Check the gauges.
Presumptive statement 4:
Life is like driving a car. Checking the gauges will keep the machinery in working order.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13: 5, ESV
My first personal car was a 1962 Chevrolet Corvair convertible. She was a little beauty and like many of us and our old cars, I wish I had never traded her. Somewhere in my early ownership several of the important engine seals, don't ask me which ones, were overheated and reduced in size and fit. One day there was some engine trouble. The mechanic told me that the motor oil was registering dangerously low. There were numerous leaks. He then sat me down in the driver's seat, pointed to each of the engine gauges and warned me that keeping the car gassed wasn't the only component of it being road worthy. The episode reminded me that life is often like driving a car. It takes more than the basic fuel to keep it in working order.
And, like my old Corvair, many of us are attempting to navigate life without the necessary physical, emotional, and spiritual fuels. The last several decades have seen emptiness as a broad cultural marker, even with advances in technology, education, communication, and information. Yes, we are a little obsessive about monitoring our physical systems. Mirrors, scales, clothing sizes, body movement, breathing, and many other routine life measures give us daily glimpses of our basic sensual health. Tack on meters for blood pressure, A1C, temperature, activity devices like FitBit or those many others, gyms, personal coaches, nutritional packaging, and you discover a multitude of ways to assess those life gauges. And, it's not just a secular cultural whim to monitor ourselves physically. The Apostle Paul wrote, "But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified" (1 Corinthians 9: 27, ESV). All of this fitness stuff are really challenging biblical imperatives...says one fat guy to a few others.
We're less likely to give attention to our emotional and spiritual status. Even though they're not public displayed like our more visible attributes they do touch the people around us in profound ways. Biblical guidance in these areas is even more abundant than those addressing our organic health. Having the same mind as Christ (reference Philippians 2: 1-11, ESV) re-shapes our inborn self-absorption with attitudes like humility, servant-hood, and obedience. Checking our emotional gauges warns us of fear, anxiety, anger, ambition, jealousy, envy, and other barriers to relational and functional purpose. I am often reminded of the Apostle Paul's words, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12: 2, ESV).
Personal spiritual assessment is another stumbling point for us. You see, we often let culture dictate acceptable spiritual markers rather than Scripture. What works for most of us these days is a hybrid spirituality between legalism and secularism. Of course, Scripture should be our guide and provides ample instruction about examining our personal spiritual development and growth, and the points by which they are gauged. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of spiritual inventory guides, some very broad, others more limited. In my opinion this kind of personal review should assess my Bible study, worship, prayer, fellowship, and service commitments. Even more, I should be honest about the consistency and regularity in which they are experienced. They are my spiritual nourishment, my food for life. A significant life gauge.
And, life is like driving a car. We need to check the gauges often.