Nobody will ever mistake me for a big Michael Jackson fan, but I cannot argue with his logic in these verses from his song Man in the Mirror:
“I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways and no message could have been any clearer; if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.”
And so this week an honest look at myself and something I learned about myself over the last week.
For a little background, I am currently reading the book Honest Evangelism by Rico Tice. In chapter 3, Tice discusses why Christians do not do evangelism more. In the course of his treatise, he challenges us to see if we have any idols in our lives…..basically things that get more of our attention than God. Things that maybe prevent us from evangelism.
Now at the same time as I am reading this book, I began to have transmission problems with my Jeep. The problem was pretty serious and rapidly getting worse. Something had to be done. While my Jeep was hardly a practical vehicle considering the length of my daily commute, I was quite attached to it. I had just invested in new tires and other maintenance to have it winter ready. I did not welcome the transmission problems at all.
Ultimately, it seemed best to move on to another, more reliable and fuel efficient vehicle. This led to a chaotic cavalcade of car buying activity the details of which I will spare you. The important point is the extent to which this situation ultimately consumed me. And when I say consumed me, I mean there were sleepless nights, and long periods during which I thought of little else. And I mourned the loss of my Jeep. It might be normal for someone to miss their old vehicle, but do others actually mourn? Is this normal?
So in light of Rico Tice’s challenge as to whether or not I have idols in my life, I will confess here and now that my idol has been cars. After all, when is the last time I became that obsessed with doing God’s work or with reading His Word? While there is nothing wrong with being a car enthusiast, when the hobby takes on central importance in one’s life, it has become an idol. And when you get part of your identity from what you drive, well, I think the idolatry is obvious.
The events of this week drove home the reality of the idolatry that was taking place in my life. And I have been praying in repentance and faith for God to help me remove this from my being. It is actually a bit of a fearful road for me to go down. I am starting to take steps to refocus my attention on God and His purpose for my life but cars have been so excessively important to me for the last 40 or so years that I find some habits are rather difficult to break. For example, I have subscribed to a certain car magazine for more than 30 years, but reading it only seems to foster “car envy” so now I am trying to focus my reading more on the Christian periodicals I receive instead.
I want to make this world a better place by sharing Christ with as many people as I can. I believe strongly that is the best contribution I can make. To do this, the first thing I need to change is me and all those things about me that are preventing me from having Jesus at the center of my life. So, in the words of Michael Jackson, I’m starting with the man in the mirror and I’m opening myself to change so that I may fulfill God’s purpose for my life.
As the Psalmist wrote: “I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.” (Psalm 119:59-60) For me it just has to be God first!
So how about you? Is there anything in your life that is taking up too much of your time and/or attention? Is there something that is keeping Christ from being the center of your life? What changes might He be prompting in you?
To learn more about Rico Tice’s book, please click here.
Until next time, may God bless you and keep you.