Do you own a car? Do you know someone who owns a car? If I was a betting man I’d wager one of the two aforementioned questions apply, if not both. Let’s propose you are, indeed, a car owner. Has your car ever gotten dirty? Definitely. Have you ever cleaned or had your car cleaned by yourself or someone else? Highly likely. Have you ever sold your car because it was dirty? Wait, what? Crazy right? Who would sell their car because it needed a bit of soap, water, and time to clean. No one (at least no one in their right mind).
When you purchase a new car (or even a “new-to-you” car) if you purchase from any dealership the first thing they do before delivering it to you is have it cleaned up, both inside and out. The dealership knows that the car has gotten dirty from sitting on the lot and they want it in pristine order for you to drive off the lot. They want you to be proud of the car you’ve chosen. They want you to show it off and what better time to do so than when its spotless.
Let us pretend the car you now own happens to be black (allegedly). Just as Mickey Mouse did in Fantasia, you use your wizardry to conjure up a bucket of soapy water and sponge and promptly begin to transform your black car back into the white one you drove off the lot. For me, one of the most satisfying things in the world is running a soap soaked sponge over all nastiness caked on the car whilst restoring the color underneath to its previous glory. If the kids are cleaning with me (the power of a few bucks given in exchange for help) one of my favorite things to do is to clean one of the grossest, darkest places immediately and quickly rinse it while exclaiming, “guys, check this out!!” No matter how many times I do it the reaction is always the same, “WOW!!” I love it. They love it. The revelation of what could be instantly sets the tone for the rest of the time we clean together and arguably encourages them to clean with more intensity and purpose.
It’s relatively painless to clean a majority of the car quickly and easily because the dirt is only loosely attached. However, the places where the filth is more aggressively attached are the least satisfying and most painful to clean. Those places require more time rigorously and relentlessly scrubbing until that last little bit of road grime has been displaced. Some times, no matter how much time you dedicate, you are unable to remove these most troublesome areas. This is the most tiring time cleaning a car, and frankly, the part that deters most people from doing an exemplary job.
Cleaning does not stop with the outside. In order to achieve the title “clean car” you must proceed to the inside. It is as important as the visually appealing outside that everyone sees. The same “color changing” process you used on the outside, repeats with the carpet, dash, seats, door jams, windows, and more.
As needed .. wash, rinse, repeat. The only difference being, if you stay on top of your cleaning schedule with rigid discipline those problematic areas become fewer in number requiring less time to address. If so desired, you seek a professional detailer to get the job done.
Personal Life Detailer
Such is how we should handle our decision to follow Christ. When I chose Jesus it was like buying a new car. I came to Him dirty and in need of restoration. Upon accepting His invitation, He got to work cleaning, only He started on the inside and worked out. He worked quickly and I was so excited to show Him off to everyone I met. Yes, I was only seven at the time, but that didn’t stop me. I was proud to be called His son. This is the same way you feel when you drive that clean car off the lot for the first time.
When I was a young fella, cleaning wasn’t too bad. I spent time with Him and did my best to follow His commands. It wasn’t until I started getting older that things started to become more complicated and cleaning became more of a challenge. I had more hard to clean problem areas that I left unchecked. There was even a point at which I thought I was too dirty to be cleaned and gave up on trying to do so. What a lie. The same way you do not sell your car when it gets dirty, you must not trade your relationship with Jesus because of some sin in your life.
He does not grow tired or weary and His help will endure as long as we allow
Jesus didn’t give us the gift of salvation as a one and done offer. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Everyone who comes to Him is dirty and in need restoration. The issue is, we often do not realize that we need His help daily staying clean. He desires to partner with us and never meant for us to do it alone. We often forget this and venture out thinking we can handle our own dirt removal without His help.
When we eventually reach the point of exhaustion trying to do it our way, we can either turn our back on the offer we originally chose or we can make amends and return to the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father where He gladly waits soapy water and sponge in hand. He will help with even the most painful, nasty, undesirably gross parts of our lives just as we do for our cars. The only difference is, He does not grow tired or weary and His help will endure as long as we allow.
I have succumb to the fact that I cannot, nor do not desire to, make it through life without spending time with Christ as often as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I am not anywhere close to what I want my relationship with Him to resemble. What I do know is I serve a God who loves me unconditionally and is the professional detailer for my life. He has all the tools necessary to clean me time and time again and does so even when I feel I don’t deserve it.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat. In Christ.
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash