STUDENT DRIVER 5: Warning Lights & Gas Gauges

29Every car has them.  They are the little warning lights on your dash that come on when something needs attention.  They are quite small and hard to see.  They are often ignored and easy to put off until a later time.  Yet they are extremely important and can save you much bigger problems in the end if you pay attention to them now.  

A few years back, as I was driving from San Diego to Minneapolis, my “Low Coolant” light lit up on my dash.  Assuming that things would be fine if I kept pouring in new fluid every time it ran dry, I disregarded the light and never stopped to get it checked out.  Only after the entire engine “blew up” outside of Denver did I discover that the coolant was leaking straight into my oil — watering it down until useless.  After footing the $2,000 bill for that minor error in judgment, I now pay closer attention to my warning lights!   

Every person has their own unique warnings and indicators if we learn to identify them.  The most commonly ignored warning light is Low Fuel.  In our non-stop, fast-pace world, we will drive for miles after the light has come on, trying to use up every last drop of fuel.  Running on empty is bad for a car and it can be even worse for our  personal health. 

We need to keep our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical tanks topped off for optimum performance.  Just fill ’er up!  We need rest to recharge our battery, and a steady intake of spiritual, relational, physical, mental and emotional fuel from multiple sources.  Just as my Nissan Altima is manufactured to run for about 350 miles on a tank, God has manufactured human beings to run for 6 days between sabbath rest stops.  How do often you refuel these various tanks?  What fuel do you pour into them?

Another indicator that is easier to miss is that inner voice—our conscience—that tells us we are in trouble, in danger, or on the wrong path.  Like a GPS system sometimes it urges us to turn around.  Other times it tells us to pull over, lift up the hood and get help. It warns us that life’s circumstances are reaching a boiling point and we may be in danger of overheating.  The clunking sound is only getting louder as we put off addressing the problem.  We need to see a spiritual mechanic sooner than later.  This time the problem is beyond our ability to fix it ourself.   

The human machine — with its confusing network of thoughts and emotions — is far more complex than any four-cylinder engine.  If looking under the car hood makes you scratch your head and call a mechanic, then we should not hesitate to seek professional help when our emotional, mental, and spiritual health is in need of a tune-up.  And we know the first number to call.  Jesus words in Matthew 11 sound almost like an add for a spiritual retreat in the yellow pages:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest (Matt 11:28 MSG). 


1. How’s your spiritual engine running?  Do you have any warning lights lit up?  Where can you turn for help?

2. Have you checked your fuel gauge lately?  Are any of your tanks mentioned above running low?  How often do you refuel and recharge yourself?  

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