need too and we need a brake adjustment.
Maybe sometimes we are quick to rush to judgment or say hurtful things and our timing belt needs some adjustment.
Maybe sometimes we feel like we have lost our desire or motivation and we need a compression test.
Maybe sometimes our internal gears are shifting a little rough, going back and forth or grinding, and we need a transmission flush.
Maybe sometimes our headlights are out of adjustment regardless of the low or high beam indicator and we need some sight adjustment.
Maybe we really just need a full diagnostic check to figure out exactly what is going on and where it is coming from.
Do you need a tune-up?
Remember, all the help can be found in your owner’s manual. Sometimes even the mechanics can’t tell us exactly what is going on with our vehicles. With the sharpest of minds, the most advanced tools, and sophisticated diagnostics; they may still be without answers. To improve our overall health and well-being, we need some preventative maintenance of our own to get “in tune” with God.
When one can’t figure out what is going on, we typically go see someone else. No matter how much preventative maintenance we do, we will still encounter emergency situations. Some will see old rusty vehicles as beyond repair, but we are never there. Some of the rarest vehicles in the world are those that were restored by someone who believed in the process.
We can all use repair at different intervals in life and we all know where our authorized repair facility is. Sometimes we need a light to illuminate or a noise to happen to get our full attention. When our spiritual body fails, you don’t need a hydraulic lift, you just need to get down on those knees and talk to the master mechanic. That tip is in our real owner’s manual and it has remedied many unexpected problems.