The Heart is a One-Car Garage
I’m not sure I’ve got this right, but it seems that God has created the human heart with the capacity for only one true love, one ultimate love. It is a one-car garage that has room for hoses and ladders, for Christmas decorations and tires, but only room enough for one car. There is someone thing parked in your heart that leaves no room for another love of the same size. Only room for one.
We either have room for God or for money as our ultimate desire. Can’t have both. One will necessarily displace other.
Our creator, who fashioned and made us, and who must certainly understand his own blueprint, says this…
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Bob Dylan captured the sentiment in his song, “You gotta serve somebody.”
You may be an ambassador to England or France You may like to gamble, you might like to dance You may be the heavyweight champion of the world You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.
Refrain But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody, Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
We can be involved in many things, go many places, have many interests, but in the final analysis we have to serve some one thing. God or the devil. God or money. Only room for one.
How about those Christmas decorations and hoses and tires and other things in the garage?
I think it would be quite strange to love the tires, though road and track racing enthusiasts might disagree. But don’t we all have some beloved Christmas decoration, something handed down from Aunt Mitzey or made by our own children? Can’t we love those things? We can and we do. The difference is that those are lesser loves, not ultimate loves. Even the love of parents for children, of a man’s love for his wife and a Christian’s love for other people is a lesser love. It is a derived love. It is the overflow of that one primary love. That is why there is an order and sequence in Jesus’s response to the question of what is the most important command in the law of God.
The most important one, answered Jesus, is this: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”b] 31 The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.”[c]There is no commandment greater than these.
Notice this. The first love, the great love of our lives, is to be whole-hearted, whole-headed, whole-souled. We are to love God with all of our heart, all our our soul, all of our mind and strength. Well then, if the whole of us is caught up in this love, where do we find room in our hearts for our neighbor? That love is a secondary love that will necessarily flow out of the first love.
The apostle John puts it this way…
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7
With our rebirth in Christ, we become recipients of God’s love and out of that love we love one another. So we do have plenty of room in our hearts to love other people, because God has become our primary love. He, if you will allow, is the one car in the one-car garage. Yes, there is room for other things in the garage, but those other things are lesser things. People, made in the image of God, are very, very important and are to be treated with great care and love. But, compared to God they are all like the grass. Their glory is only a reflection of the Greater Glory. And He is the love of our lives.
How do you know which car is in the garage? Is God our primary love or is it money, or Self?
The apostle Paul warns that there is a form of godliness that lacks the true substance of godliness. So we can think that God is our primary love because we do religious things, but those religious things may just be a front—a facade, a Hollywood stage prop that covers an empty box. Both true and fake godliness will carry certain tell-tale evidences.
My grandmother used to say, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Interestingly, she never seemed to be talking about birds. You can tell which car is in the garage by the kinds of other things that are also found in the garage. A brief survey of 2 Timothy 3:1-5 tells us that these lovers all hang out together.
Lovers of self, lover of money and lovers of pleasure all have a certain mutual attraction. Lovers of God, on the other hand—by implication from this passage—are lovers of the good. They display humility, forgiveness, self-control, obedience and love for others.
In my recent studies of 2 Corinthians I found myself pondering the apostle Paul’s plea to the Corinthians…
Make room for us in your hearts.
2 Corinthians 7:2
Why was there no room in their hearts for Paul and his fellow workers? Paul was their spiritual father. He brought them Life through the gospel. Christ became their prize possession through his ministry. How is it that there was no room in their hearts for Paul?
There was no room for Paul because the wrong car was in the garage. The false apostles had very slyly introduced the Corinthians to a different Jesus, by a different spirit and with a different gospel. (2 Corinthians 11:4) They had pushed the true Jesus out of the garage and snuck in a different Jesus. Tash replaced Aslan. Baal replaced Yahweh. They made a trade-in, a demonic exchange of God for a fake. The switch had gone unnoticed by the Corinthians. They became enamored by the false apostles and had made room in their hearts for men who were masquerading as servants of righteousness. Those men displaced their love for Paul. Their Jesus displaced their love for the living and true God—the Jesus who had been sent to suffer and die in their place and who called his people to follow his example: to die to Self and live for God.
There is only room in our hearts for one God. If He is the One who fills our hearts, if He is the One who has captured our imagination, if He is the One who dwells deep within us, then there is plenty of room for His apostles, His Word, His people and His ways. But if an imposter has moved in then we will have a deep love for pleasure, for money and for self… for privilege and honor and pride and boasting. Mostly, lots of room to consider the needs and wants and desires and preference for self.
Cornelius Plantinga (Not the Way Its Supposed to Be) makes the observation that pride thinks a lot of itself and a lot about itself. Lovers of God think a lot about God and are rather self- forgetful people.
You might want to go see what is parked in the garage. Take a close look. You might be surprised.