Monday, March 14, 2022

Stopping Isn’t Enough

By Adam Faughn


    A Mazda dealership in the Seattle, Washington area has encountered a very weird issue. Their used cars (models from 2014-2017) are all experiencing the same issue: the radio stations will not change from one station, and they are all stuck on the same radio station! (Even worse, it is not even a good 80s music station; it is a local NPR outlet. Yikes!)

    It seems that the signal from the NPR station is doing something to basically overwhelm the technology in the vehicles and will not allow the stations to be changed. After a time, the "infotainment center" reboots, and the problem starts all over again.

    Now, there is one solution to the problem that would seem to be an obvious fix: turn off the radio! After all, it cannot bother you with this problem if it is not powered on in the first place.

    For the short term, that solution makes sense. It would keep this annoying issue from happening, especially over and over. It would probably calm a few nerves if nothing else.

    We all know, however, that just turning off the radio will not have actually fixed the problem. Whatever it takes to fix this issue, it seems, will have to come from the radio station and the company that runs the technology behind these vehicle's "infotainment centers." Eventually, that technology will have to be worked out so that the drivers can once again listen to something other than NPR (like good 80s music).

    Is there a spiritual application from this very strange story? I think there is one that we know on an intellectual level but sometimes struggle to put into practice. Jesus taught it in one of His more unique stories:

When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also, will it be with this evil generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45)

    That story deserves a lot of attention, but for our purposes, notice just one simple fact. The person in the story did a good thing by sweeping and cleaning the "house" of their heart. Still, the spirit returned, and things ended up worse.

    Why? They did not fix the root problem by replacing the bad with the good! Just as it would be a short-term fix for those cars just to turn off the radio, so it is a good short-term help to get rid of evil things in our lives. However, if we do not get at the root of the problem and if we do not replace the bad with the good, the issue will never truly be resolved, and things could even end up worse than before.

    What in my life do I need to be rid of? Beyond that, however, what steps do I need to take--such as deeper Bible study, more faithful worship attendance, or fervent prayer--to replace the bad with so that I am better prepared to face temptations when they come?

- Adam Faughn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: Visit the Faughn Family blog, A Legacy of Faith.

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