Have you heard of "the Wheel" that the Navigators use to explain the Christian life?
I think the following illustration makes more sense to me...
A couple months ago I was driving to Northwest Iowa and I noticed many high powered windmills. What made them high powered is that they were masterfully engineered and perfectly placed in "wind zones" to catch wind to turn the blades.
As I drove further, I noticed an old rusted out windmill by an old farm. I noticed this windmill had no blades, just the red metal flag. Here's a windmill that lost its purpose.
Windmills don't power themselves, they rely on the wind to propel the blades, which creates energy, pumps water, etc. Without the blades, there is no power.
And so it is with the Christian life.
The thing I like about this illustration is that it incorporates the dynamics of the Holy Spirit empowering our lives. Here's an important concept: God is in charge of our relationship with God, not us (thanks, Ed, for the insight). We don't determine the wind speed, direction, or whether or not it's blowing at all. All we can do is make sure our blades are all there and in place, ready to catch the wind. The Christian life is less like a wheel where if all the parts are there it should roll right, and more like a dynamic relationship that changes everyday.
Let's face it, do you always read the Bible and get epiphanies?
Am I alone in often feeling distant from God even when I'm reading the Bible? (like this morning, it was like pulling teeth...and I have an inside track with God since I'm a pastor, how must you feel?!)
Do your prayers always feel like Acts 2-ff?
Is your teaching (or small group leading, etc) always like Peter's in Acts 4?
Does every church service feel like Pentecost?
Does every communion feel like the last supper?
But let's also face the reality that many of us get about as much of God as we are seeking...very little. Too many Christian lives look like a rusted out windmill on some deserted dirt road in rural Iowa.
We can't control the wind, but we can the blades.
What are the "blades" that energize your life with Jesus?
Another way of saying it- if you don't incorporate _________ into your Christian life, you will probably rust out.
Moreover, some of you who actually know something about windmills might be able to take the metaphor to the next level...