Simple Mechanisms

calvin-hammer-saw

We use simple mechanisms as we navigate our daily lives. The phrase “simple mechanisms” is a term of reference commonly used for these 6 basic machines:

  • Wheel and axle (driving cars, turning door knobs)
  • Screws (water faucets handles, garage door openers)
  • Lever (tweezers, brake pedals)
  • Pulleys (raising/lowering blinds, engine belts)
  • Wedge (axe, scissors)
  • Inclined plane (escalators, wheelchair ramps)

We take these for granted because they are so commonplace today but they weren’t always so. What would life be like without screws to keep things in place, wheels for motion, ramps for moving large objects? Labor-intensive, that’s what.

All of these simple mechanisms are found in our natural world. God provided the basics for us to pick up and use. As techniques matured, we learned to combine them to create more advanced tools. These days we make tools that build and repair other tools like: robots that build automobiles and cell phones, wash our clothes and our cars, clean our dishes and our floors, and run the International Space Station.

calvin-wagon-learning

Here’s a question: Is there a spiritual equivalent of “simple mechanisms”? I think there might be: the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

  • Peace: the glue that holds fast.
    • Where peace exists, unity thrives. When peace is absent, things fall apart and chaos reigns.
  • Kindness and Gentleness: when applied liberally both of these act as levers – lifting up others, as well as our own perspectives.
  • Patience and Self-control: the resisting forces that slow things down or bring movement to a halt.
    • If cars did not have brakes, they would cause a lot of damage. Control is a critical requirement for safe use. Patience is required.
  • Joy: the ability to rejoice, no matter what.
    • Personally, I think it is “wedge-like” because the presence of joy reduces the effect of resistance. Joy is a ramp from low to high; an escalator of sorts.
    • In difficult situations, joy can bring relief and ease.
  • Goodness: works best when combined with other mechanisms like patience or kindness.
    • A screwdriver is a great tool but entirely useless if it isn’t moved by some positive force. 
  • Faithfulness: steadfast commitment. This is a basic necessity of mechanisms: that they work consistently and constantly.
    • If screws only lasted for 1 day, civilization would collapse. Literally.
    • In spiritual terms, try showing love to a person today and then withhold it tomorrow. Let me know how that works out. 
  • Love: without love no other mechanism functions as well. Perhaps it is the “wheel” of spiritual mechanisms.
    • With love, we can employ or embrace other spiritual mechanisms. Without it, those mechanisms may be usable in limited fashion but with more difficulty and far less success.
    • The love of God can break a cold, callous, rebellious heart; the result being repentance and forgiveness and acceptance.
    • Love enables us to forgive. In extending forgiveness to others and to ourselves, we see friction defeated and everything moves smoothly.
    • Grace is love in action, and love conquers all.

When these mechanisms are employed, we see incredible results: families and lives restored, hearts and minds and bodies healed, rebels become Jesus-lovers, selfless serving occurs, we feed and care for the marginalized, reconciliations happen, relationships spontaneously begin.

I like to think of these mechanisms as spiritual tools, created and given by God, so we can participate in His grand adventures – those things He already prepared in advance for us to do.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10

The fruit of the Spirit, given to – and used by – God’s people to accomplish great feats: the work of His kingdom.

And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’  Acts 22:10

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