The Idiot Light

My pastor shared something this morning with me and it triggered a response that I sent back to him regarding something that I retained from the common man’s way of thinking of things that my daddy instilled in me years ago.

The Idiot Light

Pa Carter had a favorite reference to the check engine light on the dashboards of these newer vehicles which replaced the typical (at the time) gauges that would alert the driver of problems that needed attention.

These lights which initially just a red glow in the path of a drivers visibility, which really didn’t tell you anything more than ‘something wasn’t right’.  It could be anything; oil pressure, coolant temp, etc.  My daddy’s thought was this was in effect dummying down the driver and hence he referred to them as ‘Idiot lights’.

Today, we have a bit more descriptive warning lights, but if you want to get the real story you have to plug into the diagnostics port to find out what the on board computer has alerted to.

My Idiot Light

I want to talk about my personal idiot light.  It’s just a clear indication that something is wrong with my relationship to my Lord and Savior.

It’s triggered based off of my comfort level (spiritual not physical).  The theory of this in practice is that I am flesh and bone.  As such, regardless of how hard I try I cannot possibly measure up to the standard provided to me by Jesus or my Heavenly Father.

1 Peter 1:13-16 (CSB)
Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

Wow! Big deal here! ‘Be holy, because I am holy’. That’s a tall order for this framework of flesh. Jesus even calls for this in specific terms:

Matthew 6:14-15 (CSB)
“For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.

If my standard is Jesus and the way he conducted Himself I’m immediately ‘Uncomfortable’ because it requires very little study of the Word to realize that our Lord and Savior who created us, was fully aware of our betrayal before He even breathed life into Adam. Despite knowing this, His love and forgiveness remained, even though he knew what he ‘must’ suffer to redeem us. ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’!

It surely should leave us uncomfortable spiritually to realize our perspective to that of Christ and the virtually impossible task we face to measure up to his standard.  But there is His Grace as well.  Without that we would never accomplish what he tasks us with.


My idiot light triggers when I see that I’m feeling comfortable.  That’s right, being comfortable ‘makes me uncomfortable’.

So what do we do when we see that the warning lights fire up on the dashboard?  We seek a means of correcting the issue, be that as simple as getting an oil change or plugging into the diagnostic port to get a detailed description of what is out of whack.

Likewise, when our ‘Idiot Light’ glows it’s time to take inventory. Find out just what’s gone wrong.

When I see that warning light it’s time for me to look at what is first in my love, my life, are my motivators coming from self or am I still tender to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Time to pray, meditate on His Word and often repent when I find I’ve wandered a bit off course of His will.

This isn’t something that you are ever going to master so long as we remain in these bodies of flesh.  We exist in an imperfect body and until Jesus bestows on us our spiritual bodies we remain imperfect.

Even if we find ourselves triumphant over current short comings, we can be certain that upon the next glance at our Lord we quickly see where we fall short in another area and so the need to grow and push forward continues.

Philippians 3:12-16 (CSB)
Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Therefore, let all of us who are mature think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained.

Paul say clearly “I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it”; the perfection in Christ that he is striving for. But despite that, he is making every effort to do so because he wishes to possess it just as Christ wishes to live in our hearts (You see here yet another task where in our flesh we are only partially able to achieve success.).

Departing from the engine trouble light apology and embracing Paul reference to ‘the race’ and the goal in front of him, we can consider an athletic champion.  Does he stop when he attains his personal best? Does the pursuit of perfection end upon breaking the record in his class?

Simple answer is a resounding ‘NO’! Because perfection is a goal we can only incrementally see progress toward.  The milestones we have passed are in the past; the goal always remains in front of us.  And so, we press on!

So what’s the status of your ‘check engine’ light?




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