Sunday, April 21, 2019

From the Heart: My Hot Rod God

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)

I read a story recently about a man who had become obsessed with the thrill of hot rod racing. He said when he was a boy, they would go to church on Sunday morning and  his dad would take him to the drug store on Sunday afternoon where he would always buy the Sunday paper. His dad gave him a small allowance on Saturday for doing choirs around the house. For a long time he would buy baseball or football cards. The thought of finding a famous star on one of his cards would thrill him.

Then one Sunday when he was eight, everything changed. He said, I followed Dad to the magazine rack where the newspapers were kept and as I reached down to pick up a newspaper for Dad, something down on the bottom row caught my eye. It was a green 1923 T-Roadster on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine. A supercharged engine, mag wheels, chrome headers and racing slicks just screamed horsepower and speed. I felt butterflies stir in my stomach.

Something about the roadster grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I picked up the magazine and thumbed through it. With each page my excitement grew. In the middle was a two page color picture of the Hawaiian Top Fuel dragster flying down a drag strip with a huge cloud of tire smoke behind it. He said, I bought the magazine and read every page. “I was hooked!”

From then on, my bicycle was my dragster and every sidewalk was a drag strip. As I grew older my interest in racing continued to grow. I had my first wreck at age 16 while street racing, but that didn’t slow me down. My brother and I kept building faster and more expensive cars. For the first several years of my marriage, I spend my weekday evenings working on cars to make money to finance my racing on weekends. I raced every Saturday from March to November, and as time went by, I raced more on Sundays also.

I loved it. I loved the speed and the acceleration. I loved the deafening noise and the violent vibration of a high-compression engine pushed to its limit. I loved the smell of tire smoke and the aroma of racing fuel. I loved feeling the front wheels leave the ground and being slammed back in the seat as I launched the car from the starting line. I loved the car drifting sideways — my survival instinct would beg me to let off the gas, but my will to win would order me to keep it floored. I loved flying past the finish line, then looking back in the mirror to see if the win light was on in my lane. It was a beautiful light, or so I thought.

But, over time, a problem developed with my passion for racing. The problem WAS my passion for racing. It had grown to consume me. Little else mattered. I never compromised racing for family, and I rarely compromised racing for God.

Racing had become my god. A false god, but none the less, my god.

You see, a false god can be anything that means more to us than GOD. It can be anything that we spend too much time or money on, It can be anything that we turn to for comfort or deliverance other than the only true and living GOD.

The problem with letting a false god into our lives is that it’s so hard to get rid of him. For instance, even though I gave up racing years ago, my attraction to it is still strong. When I’m channel surfing on Sunday and I come across a drag race, the surfing stops. As I watch two cars approach the starting line my pulse quickens and my right foot twitches. When the light turns green, my right foot hits the floor and I grab the lever on the side of my recliner and speed shift my Lazy Boy all the way to the finish line.

How sad the Lord must feel when we ask Him to step aside from the center of our hearts to make room for a house, a car, a computer or a career or anything else that takes control of our lives. May God give us the strength to overcome!

PRAYER:

Our Father, who art in Heaven, give us this day more love for Thee and less for the things of this world. May our love and our actions always bring glory and honor to You, the Giver and sustainer of life itself. Forgive us Father when we fail, pick us up and lead us into life everlasting, through Jesus our savior, I pray, AMEN!

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