Dealing with a flat tyre on his car made John wonder if he was really preparing for the spiritual emergencies all Christians face on their journey to God’s Kingdom.
One Sabbath morning my wife and I were on the road to church services. We exited I-75 and began driving down a county highway. Shortly thereafter we apparently hit a small unseen object in the road, which caused the right front tyre to go flat almost instantly.
I stopped the car on the road’s shoulder, took the jack, lug wrench and the compact spare tyre (the so-called “doughnut”) out of the trunk, changed the tyre and we resumed our journey. But in less than a quarter mile we again heard the thumping, flat tyre sound. I pulled off the road onto the grassy, muddy shoulder and found that the same tyre I had just mounted had actually pulled itself partially off the rim. So there we were, without a spare tyre and with the right side of the car now sinking slowly into the mud.
We were grateful when a church member, who was on the way to Sabbath services, stopped and kindly offered us a ride. After services I called a wrecker to have the car towed out of the mud and taken to a service location. We soon learned that that problem with the spare tyre occurred because it was under-inflated and therefore unable to support the car’s weight.
But the real problem was not with the spare tyre, it was with me. I simply hadn’t bothered to check the tyre’s air pressure earlier to make sure it was ready for service if needed.
Preparing for trouble on the road That incident encouraged me to think more seriously about my divine calling. Am I ready for a spiritual emergency, or am I just assuming I’m prepared to handle major trouble on the route to God’s Kingdom?
How about you? Are you equipped to handle a “spiritual flat” on the road to eternal life?
A spiritual flat results from ordeals or afflictions you encounter in your life (Job 5:7; 1 Peter 4:12). Some of these can have the effect of deflating your spiritual “air pressure.” And if you are not prepared, a spiritual flat can potentially prevent you from completing your journey to salvation.
So how should you prepare for a flat on the road to God’s Kingdom?
Are you hot or cold? Jesus’ message to the Laodicean church in Revelation 3 helps us answer that question: “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write … ‘I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth’” (Revelation 3:14-16).
Verse 17 expresses this church member’s feeling of complacency and self-satisfaction. By him saying, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” tells us that he doesn’t think he really needs to do anything more than what he is already doing. He thinks he is just fine spiritually. But he certainly isn’t, and he just can’t see it (verse 18).
Not only does he figuratively have no “air in his spare,” but his other tyres are bald and going flat. His engine is misfiring. His radiator is seeping fluid, and his windshield is so dirty he can hardly see through it. While he does what other Christians do physically, such as attending Sabbath services and paying tithes, it’s become simply an undemanding, comfortable routine. What’s the reality? His spiritual life has actually ground to a halt.
What is this laid-back Christian’s underlying problem? It’s his faulty priorities. Although he may be great at any number human endeavors, he is careless about placing first—and pursuing fervently—his divine calling (Matthew 6:33).
Indeed, he is not eager to talk to his Creator in prayer or to study the words leading to eternal life. He is not making sacrifices to serve other people, nor is he upholding enthusiastically God’s standards and principles. He is “blind” spiritually in that he is unknowing, unobservant and neglectful. He is spiritually “naked” because he is dominated and governed by his human interests and desires—rather than by God’s entreaties through His Holy Spirit. He is “wretched and miserable” because although he seems to have everything going for him physically, he is actually failing in the spiritual warfare he should be waging against his own carnal nature and Satan’s influence. He not only needs a complete overhaul and tune-up, he most certainly needs “air in his spare.”
Gratefully, and through God’s tremendous mercy, all this can be done. The situation is not hopeless if he chooses to make big and essential changes (2 Corinthians 13:5). The apostle Paul told brethren in his day that they needed to get busy on what was really important (Romans 13:11). This is true for today’s lethargic Christian. If he is willing to repent and renovate his spiritual condition he can thrive once again (Revelation 3:18-22; 2 Timothy 1:6).
So what about you? You will likely experience spiritual flat tyres in your life resulting from troubles and afflictions you encounter. But if you have “air in your spare,” you can recover from those spiritual flats and get moving again swiftly along God’s divine highway. It’s all about having a healthy and robust relationship with your Creator while striving energetically with His help and power to live His ideal way of life. It’s also about being spiritually motivated and highly conscientious about pursuing your magnificent calling (Proverbs 31:27). So don’t leave anything to chance while journeying on the road to everlasting life. Make sure there is always “air in your spare.”