Spirited, not wreckless: following Jesus like I drive my car

If it’s not fun, I don’t really want to do it. I love Carson Wentz the other night telling the media he had fun throwing for 279 yards in his debut as our brand new quarterback. So sweet. I love the passion and the energy of that. That’s how I drive.

I remember when my dad drove me up to Lansdale from Lebanon County to get my first car. It was a 1992 VW GTI.

I still remember laying eyes on the car and really just getting super excited. It is a little embarrassing to chronicle this because I know I’m not supposed to be this materialistic, but I still get little tingles in my stomach when I think about it. I didn’t own that car for a long time, but the little time I did own it, I drove it hard and fast.

carsMy wreckless driving, though at times fun, was costly and dangerous. There’s little for me that’s more exciting than carving up Pennsylvania back roads, and some of you have driven with me with my instinct to do that (and you can share your fearful memories too). Not sure what it is, I have a thing for loyalty and passion it seems, but I really love VWs and I’m on my third VW GTI. I don’t have any great reason for loving them, and they aren’t too reliable, they always have electrical problems, and transmissions have issues, too. They are annoying to work on, their parts can be expensive, they are over-engineered (like most German cars are). But they’re fun!

As I blew through my first car, though, I learned that passion wasn’t enough and it needed to intersect with discipline. So I want to move us through the intersection of passion and discipline.

It’s a pretty basic idea, but if you are going to passionately drive your car, you may want to make sure the car and the driver are disciplined enough to handle it. Discipline needs to sustain my passion; if I’m going to have fun driving, discipline comes with that. If I don’t connect those things, I think the drive will be boring or dangerous. Passion and discipline aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, they can definitely lead to one another, especially when discipline results in good results, which can feel good and can fuel passion.

Here are my top five disciplines that fuel my passion.

  1. Warm up the engine. That means not hammering the gas first thing in the morning. For a Christian, that might mean starting your day with prayer. I use our Daily Prayer blogs (here and here) as one discipline.
  2. Community keeps us engaged. I made a lot of relationships with other VW drivers when I was really into it. Stay connected to the family as a Christian, that means being a part of the church in a real way. Circle of Hope is a great opportunity for that.
  3. Check your fuel mileage. For me, that helps me keep track of how my car is running. As Christians, it means monitoring our disciplines in a real way. That might mean keeping a journal and getting a group of friends to hold you accountable to what you said you would do.
  4. Schedule regular oil changes. That’s the lifeblood of the car. For most of us, that means making friends and keeping them connected to who we are. The church is people, after all.
  5. Stay aware of the landscape. That means paying attention when you drive, but also keeping yourself informed about what’s happening in the world. I read car literature, but as a church planter and Christian, I study the Bible and theology, while also holding a newspaper in the other hand.

Did I confuse you? I hope not! I drive passionately and I love cars, particularly. It can be difficult to sustain that passion without discipline. That discipline can become fuel for our passion and we can become, in turn, passionate about it as we do it. This is all ambitious and this is primarily about how I am expressing what God has given me. I don’t think everyone will be like me and I don’t necessarily recommend that you drive like me, but I hope this can fan the flame that’s going in you.

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