There are many things that require preventative maintenance. Probably the most common is our automobiles. Each automobile comes with a recommended maintenance schedule which includes things like oil and filter changes, transmission service, belt replacement, and tire rotation.
Why does the auto manufacturer make these recommendations? These recommendations are made to ensure the auto runs better and lasts longer. Without this regular maintenance the automobile is more likely to fail and need major repairs.
As a follower of Christ, our Maker has recommendations of preventative maintenance for us, too. There are four areas that, with preventative maintenance, make us better Christians that are less likely to fail.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
The key words for our maintenance regimen are trust and submit. If we trust with all our heart and submit to Him, He will make our paths straight. What are some ways we can do that?
- Invite God into all areas of your life. He cares about everything – where you go, what you do, what you say, what you wear, who you hang out with – nothing is too small for God to care about.
- After you invite Him in, listen to what He says. As the verse in Proverbs says, “lean not on your own understanding.” God has a plan for our lives, and it is much better than any plan we could come up with ourselves.
Joshua 1:8 tells us, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
Meditate is our goal for the head. Dictionary.com defines meditate as, “to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect.” It suggests ruminating as a synonym. Think about a cow as it ruminates its cud. It just chews on it over and over and then chews some more. That’s what we need to do with God’s Word – chew on it over and over and then chew some more. What are some ways we can do that?
- Memorizing Scripture gives us a broad arsenal to use on demand in any situation we may find ourselves in. You may be surprised at how many Scriptures you already know. Start with writing those down first as an encouragement to add more to the list. One way to determine what Scriptures to memorize would be to take a topic that you are struggling with or that the Lord is laying on your heart. You may be dealing with stress so look for verses that encourage calmness and focus on those. The Lord may be speaking to you about serving so look for verses on serving.
- Study Scripture. Knowing what Scripture says and what it means is vital to our maintenance regimen. Scripture is our knowledgebase that allows us to know what we should do, be able to answer questions from others, coach/mentor new Christians, raise children, and anything else we need direction on.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” - Matthew 16:24-25
Our hands put Scripture into action. There are several maintenance requirements in these verses:
- Deny yourself
- Take up your cross
- Follow me (Jesus)
For many of us, this is a daily activity. Each morning, we make the decision to put ourselves aside, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. How do we do that?
- Have the right mindset. Some days it’s hard to deny ourselves. We get selfish and want it our way. We think God needs a little help. Maybe He isn’t seeing the whole picture like we see it. This is where we must have properly maintained our heart and head and have the fuel we need to truly put God first.
- Get some calluses on those hands. Carrying a cross is hard work. It’s heavy and can leave blisters and calluses. Consider those war scars and be proud of them. We will be persecuted for our faith, but we must keep moving forward carrying our cross the whole way.
- Keep our eyes on the goal. Following Jesus is the goal. He gets us through the storms, the valleys, the mountaintops, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:12-14
Do others see Jesus in you? Of course, we all want to say, “YES!” There are times, though, when others don’t see Jesus in us. Our key maintenance activities in these verses are:
- Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience
- Bear with each other and forgive one another
- Forgive as the Lord forgave you
Whew! That’s a demanding list. Let’s break it down into some tasks we can do to work toward these things.
- Make sure you keep your maintenance current on the other 3 H’s. Doing all those things will give you a solid foundation to be others-focused so they can see Jesus in you.
- The second is found in Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
- Be accountable for your actions. If you did something wrong, admit it and ask for forgiveness. If the shoe is on the other foot, extend the forgiveness that is being asked of from you. Think about how many times God forgives us, sometimes on a daily basis!
If you don’t already have a preventative maintenance plan, I encourage you to start one. It can be overwhelming, so start small with one thing. The important thing is that you START! Before you know it, you will be living, loving, and leading like Jesus.
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