We shall compare the automobile to the Christian in the story that follows. The auto is not self-made. It did not just happen. It is not a product of nature. It does not grow on trees. It was made by an intelligent man thinking out all the multitude of problems, connected with its strength and its service. So the Christian is not a self-made product. The Holy Spirit convinced him of his wreck and ruin, his need of a new birth and Christ Jesus transformed him by the saving power of His Word and His Blood.
The automobile is made for service. It is not an ornament. It is not used for show purposes. It is not merely an advertisement for man's skill and wisdom. It has a definite duty to perform and it does it well. Even so the Christian has been transformed by the power of God that he may be of service in the harvest fields of earth and for the glory of his Master. Christians too, have a duty to perform and many of them do it well. They carry the message of Salvation to the lost, solace to the sorrowing and bear the burdens of the bereaved.
The automobile cannot guide itself. It must have an intelligent hand on the wheel. The one who guides it must not be under the influence of any evil spirits found in bottles. He must not be asleep. He must not be a lunatic. He must be sober, sane and sensible if the car is to be guided safely. The Christian too must be guided. He cannot direct his own step nor lay out his own path. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). When the Spirit is at the wheel the duty will be well done and the road will be safely traversed. Have you taken your hands from the wheel and turned your life over to the Spirit of God?
The car may be beautifully painted, splendidly upholstered, equipped with new tires, have the license plates in place and still make no progress. There is no gasoline in the tank. It cannot go without power. So our blessed Lord told His disciples, "Tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). Many of the Lord's people are trying to operate without power. They are really saved. They are clear on the Gospel. They are lovers of the Lord Jesus but that blessed Spirit of Christ who alone can endue with power and endow for service seems a stranger to them. Their Christian activity is a drag, a push and a pull. They are weary in the Lord's work. They feel that it is an uphill job with little prospects of success. Oh, that God's people would take time to go to the "filling station," that throne of grace and give the Holy Spirit an opportunity in their lives.
Even though the tank may be filled with gasoline still the car may not operate, the engine way not turn over because the battery is "down." There are those among His people who are clear on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. They can quote the Scriptures about His Person and Work, but somehow or other there is no power in their lives. They have the theory but do not see the theory operating in their own experience. The battery may be likened to that indescribable and yet indispensable touch of the Holy Spirit upon the soul which builds a fire under the boiler, makes " steam" and causes the machine to throb with power. In the case of our story it is the making of the spark with the sparkplug which ignites the gas and explodes with power in the cylinder. Have you had any explosions in your experience? Do you know the blessing of this limitless power of God manifested in the working of the Holy Spirit? Christianity is a "going concern." You will never go as you should until the power is there.
An automobile would not be safe if it had plenty of power but no brakes. Not only does it need power to go but it needs power to stop, as well. The Christian must not run riot on any subject. He must not go "to seed" on any truth. He must not become lopsided on any teaching. There must be power to restrain, as well as power to constrain, in every Christian's equipment. "Thus far shalt thou go and no farther"must be applied in the every day life of the believer. Bands are just as necessary as joints.
Gasoline is necessary in the tank but oil is necessary throughout the car. The car would soon burn itself out if there were no oil in the engine. The inward parts of the car, the clutch, the differential, must be lubricated. The outer parts of the car, the wheels, the fan, the steering apparatus must all be greased if the car is to run properly. The oil is another figure of the Holy Spirit. Not only does he empower for service but he also equips the Christian for happy service, sweetly and kindly given. He makes things run smoothly when there is danger of friction. He makes it possible to operate with heavy loads and with great burdens without the engine heating up and sticking tight. How wonderfully blessed the Holy Spirit is in all His ministry for the Christian.
There must be cushions in the car for comfort. Who wants to ride on a hard, board seat? Comfort in the seat is a prime requisite for happy automobile driving. Our Lord calls Himself the God of all comfort. He not only would have us as soldiers serving Him in the battlefield, but He would have us comfortable, enjoying sweet peace of the heart and the comfort of the Holy Spirit in our souls. In one place He said, "Be of good comfort"(Matthew 9:22). Our service will be more effective and our ministry more profitable if our hearts are comfortable.
No manufacturer would produce a car with no lights. Driving through the night requires sufficient light. There are dangers to be avoided. There are cars to be passed. There are curves to be negotiated. The light reveals all these dangers and enables the autoist to travel safely through the dark. We Christians are traveling through a dark scene. The Sun of Righteousness was nailed to the Cross. The shadows of sin have fallen athwart the pathways of men. We need a light to guide us safely through the maze and mist. This light is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. Be sure that in all your arrangements for life you do not miss the Light, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gasoline in the rear end of the car is no substitute for water in the front end. There must be a cooling system, else the engine would not operate. Let the Living Water flow freely through your soul, that you may operate well for the Lord.
Copied for WholesomeWords.org from Strange Short Stories by Dr. Walter Lewis Wilson. Findlay, Ohio: Dunham Publishing Company, 1936.
Selections from Strange Short Stories