I am excited to share from his heart: Simba Mazhani, A Soldier of the Lord, currently serving in the village of Makopong as a missionary with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Since 2014. He was in Gabane from April – December 2014, and Makopong January 2015 till present. He studied Psychology & Business Management at Monash University Malaysia which he did not complete. He is an aspiring Pastor desiring to specialise in family counselling, a Former Quality Assurance Officer for Orinoco Call Centre (2013-2014) and a Former Events Organiser for DIY Entertainment (2011-2012). Enjoy
There’s a theory I once heard about car owners in the city of Francistown; the majority of the city residents drive cars with an automatic transmission gearbox.
If you’re unfamiliar with Francistown, you’re most likely wondering what possible reasons would make the aforementioned theory plausible. The simple answer is that, as was told to me by the originator of the theory, there is a dreaded flyover by the bus rank which features a set of traffic lights positioned on a slope, making it very likely that you will be stopped by a red light, facing the sky with your heart thumping inside your throat as you keep your car from rolling back.
As any driver would know, the art of balancing a manual transmission car on a slope is one that can make or break your confidence when working towards getting your driver’s licence.
If you already have one, balancing the car could mean the difference between breathing a sigh of relief and receiving a lawsuit from the owner of the Range Rover you’ve inadvertently backed into with your Altezza.
The science behind starting a car off from a slope is relatively simple. Engage the handbrake for the duration of the stop. Shift into first gear and step on the accelerator until the engine spins at about 3000 RPM. Slowly release the clutch while listening to the engine. When you hear it fade, slowly release the handbrake, while applying more and more throttle, at the same time releasing the clutch until it’s fully engaged. From there you’re good to go!
All this got me thinking about my Christian experience. I’ve come to learn that the Christian life can be likened to a constant upward climb, with challenges of diverse natures acting like those dreaded Francistown traffic lights.
Traffic lights, in this case, are anything that stagnates our growth in Christ. Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like (Gal 5:19-21), are traffic lights that all of humanity need to pass through. At times there’s no need to stop because, by the grace of God, some of the lights are green.
Sometimes, however, you find yourself waiting at a red light for what seems to be an eternity, and those looking up at you from behind don’t make things any easier. The pressure is on us, especially as Christians, to do things perfectly!
For some of us, the car immediately behind us has our parents in it. For others, it’s the boss, or the spouse, the kids, or (worst of all) church mates!! You have no choice but to make it or else you risk rolling back & causing Spiritual car-nage.
So how do we handle the pressure?? Easy! We learn how to balance the car.
- Apply the Handbrake ~ There is a common saying among Christians, “Let go & Let God”. It is a short & powerful statement! Unfortunately, it has turned into yet another cliché. We hear it but we fail to listen & internalise the content.
A car handbrake is designed to support the whole weight of a vehicle, as well as its contents. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to park a brand new car, engage the handbrake, run out & put bricks by the tyres, does it? In fact, that sounds absolutely ridiculous! But that’s what the majority of us are doing today.
We are putting in so much effort to overcome our challenges that we forget that we have a fully functioning Handbrake that will support us at all times. Jesus says to us, “All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18) and, based on that authority, He assures us that as we journey through life and face our various traffic lights, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (vs20).
Trust the Handbrake to support you so that you can concentrate on what YOU need to do.”Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD” (Exodus 14:13) ~ Apply the Handbrake
- Shift back to first gear ~ Every now & then I remind my closest friends about how we met; the circumstances, the feelings etc. This is because, as a relationship matures, the excitement about it that was there in the initial phase seems to mellow out. The same is true of our relationship with Christ.
A car engine exerts the most power at the first gear, kind of like a relationship seems to be at its best in the beginning; everything seems perfect! When you encounter a challenge in any relationship, remember why you got into it in the first place & draw your strength from there (which means that we must have a good enough reason to get IN, but I digress).
Christ actually says something about shifting back into first gear in Revelation 2:4 when He rebukes His audience because they have left their first love.
Forget about the complexities of religion. Don’t dwell on how many Greek or Hebrew words you know, nor how many chapters you have memorised nor how convincing your arguments are in Bible based debates. Forget whether or not the fruit of the tree in the Garden of Eden was an apple, chocolate or whatever people think it was. Walk away from the endless arguments.
If you want to overcome your challenges, remember “from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works” (vs6). Get back to the basics of the faith! ~ Shift back to first gear
- Step on the Throttle ~ We’ve all heard the saying, “idle hands are the Devil’s workshop”. It’s very true! Christ will never do for us that which we are able to do ourselves. If you apply the handbrake, shift to first gear but fail to step on the throttle, my friend, you’re going nowhere slowly.
The faith that you develop, if it is not used to grow the faith of others, is nothing. No, no; it is actually worse than nothing! It becomes a fearsome judgment against you. It is our responsibility to move where God instructs us to move & do as God instructs us to do!
At times that means a breakup; or downloading an anti-pornography plug-in for your browser. It can mean sacrificing DStv subscription money to donate to a needy family. Sometimes it simply means giving up some of your time for the Lord. Serving God means adopting a purposeful attitude of “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
It is disheartening to see so many Christians failing to distribute the invitation cards to the free marriage feast of the Lamb! One needs not be on the pulpit to preach to every nation, tongue, tribe & kindred. They need only to know one simple truth and live it out; Christ loves us & He is mighty to save anybody who is willing from anything, anywhere.
It is only by living out this gospel truth that we step on the throttle! Preaching is not only for others’ benefit, but also for our own! When you make a genuine effort to shed Christ’s light to the world, even through a simple smile, the positive impact you have on people’s lives will give you the motivation needed to push on through your own challenges!
Start small & work your way up. Be the sermon! Preach the gospel always and, where necessary, use words!! ~ Step on the Throttle
With Love, SM