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Let me start this off by saying thank-you to Sean and Daniel for letting me invade their space to throw up a few guest posts. For awhile I was worried that they were setting me up for something totally embarrassing (an epic prank, perhaps?), but then I remembered who I was dealing with and I laughed as I reminded myself once again that I always have the upper hand. (Hear that, boys? ALWAYS…)

Anyway, I figure this post deserves a good disclaimer, both to clarify the rambling mess that is “Jessie’s Brain” and to free me of any accusations regarding my legitimacy as a blogger (then again, if Paris Hilton can have a blog, then so can a monkey. I think I’m safe.) So here it goes: I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. This may come as a surprise to some of you who are firm believers in my all-knowing greatness, but the truth is, sometimes I just have to make stuff up as I go and lucky for me, it usually turns out pretty well. Today’s entry involves a slew of car analogies. Obviously, I’m not a man, so I don’t think I know all there is to know about cars (notice the key word: think). So bear with me as I try to muddle through this. Metaphors are sometimes the best way for me to get my convoluted point across. (And I’m sorry if the whole thing’s a little “lengthy” for your taste.)

Your relationship with Christ is a lot like your relationship with your car. Yup, you heard me. Now, I’m not saying you need to picture Jesus in your mind as a car (although if he WAS one, he would totally be an Audi R8), but what I AM saying is that you can tell a lot about a person based on how they care for and maintain their vehicle. (Obviously this illustration is set in a “perfect world”, so just hear me out with these very specific representations.) Here are a few examples of what I mean:

  1. The Classic Shelby Cobra Frame Sitting in the Garage – People who own classic cars tend to enjoy reliving the past and reminiscing about the good old days when they’d ride around with the top down and stop at the drive-in movie on a Friday night (that’s what they did for fun back then, right?). But if you look at it from a spiritual perspective, this could cause some huge problems. Imagine if you had this beautiful car sitting in your garage, but after years and years, it ended up as just an empty frame. You’ve sold the parts, it no longer has wheels… Basically it’s just there to look good. What if this was a picture of your salvation? What if you’ve been saved very early on in life and when it first came into your life, you loved it and maintained it and never thought it would fall into disrepair? But it did. And you’re still using it as a crutch to fall back on. You still claim ownership to it, but it isn’t getting you anywhere and you’re definitely not growing. This is a very dangerous attitude, especially when you finally realize that this empty frame isn’t worth nearly as much as a well-maintained, functioning Shelby Cobra would have been.
  2. The Souped-Up Nissan 350Z There are also quite a few people out there (namely, teenage boys) who enjoy outfitting their cars with crazy-looking body kits and cold air intakes and extra loud mufflers in an effort to make their car the “baddest on the street” (wow that sounded so uncool…) Anyway, where’s the problem here, you might say? Well look at the car. Sure it looks awesome from the outside (the neon lights were a nice touch), but how’s the engine? Obviously I don’t know much about cars, but I’m sure all of those additions can’t be good for the engine (I’ve heard NOS tears it up like no other) and I bet they get poor gas mileage. So they focus on the outside. Shallow, fake, no depth. Is this a picture of you? Do you know all the right things to say and do in order to look and sound like the “baddest” Christian around? Do people look at your car (you) and get fooled into thinking you’ve got it going on? Pretty soon, someone’s going to call your bluff. They’re going to make you realize that your car is no longer road-worthy and you’ll be exposed for the poser that you are. Be careful not to focus so much on the outside that you forget to maintain the inside.
  3. The Clueless Car Owner That Just Takes it to the Mechanic for Every Little Problem – Some of you might see this and think, “Hey, that’s me!” Now, this may be true to some degree, but just hear me out on this general analogy. What if you were one of those car owners that consistently took your car to the shop, had them change the oil every 3,000 miles, etc.? You might be out a little more money than you had originally planned for, but it runs fine and that’s all that matters to you. Here’s the problem: you might be consistent in taking your car to the shop (AKA: going to church), but do you really know who’s working on your car or what’s going on inside of it? It’s a dangerous thing to trust just anyone with the teachings and lessons that are essential to your faith. And it’s even more dangerous to rely on those teachings so much that you don’t understand the inner workings of your own relationship with God. What if a real emergency happened? Would you know how to handle it? Would you know what to do? I’d hate for you to hit a road block in your life, only to realize that you’ve been ripped-off by a shady mechanic that was only out to make a profit. Make an effort to study and seek after knowledge on your own. ‘Cause when you hit that giant armadillo out in the middle of nowhere, it’s only you and an ice scraper (the Bible, I think) that can get you out of that sticky situation.
  4. The Fixer-Upper That Never Sees the Light of Day – Some people have fixer-uppers sitting in their garage that are a constant project. These owners spend countless hours out there on one of those cool wheely things just staring at the undercarriage and focusing on the little things (nitpicking, my mother calls it). But guess what they’re NOT doing? They’re not out there driving it around and enjoying it and showing it off, for goodness sake!! Heck, most people wouldn’t even know you had it if you didn’t flat out tell them. So don’t focus so much on the nitpicky little issues of your faith… Get out there and put it into action. Make people see that you’ve worked hard to fix-up this car and you want to share the experience with them (but only if they put a towel on the seat and don’t eat or drink within 100 yards of the car).
  5. The Proud Papa – You and your car are synonymous with one another. People never see your car without you close by. You love it. You respect it. You maintain it. You know it inside and out. You love spending time just driving it around, but you also realize you’re learning new things about it every single day. Sure, it’s a little beat-up, but you know every story behind every bump and bruise and you learned from your mistakes. Not only that, but you proudly share these stories with others in order to help them avoid the same pitfalls. Or maybe you just tell them so you can share a few good laughs at your own stupidity. Whatever the case, you know this car has gotten you through some tight spots and it’ll keep delivering you through the darkest roads and the scariest back alleys. Not only that, but you rest assured that this car has an “Eternal Lifetime Guarantee”, no gimmicks, no fine print, no loopholes.

Obviously there are a lot of valuable lessons to be learned and different perspectives to be taken from everything I’ve just talked about… But what I want you to get out of this is that your faith is something that needs to be maintained. Job 2:3 (NIV) says, “ 3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” God is on your side and he loves to brag about your strong faith, even to Satan!! Not only that, but it’s enough to get you through even the toughest trials and temptations. Trust me. This thing’s got an “Eternal Lifetime Guarantee”. :)