My car has a problem. The alignment is off. Over the last couple of months, I’ve found myself gripping the steering wheel a little tighter with my left hand, to stop the car veering slightly to the right. Finally this morning, I took it into Sears Automotive and they will put it on their machine, assess it and correct it.
So, how did this happen? I’m usually a safe and careful driver, but I hit a kerb in the church parking lot. They are low, painted red, and in the dark, not that easy to see (well, that’s my excuse anyway). And since that time, the problem has been slightly irritating me every day. Eventually I took action to correct it.
I think the same thing happens with our soul. We lose alignment. We hit kerbs and get thrown off balance. And we know that we are drifting, veering away from loving God and loving people as we should. What are these kerbs?
Kerb 1 – Busyness. Here in Silicon Valley (and I’m sure in many other places) life moves at quite a pace. In fact, it can move faster than the pace of our soul. There was an old story about mountaineering sherpas stopping to rest on mountain climbs before the Western climbers were ready to rest. Their reason they stated was that they needed time for their souls to catch up with the hectic pace they had been setting. How true for us. If we’re not careful, we see life stripping away our patience, our kindness, our self-control… until we are running on empty, and people around us are getting the dregs of what’s left over. Life is a fruit thief! Only slowing and tending to our soul can replenish these godly resources.
Kerb 2 – Sin. This is so obvious I hesitated to mention it, but it’s a reality all the same. Sin uncalibrates our soul, moves it out of alignment with the Spirit of God. The Spirit is the HOLY Spirit and he is pleased to dwell in a HOLY place. Are we striving for holiness, keeping a clean inner house, where God is pleased to dwell?
Kerb 3 – Stress. When we encounter negative events in our life, stress and soul misalignment can occur. Our enemy loves to use such situations to bring awkward questions to our minds: “How can you say God loves you, when He allows things like this to happen? Does He know? Does He even care?” And before we know it, we are spiraling down through despair and doubt.
At Sears right now, my car is being assessed. The machine will show which wheels are out of alignment, in which direction and by how much. For Christians, our alignment-checking-machine is the Bible. There we find the plumbline, the standard, the measure by which we can recalibrate our souls. But it takes time. Time to slow down, to examine ourselves, to ask God to honestly reveal the state of our soul – and then to invite the Spirit in to make the adjustments, and get us aligned with God once again.
Really, Glyn? Read the Bible and take time to pray? Is that all you’ve got?
Yes. Because it works. And it has for thousands of years.
May God recalibrate our misaligned souls today as we seek him. If you need a place to start, may I recommend Psalm 139.
Glyn Norman is Lead Pastor of Central Christian Church in San Jose, and Author of:
If God Had a Fridge, Your Picture Would Be On It,
What Martial Arts Taught Me About the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and
Your First Year in Ministry: What They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary,
all available on Amazon and Kindle.
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