A recent article discussing the resurgence of muscle cars in the U.S. market noted the absence of stick-shift models from the Big Three American manufacturers. Driving enthusiasts lament this absence because they enjoy the feel of going through the gears as they drive. Among the reasons given for the lack of stick-shift models is the fact that automatic transmissions are much more fuel-efficient today than in the past. In many cases fuel mileage is not appreciably increased by the use of a stick-shift transmission.
The mechanics of a stick-shift transmission are interesting. When the clutch is depressed the gears of the transmission disengage. This allows the driver to shift to the next higher or lower gear, as the situation may require. Once the proper gear is in place the clutch is released allowing the new gear to fully engage the drive train. When properly engaged, the gears allow the engine to propel the vehicle down the road. If the gears are not properly engaged, however, the driver hears a grinding sound which signifies a problem than can result in damage to the transmission. The gears must be fully engaged for the drive train to function properly.
This process illustrates a spiritual truth about our walk as Christians. In order for us to make progress on the path that leads to life we must be fully engaged with our spiritual drive train, Jesus Christ. If we are disengaged, our engine may rev at a high rate, but we won’t move. If we are only partially engaged, our spiritual gears will grind, leaving us sputtering along with the potential to become completely disabled. If we intend to make it all the way to the goal, we must be fully engaged with our Lord.
In 1 Pet. 2:21, 22 Peter said, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.” Peter said we are to follow in the Lord’s steps. To do this we must be fully engaged with Him. The mechanics of being fully engaged with the Lord can be illustrated by using the word “steps” as an acronym. Briefly stated, the word “steps” stands for: Serve, Tell, Exemplify, Pray, and Sacrifice.
In Mk. 10:45 Jesus said that He did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. If we are fully engaged with our Lord we will serve others as He did, doing good to all and pointing them to the Father in heaven.
In Mk. 16:15, 16 Jesus told His disciples to tell the good news to all creation. He said those who believe and are baptized will be saved. The first century disciples told this good news everywhere they went. We must do the same in order to be fully engaged.
Peter said that Jesus left us an example to follow. The Lord lived what He preached. When we live in accordance with His commands, we exemplify our faith, showing that we are fully engaged with our Lord.
On many occasions the Lord spent long hours in prayer to His Father in heaven. He understood the importance of this spiritual connection. We must devote ourselves to prayer each day to be fully engaged.
The central feature of first century preaching was the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. He gave His life for our sins. We may not be called upon to give up our lives, but we must make sacrifices in our lives in order to be fully engaged with our Lord.
May each one of us be fully engaged with the Lord as we follow in His steps toward the eternal goal.