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   One of the pleasures of going back to the States is being able to drive. I did my share while I was back. Only a few things stole the complete bliss of breezing down the highway without a care. One was the presence of highway patrol officers. They are everywhere! Our car has a habit of getting above the speed limit (it really is the car, not the driver). Another was the blistering cold. For several days in a row it was several degrees below freezing. It’s hard to hold onto the steering wheel, without gloves, on the days the weather forecaster mentions frostbite (which never happens in Texas, but did while I was home). The last thing that stole the joy of driving from me was the “Maintenance Required” signal in the dashboard. It was lit in an annoying and unavoidable ‘dangerous’ orange. It was the same color orange as all the warning signs of Driving School. You know, “million foot cliff – next 5 feet” signs.  Every time I started the car, the Maintenance Required light came on. I really was not too worried though. The Maintenance Required light has been glowing faithfully since 2007 when Colette and I left the car in Texas.

    Of course I took it to the shop in 2007 and said, “Do whatever you have to do to turn that light off.”  Then I mentioned that I wanted to see a bill before the actual work began. They fixed the problem but they did not turn the light off. They suggested that the light would go off on its own as the repairs that they made took full affect. 2010 and the light shines still.

    The Hill, Wednesday, is usually a Maintenance Required day! Or perhaps you prefer to call it “Coffee Required” day. Sadly, many of us are living Maintenance Required lives.

    Now that I know the car is ‘fixed’ I no longer think, “Hmmm, perhaps I need to have repairs made on this car.” The thing is, three years later, I can’t tell the difference. How do I know if the light is on because of an old problem or a new problem? Here is where I am thankful for Colette’s dad. He is meticulous in keeping vehicles safe and running smoothly. As one who used to own and successfully maintain a drivable 1925 Model-TT (before there were maintenance lights), we trust him more that the modern Maintenance Required light. We leave our car with him. He takes care of it.

    What is the bottom line here? If the Maintenance Required light is on, there is one of two problems! One, there really is a problem with the car and it needs to be repaired. Or two, the car is fine and the Maintenance Required light is broken, so you never know if there is a real problem or not. It seems the latter is the worst case.

    Let me get to the point here. God, through the teaching of Jesus and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, only flashes the Maintenance Required sign in your heart when maintenance is required. It is never our prerogative to hear or feel the conviction from God and think to ourselves, “Oh, the light is stuck on, that is probably an old problem.” Wrong, buster!

    In John 8, Jesus speaks to the Jews who were trying to kill him. He says, “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word” (John 8:43). In other words, “the maintenance required light is on, but you ignore it because it says you are broken.” Jesus, by the way, is the Maintenance Required light in this text (the Light of the world).

     How do you respond to Jesus, God’s word, or the Holy Spirit when you are convicted of sin, when you see the Maintenance Required light? Do you ever think to yourself, “Oh the light is just stuck ‘on’?” If that is the case, then you are saying that the light is lying to you. That is the case in my car. I firmly believe that for the past three years my car’s Maintenance Required light has been gleefully glowing when there is actually no maintenance required. Dare we do that to Jesus? That is exactly what he warns us against! He says later in 8:45-46, “But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.  Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?” (emphasis mine).

    Which one of you would tell Jesus that He has the Maintenance Required light for no reason? When we avoid the conviction of the Holy Spirit and of God’s word, this is what we do. We convict Jesus of the sin of erroneously displaying the Maintenance Required light in our hearts. It is because Jesus preaches that we are broken and need maintenance that many do not believe in him.

    Listen, if you are reading the Bible or praying and you feel the conviction that maintenance is required, maintenance is required! This means go to the Lord through prayer, confess your sin, and obey his word until the light goes off.  God’s Maintenance Required light is always on for a reason.

For His Glory,
Nathan
nathan@ibc.org.hk
www.ibc.org.hk

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