As I was driving to work today I pulled up at a stoplight next to a 1957 Chevy Bel Air sedan. It was in immaculate condition, painted bright red and white. The 1957 Chevy Bel Air has always been one of my favorite cars because it's the car in which I learned to drive. It belonged to my older brother, and it was a 3-speed manual, shifting on the column. When I was 14, without my folks knowing, he took me out on the back roads of North Carolina and taught me how to drive.
To this day I can remember that feeling of accomplishment when we got back. As we got out of the car I told him thanks and that I really liked the car. Then I went on to say that, while it was a nice car, I wouldn't want it for my own because it didn't go very fast. He laughed and said I would enjoy it more as I drove it more. And with that, we were done.
It wasn't until a few weeks later that I found out that, when teaching me to drive, my brother hadn't bothered to explain you could shift up in the gears in order to make the car go faster. As a result, we had spent an afternoon traveling down those country roads in first gear, going about 15 miles per hour.
As I was remembering that story this morning, it occurred to me that many of us live our Christian lives the same way I was driving that car - stuck in first gear. It's like we've accepted the saving work Christ has done for us, but we haven't taken the fullness of what that means and applied it to our lives. We don't fully understand the power that's under the hood of our spiritual lives.
Here's what I mean - if we've put our faith in Jesus Christ, then God has forgiven us of everything we have ever done. He's placed the righteousness of Christ into our spiritual bank account. He has adopted us. We are His children. And that means we can approach Him at any time, with any problem. And it also means that we have access to the full power of His Spirit. All of this means we can use that power to do all the things He's calling us to do - live holy lives, serve those around us, reach the lost for Him. 2 Timothy 1:7 describes it like this, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
God has given us this great gift of salvation, and rather than just stop with that, we need to realize the resources that He's placed in our lives because of that salvation. He's given us His Spirit, which helps us resist sin, gives us wisdom, comforts us, gives us the fruit of the Spirit, and intercedes for us. That's an amazing list of resources we can use to move into high gear spiritually! All we need to do is start drawing on those resources in order to live out our faith the way God has called us to live.
So today, let's ask God to help us understand the fullness of what He's given us. Let's ask Him to help us move out of first gear, and to really move forward in our journey with Him. Let's not be afraid, but instead, let's allow His power to work through us to accomplish all He has planned.