Sitting In A Garage Won’t Make Me A Car

I know that statement seems a bit obvious and even strange to say, but I feel it’s necessary. It’s simple, clear and to the point…like me. And here’s the point: As much as sitting in a garage won’t make you a car, sitting in a church won’t make you a Christian either.

Many years ago when my boys were toddlers, during one of our breakfast, family devotionals, I wanted to explain to them that being a Christian is more than just saying a prayer, going to church or anything else. I wanted to share with them that they become a new creation. So to drive this picture home, I took my boys into the garage and began:

“Well, boys, guess what?! Mama’s a car! Isn’t that cool?!” They both looked at me as if I had lost my mind and said simultaneously, “No you’re not, you’re our Mama.” But I insisted, “No boys, what are in garages?” They responded, “Cars.” I added, “Correct. So, it only makes sense that if I’m sitting in a garage, then I must be a car!” Then I started to make sounds like a car, “dressed” myself to look like a car with wheels, pretend doors, etc. and stated, “Well, now, I’m sitting in the right building to be a car, I sound like a car and look like one too. Now do you believe that I’m a car?”

But before I could make the correlation between my being in a garage won’t make me a car, any more than sitting in a church won’t make me a Christian, my youngest son who was only 4 years old at the time quickly interjected:

“Mama, you’re still not a car. You’re in the right building, sound like a car and look like one too, but you’re still not a car. To be a car Mama, you need a motor, and you don’t have one Mama. A motor is like the heart of a car, it’s what makes a car, go. If you want to be a car Mama, someone would have to take your heart out and put a motor in you. But then that would mean you would die Mama, and you wouldn’t be my Mama any more. You would be something else. And I would be so sad because you would never be my Mama ever again, because you died and became a car.”

I was overjoyed as tears welled up in my eyes when I recognized my Father’s voice, teaching me, through the mouth of a babe! Truly, I would cease to exist in my present state and I would become a new creation and there would be no turning back.

Over the years, I’ve received some disturbing answers as to why people believe they are Christians – all of which are un-Scriptural. I feel very sad for these people because they have either been deceived by the false gospel that has infiltrated the Church (i.e., “accept” Jesus as your Lord and Savior and get a better, problem free life), or because they choose to believe their “good deeds” will appease God’s just wrath and give them admittance into Heaven. Many falsely believe that if they sit in church religiously, volunteer, look and sound like a Christian, they are. There could be nothing further from the truth.

Exterior piety means nothing to God, it’s what’s or rather Who is inside that matters. I can’t think of a better way to say it than the way God spoke it through my child: a person must die – cease existing as you did once before; and become a new creation – begin existing as someone you’ve never been or could have never been in your previous state. You need a new “motor”. You need the Holy Spirit of God to dwell within you. And that can only happen when you repent and trust in Jesus Christ.