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If you spend some time around my family, you will notice that none of us drive a car that is brand new. While I was growing up, our yard was described as a used car lot because we had several cars that were on blocks and a few that were actually drivable. The cars that were drivable would break down often because they had better days before arriving at our house.
The main reason why we drove used cars was because we were a family that had 4 children which meant that all 4 of us wanted our own car to drive and a brand new car was not going to happen for any of us.
Another reason why we drove used cars was because we could repair the cars when they broke down.
When my dad returned from the Vietnam War, he began working for the phone company, but he also took some automotive classes in order to be able to work on his cars. Of course, I don’t have all of the facts since I was not born yet, but I do remember seeing the Chilton Manuals in the basement and the plethora of tools in the carport.
Just like any other dad eager to pass on his knowledge, our dad taught us how to work on cars so we can save money and make the cars last longer. That knowledge is still with me today and it helps me with the cars we drive now. Of course, that knowledge has also been known to get me in trouble at times.
I remember waiting too long to replace the brakes on my Honda, and it cost me time, energy, and money that I did not plan on spending.
When I lived in Florida, I drove a 1991 Honda Accord for a while. It was a great car with 35 miles per gallon but just like any other car I have driven, it had way too many miles on it, and it was already showing its age. I was able to keep the Honda running through preventive maintenance, but I remember the day when my confidence caused me to wait too long.
Anybody who has worked on disc brakes can recognize the sound of metal on metal that is a sign that we better change the pads quickly. Well, I heard the sound for a couple of weeks so I was already living on borrowed time. However, I did not feel like working on the brakes yet so I decided to wait for the weekend.
As I was driving home, I began slowing down at the intersection for the road that would take me to my home which was a little over a mile away. I hit the brakes and I heard the noise that none of us wants to hear. It sounded like the brake assembly broke on the right front wheel so I nursed the car into the parking lot of the Walgreen’s on the corner.
I walked home and went to sleep because there was nothing else I could do at 11:00pm. After I got Eli on the school bus, I called up my friend Jimmy who was serving as the Associate Minister at the church across the street from Walgreens, and he helped me get to the store for parts and then to my car.
The brake assembly was actually in good shape so the noise was more the pads falling to pieces than anything else. That was good news for me so I kept working. I removed what was left of the pads and began to push the caliper back, but the caliper did not move. I fought it for a while until I decided to remove the caliper and go back to the parts store.
At the parts store, I found out that the caliper went beyond the point of no return, so I had to buy a new one.
The caliper is designed with a thin line of metal that prevents it from retracting just in case something went wrong. This was a safety measure that prevents further damage to the brake assembly and/or the wheel hub should something break while the car is in motion. That was the point of no return, and thanks to my overconfidence, my caliper was no longer any good.
Sometimes, our confidence can cause us to wait too long before reacting to spiritual warning signs.
The more we study the Bible, the more confident we get. The more confident we get, the better our spiritual lives become because we know that we are growing in Christ. However, with that confidence comes the temptation to become spiritually lazy. And when we become spiritually lazy, we no longer fear the sins we should avoid. And if we don’t fear those sins we should avoid, we could end up being blindsided when we least expect it.
We all have certain warning signs that alert our consciences when we get too close to activity we should not engage in. If we don’t pay attention to those warning signs, we could end up paying a price we did not plan on paying, and sometimes it can be an extremely high price.
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12 ESV)