I recently found a picture of my first car: a 1972 AMC Gremlin. Purple; the factory color was called Wild Plum. Black vinyl interior with a bench front seat. No air conditioner. Three speed manual transmission with a 232 CI straight six engine. Not exactly the most popular car to have in 1978, when most of us guys were reading Wheels and Deals weekly and scanning the used car lots for a late 60s or early 70s muscle car we could afford. The Gremlin belonged to my parents, was in pretty good condition, got good gas mileage, and they didn’t want much money for it. Beside those things, I thought it held some possibilities of becoming a “cool” car. It was surprisingly fast through its first two gears and definitely different in appearance. The addition of an AM/FM 8 Track player with tri-axial speakers, new carpet, bucket seats, Hurst gear shift, fog lights and floor mats with a cartoonish devil and the phrase “Dirty, Mean, and Nasty” made my little car respectable enough to keep me satisfied.
Unfortunately, those floor mats were an accurate description of my life at the time. After 17 years of going to church and always being the compliant child and outstanding student, the second half of my senior year in high school found me making choices that led to me living a double life. I never missed church on Sunday and never missed an opportunity on any other day of the week to do whatever my flesh pleased. The Gremlin was my transportation to and sometimes the scene of many of my exploits.
This went on for nearly two years before God brought me to repentance and began to change my life from the inside out. Although my life was dramatically changing, the Gremlin remained much the same, the exceptions being that I got rid of the floor mats and replaced the 8 track with a cassette player. Some time later I covered the fading purple with a nice bright blue paint job, but the biggest change in the car was the way it was used. I now drove it to church with purpose and passion. It was transportation for younger guys in the youth group to church, fellowships, and early morning Bible studies. The car that was once the scene of ungodliness was now filled with prayer, conversation, and music that brought glory to God.
Eventually I had to let the car go after many years and miles, but the memory of it makes me smile and give God thanks, because it reminds me of His grace. When God brings redemption He takes those things considered common and despised and uses them as only He can. He takes the things that were formerly used for the kingdom of darkness and brings them into the kingdom of His dear Son, transforming them by His glory and for His Glory.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.