For a few years, I had a clock on display in my office because it looked good. I don’t mean it looked good for me to have a clock in my office, but that the clock itself looked good. It had a black frame, simple block numbers and a bold red OU logo emblazoned on its white face. A piece of art. I thought it was a great addition to my office, but guests found it perplexing. They would look at it, tilt their head, raise an eyebrow and then ask hesitantly, “Is that time right?”
Well, it was right … but only twice a day. It was stuck on three o’clock. What threw people off was that the clock ticked and its hands appeared to move. But they didn’t. Something was wrong with the mechanism that controlled their movement. The hands just quivered with the tick sound, so if you glanced at the clock you thought the hands were moving. When I revealed that the clock didn’t work, my guests would ask, “Why do you keep it on the wall?” My answer? “It looks good.” (Plus, some historians believe the interlocking O and U could be a first century symbol of Christian faith. I read that somewhere.)
The clock definitely looked good, but it wasn’t fulfilling the purpose of its design. After a while, I stopped looking at it. It became irrelevant. I eventually took it down and stored it away. I think my clock is a good analogy for the Christian life not surrendered to the Holy Spirit. It may look good and still be on display, but it is not fulfilling the purpose for which it was designed. After a while, this life is in danger of becoming the castaway that the Apostle Paul lamented.
The reason my clock didn’t work was because it had been damaged in a fall and I wasn’t able to fix it. The outer appearance looked the same, but the internal workings were affected. Inevitably, there comes a time in each believer’s life when “a fall” of some sort occurs. This trial either refines our faith or fatigues our spirit. The experience can cause damage so severe, that it prevents us from working as God intended. On a regular basis, we all need forgiveness, healing, comfort and encouragement to resolve these falls.
Just as the clock on my wall couldn’t fix itself, neither can you and I. We need help. We need Someone to step in, pick us up, adjust our faith, and fix the mechanisms that equip us to serve God. That primary Someone is the Holy Spirit. According to Romans 8:26-27, the Holy Spirit not only knows the mind of God, but He also comforts us and intercedes for us based on that knowledge. He fixes us through His own power, and the ministry of other believers (Heb. 10:24-25, Rom. 14:19, II Cor.1:3-4). He does the fixing, but He frequently uses another believer as His technician.
There were times when I thought I had fixed my clock. The hands would begin to move, but 12 hours later, they would get stuck again. In the walk of faith, we might find the same dynamic. We believe we have resolved an issue or conquered a problem, only to find out that the problem has returned. One fix is not usually enough. We need the daily maintenance of His Word, His Spirit, and the fellowship of other believers to remain fully functional. What kind of clock are you? One that works, or one that just looks good?
Is your time right?