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Putting the wrong fuel into your car can cause great trouble to your engine.

Putting the wrong food into our bodies can severely affect our health. Filling our souls with pleasures and activities that displease God can cause significant harm to our spiritual growth. Unfortunately, our enemy has disguised that which is unhealthy in packages that don't always look too dissimilar to the wholesome.

A few years ago, I traveled with my family back from Tampa after a beautiful weekend away. We were ready to get home, and I quickly stopped at a busy gas station to fill up our van before the 75-mile trip home. This filling station had some of the cheapest gas I had seen for a while and was full of cars taking advantage of the price. After maneuvering alongside a pump, I begin to fill up.

Fortunately, it didn't take me too long to realize that I had been putting diesel into my gas-powered engine! If you know anything about mechanics, this can devastate your engine and cost thousands of dollars to repair. It is not good!

For the next hour or so, I was not a happy chappy! I had put something bad into something good, and it would affect my engine's running. I had only put 1 gallon of diesel into my 17-gallon tank, and on the advice of some of my friends who know a little about engines, filling the tank up with the real gas would dilute the diesel and not cause too much damage to the van. We made it home safely, in one piece, and with no apparent damage to the engine.

As I reflected on this story, the most frustrating thing was how stupid I had been as I put something bad into something good. I was mad at myself for missing the crucial signs that could have prevented me from making such a destructive mistake! The main problem was that I ignored the obvious warning signs before me. In the same way, how many of us breeze past the warning signs that, if responded to, would save us heartbreak and soul destruction?

Three warning signs need to be adhered to prevent this mistake. TheseThese principles could help us avoid more costly ones. I have put these in the form of questions to ask ourselves -

1) Does what I am doing fit properly with what I want? Did you know that the nozzle on a diesel pump is a different shape from the nozzle on a gas pump? I didn't, and thus, even though the nozzle didn't fit, I decided to push it further and make it fit. Many enter into relationships, careers, or behavior that just doesn't fit properly with who they are or want to be. Have you ever forced anything to fit into your life, even though you knew it didn't happen naturally? One of the first filters we need to run our decisions through to avoid costly mistakes is 'does this fit.'

2) Is what I am paying too costly? Another indicator that I was making a mistake was that as I glanced at the cost on the pump, it was about 25 cents more per gallon than I thought it should be. I had seen gas priced at $2.62, yet $2.87 was coming up on the pump. There are always reasonable costs to pay in life, and we need to understand this, but at the same time, there are some costs we shouldn't pay. I was paying over the odds for something harmful to me. A friend asks, "Is the price worth the prize." It's an excellent question to ask when we are at a crossroads.

3) What do people who love me think? My final clincher for realizing my mistake was when my Dad stated, "I didn't know your van took diesel." His words confirmed the concerns that I was feeling. To avoid making bad decisions, we must listen to the words and counsel of our friends. I was having people who love us, who can look into our lives objectively and speak the truth to us. Who does this for you?

While the situation with my gas tank turned out to be minimal, we must be vigilant not to let the wrong 'fuel' into our lives.

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