Lifeblood is about Tapping Into Jesus as the True Source of Renewal

Tapping Into Jesus as the True Source of Renewal

Out June 26

Materialism is a temptation for all of us. The desire to own a bigger house, nicer clothes, a fast speedboat, a sleek new European sedan.

When I was younger, I had an interesting mindset about cars. They were unattainable, a distant dream. I envisioned owning a BMW sedan with a massive engine, or driving on the curvy roads of a mountain range in a Ferrari. Like the GPS voice that chimes in when you reach your destination, you have an internal voice that tempts you: You have arrived.

These cravings can consume us. As it says in 1 John 2:16: "For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world." For me, I know these things are wordly, but I still want to own them. To have them parked in my garage. To slip behind the wheel on a hot summer day.

It's all about those earthly possessions providing some deep satisfaction in life, the fulfillment of working hard and laying out the cash for something that will provide unending rewards, to fill our soul with material items.

And yet, they don't fit. Push them, squeeze them, scrunch them down — our souls were made to resist anything made of metal and plastic.

About eight years ago, I wrote an article for Fox News where I'm still a contributor. It was about future cars, and it ended up being re-purposed for a segment on the national network. To this day, I still receive emails from people mentioning the article once in a while. Because of that story, and a few features for Popular Mechanics and others, I ended up writing more and more about cars, and now routinely test them as part of my job.

I mention this in my book Lifeblood, but after testing around 500 cars, I finally started to view them for what they really are. It's a large piece of metal, a steering wheel, and some tires. Not to dismiss the topic entirely (I love testing cars and it's really fun), but it took me a few years to start seeing all material items (everything from an iPhone X to a Ferrari) as coming up short. They do not provide lasting, soul-filling fulfillment in life.

What does? I'm hear to tell you, after carrying around plenty of iPhones and driving the best cars ever made, that it is only the relationships you develop that matter, starting with your relationship to Jesus Christ. You might think a boat or a car will fill that void, but it won't — even after 500 cars.

That's why I wrote Lifeblood in the first place. The abundance of joy we find in Christ and in communion with the Holy Spirit, living in the flow of his calling and his direction in our life, making every decision and every goal in life centered squarely on the eternal, will never compare to earthly pursuits, even if we trick ourselves into thinking they will. When the lifeblood flows in our lives, and we reach out to a neighbor for the first time or speak a word of encouragement to a family member — it produces a wellspring. It lifts our spirits in communion with His spirit, and we reach unattainable heights. The "joy of the Lord is my strength" takes on a whole new meaning.

That Audi or BMW? That Ferrari? It's all temporal, it's fleeting. No lives are changed in the seat of a sports-car. You drive it back to your garage (or to the gas station, since most of them are gas hogs), put it in park, and walk away. Metal and tires. Fun for a quick spin? Sure. A deep abiding sense of purpose in life that you will take to the grave and causes utter fulfillment and joy in a long-term, life-impacting way that changes lives? Nope. Never.

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