I learned how to drive a stick shift when I was a teenager.

If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about let me break it down real quick. Instead of your car shifting gears automatically the driver moves a lever to change through each gear as the car goes faster. This requires the driver to push down a “clutch” pedal which allows him to move the lever into a different gear. It’s common for beginning drivers to either stall the car or get stuck in neutral. Neutral is the gear where the gears of the transmission are disengaged. The car won’t go anywhere no matter how much you push the gas pedal.stick shift

As long as a car stays in neutral the engine is disengaged from it’s created purpose. Are you living out your created purpose or are you just stuck in neutral?

If you and I aren’t careful we go through the motions of each day without long-term thought. We live for today instead of for what is to come. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in your own stuff that you don’t notice the world of need around you.

As long as the beginning driver is in neutral she can push the gas and not stall out. The powerful rev of the engine sounds cool but it’s not getting you anywhere. If the driver fails to properly apply the clutch and gas when changing gears the car will jolt like a bucking bronco and the engine will shut off. That’s always embarrassing,  especially at a green light with cars impatiently honking at you!

It’s scary to follow God. It’s not easy to live like Jesus. We get up the courage to start. But, we are afraid that at any moment we might do something wrong and look like an idiot. We are afraid we’ll make people angry. They might think we don’t know how to drive at all.

Sure, it’s “safer” and more comfortable to stay in neutral… but you’re not going anywhere.

ephesians-2-10Ephesians 2:10 says that we were created to accomplish all the good work that God created us to do. God created you and I for a great and magnificent purpose; to honor Him as we love Him back and love others just like He loves us. We have a mission. We were created to be loved and to love.

It’s important to back up in that passage in Ephesians to the beginning of chapter 2. We were in desperate need of rescue and forgiveness. So God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ! We were the most beat-up old lemon of a car that couldn’t go anywhere but God renewed us and gave us the freedom to go places. We are remodeled and rewired with the very Spirit of God that lives within us. He is the power to get moving.

God loved us before we even attempted to get out of neutral. He will love you even when you mess up. He doesn’t value you for the potential of your engine. He values you because He created you and saved you.

Do you think it’s about time to put your life in gear and start living for God and for others?

It’s risky. You might mess up from time to time. It won’t be easy. But God’s going to love you all along the journey.

-Josh