It is in the nature of both human beings and cars that they need maintenance to run well. We take some trade ins at the Toyota dealership that make you wonder how they made it this far. Others are so well kept, you question why they ever traded such a fine running vehicle. However, no matter what condition they are in, they still have to go through our Reconditioning process.
During that process the truth comes out. Was the oil regularly changed, the tires rotated, the tune up done at recommended intervals? Did they get the love bugs off before it ate through the paint, was the car clean or did it look like a moving dumpster? The good ones we keep to re-sell, the others we take to auction and let someone else fix them up.
When they do come out of Reconditioning, some become Certified and some others just regular good looking vehicles that you would be proud to own. But we have to remember that they are all Used Cars, they all have mileage on them, some just more than others. By now you may see where I am going with this analogy, but then again I just might surprise you!
First, the process of coming out of the darkness of life requires a major Reconditioning of heart and soul. We are trading in a life of no real meaning. Some of us never had the training or personal maintenance involved to gain knowledge of God or the Christian faith. We literally ran ourselves into the ground and blew the tires off our life ride. Now that process becomes very painful to go through because we never maintained ourselves before the change. It is not just a 50,000 mile check up, it is a complete overhaul.
Then we who are fortunate enough to make it through the initial "boot camp" of developing a solid faith come to realize that the road we have chosen to ride on is not filled with the prosperity gospel we had heard of, but instead contained a new set of road hazards that we now had to face without medicating. It is definitely the Road Less Traveled and one that requires good honest hard work to find the discipline of a relationship with the Lord to carry us through to the other side where that light shines so very bright.
And further, once we step into the other side of Reconditioning, we have to find ways to stay connected to our reconditioner so that our extended warranty of grace never runs out of gas. So what we thought was just one decision to change becomes many days of multiple decisions of mostly good now, but also ones that involve turning down instant gratification for long term happiness. We are now clear minded but sometimes terrified to rely totally on a God who we feel but have never seen or heard in person.
The ride becomes pretty scary unless the faith has been reinforced during Reconditioning. I am totally glad that we at times can be compared to a car but have a heartbeat and free will to drive our faith as far as we want. A car needs us as a driver to steer. We need a different kind of driver, one that not only knows how to steer, but also knows how to put us back together when we break down.
My advice - don't skimp on Reconditioning costs, they are there for our ultimate protection!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.