I had a Sunday School teacher when I was about 13 who taught us about the importance of maintaining consistent daily spiritual habits by talking about a really nice car he once owned right when he was first married. I no longer remember the make and model of the car, but I remember him being really excited and proud of this car – and how much effort he put into keeping it looking nice. He talked about how the dealer told him that if he wanted the car to keep well and stay looking as nice and beautiful as the day he drove it off the lot he would need to spend time each week not only washing but waxing and buffing the car as well. This would help protect the paint and add an extra layer of protection against rust and corrosion.
He said that for the first couple of years of owning this car he was out there every Saturday meticulously and carefully washing, waxing, and buffing the car – and the car looked amazing! The paint job stayed nice and the car was well protected from the elements.
After a few years, however, he slowly got away from his weekly ritual. Something got in the way one week, new priorities arose, and one week turned into two, turned into four, and suddenly he was caring for his car once every couple of months – if that! He said that the impact wasn’t immediately apparent – one week didn’t really make a difference – but in the course of time his once beautiful car showed the effects of wear and tear from consistent use and from the elements.
He likened this to our testimonies, spirituality, and relationship with God. Daily prayer and scripture study are imperative if we are to keep the rust out of those areas of our lives. But not just any old prayer and scripture study! The quality matters. We can still suffer the effects of rust and corrosion in our testimonies even – and maybe especially – if we are only briefly reading the scriptures and saying terse and repetitive prayers. If we hope to grow closer to God and maintain the brightness and luster of our faith and testimonies we must put forth a concerted and deliberate effort to really connect with God in our study and prayer – in a way not unlike my Sunday School teacher caring for his car – every single day of our lives.
A few years ago I was visiting my parents’ ward and one of the Sacrament meeting speakers shared his experience with gaining his testimony of the Book of Mormon. As I recall he was a young student and athlete at BYU when his coach challenged all the members of his team to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon by identifying five principles to live by from each chapter in the book. This brother decided to act on the challenge and in due time found that he knew the Book of Mormon did indeed come from God.
I find this inspiring! Challenge given. Challenge accepted. And a soul converted! We can do the same!
This approach is a very clear and systematic method for building our faith and keeping it bright and clean from rust and corrosion. It’s one of an infinite number of things we could do to clean up the rust in our faith and protect its luster from the elements of life – and one that I feel lends itself well to the purposes of this blog. And so I present a new A Russty Follower of Christ series that I am calling My Daily Coat. Inspired by this brother’s experience, each day I’ll spend a few minutes writing up between 3 and 5 simple principles or doctrines discovered during my scripture study. These posts will be short and simple, easily digested in a few minutes, and may be part of one of the sub-projects found on A Russty Follower of Christ – each to be introduced in their own due time – starting with Abiding Precepts. I do this as much for the health and well being of my own testimony, my own sensitivity to the Holy Ghost, and my own relationship with God, for I acknowledge my own imperfection and need to clean a few areas of my soul. I hope that in the process all who choose to participate can find an added brightness to our faith in God and extra protection from the rust- and corrosion-causing elements in the world around us.