I remember one fateful vacation when I was growing up. We had driven down to the very southern parts of Texas to visit family and had a great time, playing on the beach, eating and just enjoying being together for a few short days. We took off to drive back home and started our trip back by filling up the gas tank of my dad’s car. I remember the tanker was at the station and had just begun filling the underground tanks and I watched the big hoses being put into place. As we drove through downtown Fort Worth, our car all of a sudden began to make horrible jolting motions and sputtering noises. These continued for a short period of time and then the engine just stopped. My dad was successful at pulling the car to the side of the road, but it would not start again. After some time, stranded on the side of the road, we received help and had it towed to a service center and learned that we had gotten sediment in the fuel line that clogged the fuel filter and so the car wouldn’t run. Unfortunately, the part wasn’t available and we spent a long weekend with an unplanned stay.
The ways of the world are like that sediment. It is everywhere. It is dirt and grime and dust that are the physical equivalents of lust and greed and sin that permeates life on this fallen world. And just as the tanker stilled up the sediment in the tanks of the service station, the world and satan love to stir up lust and sin all around us.
Paul calls on us to not conform but instead be transformed. Our fuel comes from God, but the world wants to corrupt that fuel. Paul says, don’t allow that to happen.
But how can we do that? We start with the source of our fuel. Are we in the word? Are we meditating and fasting? Are we disciplined in prayer? Then we apply filters. Are our thoughts on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy? Are we applying filters to what we allow to enter our eyes and ears? Do we limit and filter our websites and the shows we watch and the things we listen to, both music and pundits? Do we limit contact with the negative influences of gossiping and negative friends, neighbors and co-workers? Do we avoid places and events that promote temptation?
God provides us with the purest and highest octane fuel. As we look at our own lives and the times we’ve been broken down along the side of the road, we can often see the ways we let the “ways of the world” clog up our lives with impurities.
If anyone loves the world they do not love the Father. The lusts of the world do not come from the Father. The patterns of this world are the scars and burn marks of sin
greed, the temptation of gain through lack of honesty, laziness and indulging in food and drink