Pull in for a spiritual check-up

A yearly review can ensure we keep growing throughout our lives, says Michele Morrison

How’s your life going? Is your spiritual engine fired by passion for Jesus, or are you stalled somewhere along the way? Cars require an annual MOT, in order to confirm roadworthiness. Perhaps once a year – on our birthdays – we should take ourselves to the Mechanic who created us, for a check-up.

We can hang some spiritual parallels on the framework of the MOT test, so why not take this into a quiet lay-by and open yourself up to God?

The body and vehicle structure … is free from excessive corrosion or damage and there are no sharp edges likely to cause injury.
Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we are to honour God with them ?(1 Corinthians 6:19).
• Where has sin stuck – like salt from a gritted road – and corroded me physically?
• Am I drinking or eating too much?
• Am I addicted to smoking, drugs, or pornography?
• Has my tongue acquired a sharpness that cuts others? (James 3:6).
• Am I content to be the age I am – or obsessed with disguising it?

The fuel system has no leaks and the fuel cap fastens and seals securely.
• What situations have evaporated the spirit in me, and what can I learn from that?
• Am I running on empty? (Ephesians 5:18)
• Do I set aside enough time to refuel – sitting with God and allowing him to pour his Spirit into my life?
• Do I really recognise my need for his empowering?

Exhaust emissions …
• What sort of spiritual footprint am I leaving as I walk through my daily life?
• Am I polluting others with bad attitudes, doubts, or anger? Do impatience and irritation characterise my driving, for instance, or my relationships? (Matthew 12:34)

The exhaust system … is secure, complete, without serious leaks and silences effectively.
• Have I gossiped, or held my tongue?
• Have I been sensitive to others’ needs?
• Have I forgiven those who have hurt me?

Seat belts … all belts installed are checked for type, condition, operation and security.
• Is Scripture in place, securing me to God?
• Have I committed some to memory, for quiet meditation and also as a sharp sword? Or have I scanned my daily readings, giving insufficient time for the Word to embed itself in my life? (Matthew 7:24)
• Am I humble enough to accept Christ’s Lordship?

The seats … are secure.
• Have I stood firm? Have I been unwilling to compromise on God’s Truth?
• Do my roots go deep into Jesus, so that I bear good fruit? (John 15:5) Can I identify fruit from my life this last year?

The doors … latch securely in closed position. Front doors open from both inside and outside the vehicle.
• Jesus says, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20). Have I allowed Jesus complete access to my life, or have I only let him in when I was in the mood?
• How interactive has my relationship with him been? Have I just given him a passing nod, or have I actually eaten and lingered with him? Rarely or daily?

The mirrors … check the minimum numbers are on the vehicle, their condition and security.
• OK, I’m doing it now, but how often during the year did I check my mirrors to see where I’d been, so that I could correct my direction if I were straying off the road marked for me? (Deuteronomy 4:1)
• Have I got a submissive, teachable spirit, eager to respond to God’s correction?
Load security … boot or tailgate can be secured in the closed position.
• Have I shown sensitivity to the needs of others without letting them weigh me down and impede progress? ?(1 Peter 5:7)

The brakes … their condition, operation and performance.
• Have I been able to stop before yielding to temptation?
• Have I resisted sin? (Galatians 5:17)

Tyres and wheels … their condition, security, size, type and tread depth.
• Did I have sufficient tread to remain on the road God laid out for me, or were there times when I veered off and lost my way?
• Have I stuck to God’s way, when another way looked less rocky and rutted?
Registration plates … their condition, security, characters correctly formed and spaced.
• Has the cross round my neck or the fish on my car been the only clues that I am a disciple of Jesus? Or has my behaviour revealed my beliefs?

Lights … their condition, operation and security. Headlamps for aim.
• Have my ‘headlamps’ been set according to God’s Word, so that my journey has followed a righteous path? (Psalm 119:105).
• Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Have I followed Jesus?
• He also said: “You are the light of the world … let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16). Has my life brought God glory? Can I remember instances in the last year where I let Jesus shine through me into a dark situation?

The bonnet … securely latches in the closed position.
• Have I worn the helmet of salvation, resisting Satan’s schemes? (Ephesians 6:17).
• Have I taken every thought captive to Jesus, trusting in the promise that I “have the mind of Christ”? (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Wipers and washers … operate to give the driver a clear view ahead.
• Through prayer, Bible reading, and with the help of my Christian brothers and sisters, have I been able to wash away the detritus thrown up along the journey, so that my vision is unimpaired?
• Have there been times when I made a wrong decision because I didn’t correctly ‘see’ what was at stake?

The windscreen … its condition and the driver’s view of the road.
• Has the windscreen been shattered in the last year by some tragedy or misfortune?
• Have I yet to replace it with a new piece of glass through which I can accurately see the way forward?

The horn … operates correctly and is of a suitable type.
• Have I sounded a warning to others if I saw them stalled or straying from the way? (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
Steering and suspension … are of a satisfactory condition and operation.
• Have I navigated sharp bends and gone with God down unexpected roads, or have I been slow to turn away from the way I wanted to go?
• Has prayer cushioned me from a bone-jarring journey, or have I been bruised and battered because I didn’t fully trust in the Lord?

The vehicle identification number (VIN) … is on vehicles first used on or after ?1 August 1980.
• Have I lived so that my owner’s mark was visible to others? (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

No doubt you, like me, have failed and need time for the Mechanic’s mending. Praise God for his grace and mercy.
Recently, while driving from Dublin to Galway, we were using a GPS with outdated maps. As a result, it frequently showed us driving through fields, while an edgy voice advised us that she was ‘recalculating’ in order to get us to our final destination.

God is our spiritual GPS whose maps never go out of date. He has marked a way which is best for us to go, but we often wander off it and get bogged down in the mud and the mire. He forgives us and recalculates our journey, advising us in a voice gentle and full of love.

Don’t be downhearted if your spiritual MOT reveals serious deficiencies, or if you’ve stalled or detoured. God is ready to recalculate my route and yours, from where we are right now, and return us to the right track, so that one day we will arrive safely in our heavenly home.

It’s a promise. Happy birthday!