Summary: When going through challenging times, we are called to put our faith to work and place our trust and confidence in God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in case you are wondering about the title of this sermon, I want you to know that we are in no way promoting illegal activities such as speeding.
A few days ago I went for my early evening walk when I heard the wroom, wroom – two young men in a dark gray car were going up Fairgrounds Avenue at about 70 or 80 miles an hour. Fortunately, there were no kids around. You wish dangerous drivers like that would get caught. Well, I recall meeting somebody in Hawaii who did get caught. He told the judge that the reason why he was going 90 in a residential area was his gas pedal was stuck. “Too thin!” said the judge and confined the man to a perpetual use on the public transit system.
In most cases it doesn’t pay to put the pedal to the metal. There can be dire consequences to having a lead foot. There are times, however, when putting the pedal to the metal can save a day. If you are ever chased by a bear or an angry moose, you don’t want to hang around. You jump in the truck and those wheels better be spinning fast! I can give you another example where stepping on the gas is helpful. There is a hill on Highway 57 north of Priest River, Idaho. When it is snowing, the last thing you want to do is to take your foot off the gas pedal and slow down half way up the hill. Then, trying to pick up speed again, you would be slipping and sliding and probably end up in a ditch. Experienced drivers, before they get to the bottom of that hill, put the pedal to the metal. Then the force will carry them to the top and they can continue on their journey.
Now, you may never be chased by a bear or drive up a snowy road, but I can guarantee you there will be times in your life when you will need to put the pedal to the metal – to escape from temptations and other attacks of the devil, or to get past some challenges of illness, relationship problems, losses, changes, or times of uncertainty. Perhaps you are going through such a time right now. You don’t want to stall. You want to put the faith pedal to the metal and press on.
The Apostle Paul knew about challenges in life. He was in prison when he wrote the letter to Christians in Philippi. In the third chapter where he talks about his goal to grow in faith and become more like Christ, he says, Not that I have already obtained this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Two verses later, and let’s read this together: I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul fixed his focus on the goal that was before him and he put the pedal to the metal. If he lived in today’s times, he would have made a terrific Nascar driver. “I press on!” What a great encourager he was for the Philippians and for us.
When facing challenges in life, what do you want? To be encouraged or discouraged? If you were traveling on a plane through a storm, which would you find more helpful? To hear the captain’s voice calmly saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts, we will be experiencing some turbulence.” Or, the flight attendant running up and down the isle screaming, “We gonna crash! We gonna crash!”?
When a runner comes up to a hurdle, he doesn’t say, “Oh my, I will never be able to jump over that!” No. He says, “Let’s see how others are doing it. I can do it too.”
Yet, how often when we human beings are faced with serious challenges, by nature we tend to react with fear, panic, and feeling sorry for ourselves. But that like driving a car that only has a brake! God gave us something much better that that! Remember the days when the coolest car on the block was your white Ford Mustang? O brother! You just tapped the gas pedal and you moved!
Well, our heavenly Father has given us the gift of faith – shiny, in tip top shape, ready to go, this vehicle of faith is so powerful, it can move mountains.
When we were led to say yes to Christ and follow Him as our Savior and Lord, God bestowed His Holy Spirit upon us and gave us the power to become the children of God. By faith in Christ, God has made us His children with the power of the Holy Spirit at our disposal. We don’t react to challenging situations the way the world does – with fear, panic, and pity parties, we have been empowered to respond to them with faith.