It can happen to even the most vigilant parent: just a few moments of inattention and there’s no limit to what children can get into. So when one piece of family equipment suddenly stopped working, we were quite unprepared for the extent to which children’s curiosity can take them—especially when no one is watching.
Although it’s not uncommon for gadgets to malfunction, we were surprised when our relatively new combination DVD/VHS player suddenly stopped working. Filled with trepidation at the thought of having to replace it so soon after its warranty expired, I was, therefore, determined to try something—perhaps some do-it-yourself repair.
Despite having no skills in the repair of such electronic equipment, I took a closer look for any obvious clues as to why the video player was no longer working. As I picked it up, I heard some suspicious movement and rattling from inside.
Turning the video player over, I gently shook it. One by one, various items began to fall through the slot for inserting VHS videos: a piece of breadstick, biscuit crumbs, missing parts from a children’s puzzle, a retail price tag, a plastic bottle top, three previously “missing” DVDs, a CD plastic wallet, and other unidentifiable objects were all among the foreign objects I managed to dislodge.
How could these objects have found their way into such a delicate piece of equipment? Our usual parental detective work quickly narrowed down to one prime suspect. Our son, Luendo, 2 years old at the time, had succeeded in evading parental surveillance, almost certainly over some time. No wonder the video player wouldn’t work!
My efforts paid off: the video player revived and became functional as soon as I removed the last foreign object. I didn’t have to pay for any repairs or a replacement.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
Reflecting on this experience, I started to see some important physical and spiritual object lessons. We humans are like our video player in more ways than one. Like our video player, our well-being, usefulness, and impact can be impaired by foreign objects.
Physically, we are intelligently designed to function according to our Maker’s specifications. If we fail to comply with these specifications by putting into our bodies all sorts of “foreign objects,” we run the serious risk of malfunctioning.
The use of narcotics and other harmful substances is one example of “foreign objects” or unnatural substances that destroy lives around the world. Poor lifestyle choices, particularly in the area of diet, have also been linked to many killer diseases, including heart disease and some cancers.
So we stand the best chance of enjoying optimum health and well-being if we follow the natural and moral laws of our Creator.
Spiritually, we Christians can also render ourselves and our witness ineffective by allowing our lives to be clogged by undesirable “foreign objects.”
The apostle Peter wrote that God “called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9)* to bring glory and honor to Him. But if our lives are clogged with bad habits, our usefulness for God is diminished. Our heavenly Father loves us so much that it hurts Him when He sees His priceless, blood-bought children settling for lives controlled by vices and sinful habits.
A life clogged with foreign objects is not only undesirable but less effective. To entertain foreign objects in our lives is detrimental to both our physical and spiritual health. It’s therefore helpful to ask God regularly for a spiritual check-up and soul-cleansing to avoid malfunctioning now and ultimately avoid the risk of losing our eternal lives.
“If we confess our sins,” says the biblical promise, “he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The ultimate antidote to a malfunctioning Christian life is to allow God to cleanse us and fill us with His Holy Spirit. Only then will we live fulfilled lives that honor God and draw others to Him.
Victor Samwinga is a freelance writer, speaker, educator, and financial well-being enthusiast. He works as a university lecturer and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, with his wife and their children.
* Bible texts are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright ã 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.