For many years, my family has owned multiple car dealerships. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been in the car business. I guess you could say it’s in my blood. As a result, I love all kinds of cars, even those I can’t afford. But my favorite car is the bumper car. Imagine my excitement when I recently discovered that bumper cars are more spiritual than traditional cars.
Now obviously, one car cannot be more spiritual than another. In fact, cars aren’t spiritual at all. Yet if we compare the bumper car to the traditional gas-powered car, we discover an important principle.
For our purposes, I’m defining a traditional car as one that has an internal combustion engine and a gas tank. This car serves its function as long as gas is in its tank. Once the gas tank runs empty, the car will stop dead in its tracks. It will not move again until the tank is refilled with gas.
The bumper car is different. On a basic level, the bumper car relies on a continuous flow of electricity through its motor to keep it moving. It serves its function as long as it is in contact with a reliable source of electricity.
According to Wikipedia, “the oldest and most common method [to supply power to a bumper car] uses a conductive floor and ceiling, each with a separate power polarity. Contacts under the vehicle touch the floor, while a pole-mounted contact touches the ceiling, forming a complete circuit” (wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumper_cars). If the bumper car loses contact with the power, the circuit is broken, and the bumper car stops.
Christians Function the Same Way
I believe this comparison is a great picture of today’s Christians. Many of us (including myself at times) attempt to operate in our faith like a traditional car. We go to church Sunday mornings to get our tanks filled, and we expect that tank to last until the next Sunday morning.
But too often, the moment we have to exercise our faith, we run out of fuel—usually midweek! As a result, our faith stalls or fails. We begin to doubt God’s power or stress (or both). And we find ourselves on empty. Have you ever experienced that?
What If We Changed?
What if we converted our faith over to the bumper-car plan? What if we discarded our fuel tanks and instead relied on a constant contact with our source of power? Imagine what our driving range would look like if we maintained constant contact with the One who gives us power. What would the resulting impact be if we relied on God’s power?
Look at what Jesus said in John 15:4–5:
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me, you can do nothing.
Designed for Constant Contact
Friends, we are not designed to operate in our faith the way traditional cars run on fuel in a tank. We are designed for full and constant contact with Jesus. We are designed to run on God’s power, not our own. When we break contact and try to operate on what we have stored in a tank, we are ineffective at best. At worst, we find frustration, depression, and even destruction.
I encourage you to convert your drivetrain! Move away from the traditional Sunday-filled fuel tank. Choose instead a more efficient, more powerful, and much more effective constant contact with the ultimate power source. Remain in Him, and you will produce much fruit.
Written by Chris Patton
Photo by Markus Spiske