This is a picture of me at the age of 17. I am putting the last wing-nut on a beautiful engine I spent six months rebuilding in my parents garage. The car is a 1969 Chevelle Malibu. Just underneath the air filter, that big shiny thing on top, is the carburetor. It is a Holly 4150. I rebuilt it six times before I got it just right.
Cars don’t have carburetors anymore, but lets imagine you own a car that is in need of a new one. I go for a ride with you one day and your car sounds terrible. It is hard to start, when the push the gas pedal nothing happens for a few seconds, every time you are stopped and idling it sounds like the car is going to die. “Why is my car so awful?!” you ask. “Well, you need a new carburetor.” I say.
Then you immediately get mad at me. “Don’t tell me I need a new carb. I have heard that a million times before. I bought so many new carburetors and it NEVER WORKS!”
Really? You bought a new carburetor and your car still sounds like this? What is going on?
So, I ask you to show me this new carb you bought. You promptly get out of the car and pop open the trunk. There, beautifully displayed in their original packaging, are five brand new carburetors!
What is the lesson? It does you no good to buy new parts for your car if you don’t install them. In this case, you don’t need more new parts. You need to install the ones you already have.
This is exactly how many people treat their life and the Bible. Their life, their soul, is not functioning properly. Someone tells them they need the teaching of Jesus or Psalm 23. So they go read it or listen to a sermon. Maybe they go to church every week for years and years expecting something to get better. But they don’t do what they hear. They hear Jesus say they should commit their whole life and energy to seeking after God and becoming a better person. And their response is to try and pray a little bit or volunteer at church. They hear Jesus say God will not listen to them unless they forgive people they are angry at from the bottom of their heart. But they have a really good reason they are angry at those people, and they can’t figure out why God never seems to answer their prayers.
It is not new information we need. We have the teaching of Jesus in our heads. We have the new parts. We need to install them. We need these teachings to become part of our actual life. We need simply to do what He says.
That will mean more than a little prayer here or there. It may mean a complete overhaul, six months off the road while you and God rebuild your inner life. Wouldn’t it be worth it?