I'm having fun with my new (to me!) tow vehicle. It has a feature where I can see exactly what kind of gas mileage I am getting, both in the moment, and in an accumulative average since the last time it was reset. Because I am environmentally-conscience, I take pleasure in driving in such a way that I can see better gas mileage numbers.

Of course, you cannot expect to get the same mileage when you tow as you would get when you aren't towing; and since this is our tow vehicle, its exceptional mileage when not towing does deteriorate somewhat when we tow our small trailer. Especially in the mountains...

The last time the average mileage meter was set was when we were towing our small trailer through the mountains. By the time we finally reached our campground, our average fuel consumption for the day was 16.9 liters/100 kilometers (13 mpg). Yikes! That's terrible!

Fortunately, that was our worst day for mileage, and with each subsequent day, even though we were continuing to tow, the average mileage improved. It was down to an average of 14.5 l/100 km (16.2 mpg) by the time we reached home and parked the trailer in the driveway. Since that day, we've only driven short distances in town, and every day the average mileage continues to improve. In fact, the meter reads 13.1 l/100 km (18 mpg) today, a far cry from the 16.9 on that one horrible day!

Of course the improvement happens because in the moment, we are consuming way less than 13.1 l/100 km. In fact, when I look at the mileage "in the moment", it usually reads around 5-7 l/100 km (33-47 mpg), which is a far easier on both the pocket book and the environment!

It is true that no matter how long I drive at 7 l/100 km (33 mpg), my "average" mileage on the meter will never reflect that number. This is because no matter how "good" I am about getting better mileage, it will never offset the damage done by that day of towing in the mountains...

It kind of reminds you of sin, doesn't it? We all have sinned: "We are all infected and impure with sin." (Is. 64:6a), so we try to "off-set" that sin by doing good deeds. The problem is that in the same way my good gas mileage can never completely make up for the really bad day of towing in the mountains, my good deeds, no matter how many I do, will never completely make up for my sin. Why not? Because, "When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind." (Is. 64:6b).

Of course, the average mileage meter on my tow vehicle does have a "reset" button...All I have to do is push that button, and all the record of "bad" mileage is completely erased, forgotten, never again to be found.

Fortunately for us, Jesus has also given us a "reset button": "He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." (Ps. 103:12 NLT).

The problem is that just like I have to actually push the reset button on my car to erase the record of poor mileage, we also have to be willing to "push" that "reset button" that Jesus gives us:

a. We need to confess our sin: "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." (1 John 1:9 NLT);
b. We need to believe in His power of forgiveness: "So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins." (Mark 2:10 NLT);
c. We need to accept His righteousness as our own: "I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith." (2 Cor. 5:21 NLT); and
d. We need to accept this in faith: "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God." (Eph. 2:8 NLT)

So why is it that I don't just push the mileage reset button in my car?

Because I am actually kind of having fun with it. There is something rewarding about driving prudently enough to get the average mileage to go down...

I think that in the same way, we sometimes get reward out of trying to "work off" our sin, even when we know it isn't possible; for we know: "Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." (Eph. 2:9 NLT).

Let's stop trying to "work off" our sin, friends! Instead, let's turn to Jesus and have Him "push" the "reset button", wiping the slate forever clean.

Oh, and I think I'll go out and push that mileage reset button on my tow vehicle...

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.